Emergency Housing/Crisis Response Centers
We can provide basic necessities to people at urgent times: epidemics, homelessness, domestic violence, natural disasters. Unused commercial or civic structures can be used to create field hospitals, temporary housing, or disaster relief centers. Inside these modified structures, Red Cross-like relief units can provide separation, privacy, and protection while the facility provides protection from the elements and access to hygiene. Once people are safe, their needs could be triaged before being directed to services. Using existing structures saves money that can be put towards increased services or reducing the burden on tax payers. See the below infographic to see what this might look like:
In our current crisis, many large public and private spaces have shuttered and are not being used. Why not use them to shelter people and save lives? Instead of building a structure from scratch on a soccer field, let’s do the smart thing and use existing structures. Locations would either need to be sanitized or left vacant long enough for potential virus to expire before resuming their original uses.
Most of our schools are shuttered and could provide an excellent space for temporary housing for people who have nowhere else to go and their gymnasiums/cafeterias could be spaces for small field hospitals in rural areas. Schools have plenty of bathrooms and many even have showers along with lockers for personal storage.
There are convention centers all across the state that aren’t being used. They are designed to support large crowds of people which means less work to turn them into something we can use during an emergency. They would be most ideal for a field hospital, but relief shelters could be used to create privacy and separation for housing our neighbors in need.
Indoor Sporting/Concert Venues
Football, soccer, and baseball venues that are outside aren’t as helpful as they are exposed to the elements and would require additional support to make livable. Enclosed venues would function similarly to the convention centers.
Large, Vacant Commercial Spaces
Places like the Sam’s Club in North Seattle that has been vacant for a while could be used as a temporary field hospital or for emergency housing in a similar way to the convention centers. A vacant commercial space that isn’t being used during normal circumstances could still be purchased to be used for disaster preparedness or temporary housing when we aren’t directly facing our current crisis.
Every number used in the calculations comes from publically available informtion and could be purchased by anyone.
Separate Units with Locked Storage
This includes Red Cross style units that provide a private and separate space (at least 12′ between people), as well as beds and lockers. The pricing is based on the assumption of purchases of at least 1000, replaced every 3 years and include shipping.
Heat and Power
This comes from taking the square footage used for each individual from above then multiplying it by the average commercial energy use per square foot and the current commercial energy prices in Washington.
These numbers come from renting (for at least 1 month) portable toilets, sinks, and showers. These costs would be much lower in a facility that already had hygiene access.
Staffing costs were not considered as they would depend on the specific setup and use. It is possible that staff could be redirected from less essential government duties or hired.
Obviously a field hospital needs many specialized items, but those were not included as they vary greatly depending on need.