I actually started out writing this down with a good old fashioned pencil and paper. I got to the bottom of the page and not the bottom of the idea so I am copying (editing as I go mind you) what I have on paper and then continuing on from that point. This is based on an ah-ha moment after many days of study and I am not going to bother adding refrenses at this time but do hope to come back to it later:
Poor people drawn into urban areas by subsidized housing projects or the unfulfilled promise of jobs or other supposed opportunities leads to an increase in poverty and disparity. My proposed solution is to get these people out of the city and into smaller communities and villages. If someone isn’t working outside the home, there is no reason for them to live in a certain area as long as they have access to all necessities and have learned to be fairly self reliant.
For this to work though, people must be taught a useful skill set in school, instead of things that will do little to help them live and thrive in the real world. They need to learn practical trade skills like welding, small engine repair, auto mechanics, construction, etc. and a variety of arts and crafts and domestic skills as well. These things should be taught according to interest and talent along side the basic reading and math skills we use in daily life. Students should be allowed to advance in classes according to their readiness, not according to their age. Children of different ages should be encouraged to interact, with more advanced students and those just starting out all able to bounce ideas off each other.
Since it is unlikely that the entire schooling system is going to change anytime soon we could offer a self reliance boot camp for those wanting to learn the skills to survive without further reliance on “public assistance” programs. Again, since the education system isn’t going to change (fast enough for my liking at least) after school programs could be offered to teach children useful skills and encourage creative problem solving skills. Having these programs available in the cities as well as the more rural villages the people would be transitioning into helps provide jobs and encourages diversity and community togetherness. I think small villages with a strong sense of community will be safer places too.
So how are the poor supposed to afford all of this?
Thanks to deflation of property values, plots of land can often be had for a few thousand and sometimes as little as few hundred dollars. This makes it possible for a person with little money to become a land owner, even without any government assistance.
Now imagine that instead of housing subsidies the government would give out grants equal to up to the amount of one year of housing subsidies for the purchase of land that meets certain eligibility requirements. These requirements could include things like being within a reasonable distance of public transportation, grocery and hardware stores, etc. Recipients of these grants could have requirements placed on them to qualify and there could even be a land improvement clause stating that the grant recipient must make certain improvements and begin residing on the land within a period of time.
Warehouses of salvaged building materials could be started, allowing people to build their homes for very little money. This would reduce the amount of waste going into landfills as well. Inventory could be kept at local warehouses, but inventoried into a larger system so that if you can’t find it local you can check the system and have it sent to your local warehouse, similar to the way library systems work with books.
ok…I think I ran out of steam on this little brainstorm now