His message to the annual Downtown Partnership State of Downtown event at the Memorial Auditorium is that, “We are all in this together.”
He is asking for proposals for up to 1,000 small cheap housing units to house the homeless, much of them to be financed by federal housing voucher dollars. Ideally they would be 300 to 400 square feet with electricity and plumbing. They could take the form of modular, stackable units that fit into the “tiny house” mode.
Converted shipping containers could also be considered.
In addition, Steinberg pushed for a homeless triage center to get services to the homeless and also challenged local businesses to contribute $20 million for a flexible fund that would prevent those on the fringes from falling into homelessness. The money could be used for temporary emergency rent payments for instance to people in danger of being evicted because of financial emergencies.
Steinberg admits that his goals are lofty but he said that the city doesn’t need to solve the homeless problem entirely but make the situation better. He says doing nothing would affect the economic progress that downtown area has enjoyed.