V is for Vacant


I’ll be honest with you. I was having trouble coming up with a V-word for today’s A to Z Challenge post. I was going to use “vote” because I really think that the only way we’re going to get rid of Donald Trump is to vote him out of office next year. But I figured a whole host of people would have that same thought and would use the word “vote” today.

But then yesterday afternoon when I was walking my dog, I noticed that a house on my block that has been vacant for about two years continues to remain vacant. And then I remembered reading a headline from a few weeks ago in the local newspaper, which claimed that “an estimated 100,000 homes are sitting empty in the San Francisco Bay area.”

I also saw another statistic saying that there are more 30,000 vacant homes in the city of San Francisco alone. And that’s not just in the shitty parts of the city, either. There are around three or four properties that have been sitting vacant within blocks of where my wife and I live.

That’s when I decided that “vacant” would be my V-word.

Another article I recently read estimated that there are between 7,500 and 8,000 homeless people living in the city.

So I thought that if there are 30,000 vacant homes, some percentage of which must be fit for human habitation, and only around 8,000 homeless people, couldn’t we make a big dent in the city’s homelessness problem by housing many of the homeless in habitable, currently vacant houses?

Well, just a thought.

Previous A to Z Challenge 2019 posts:

17 thoughts on “V is for Vacant

  1. rugby843 April 25, 2019 / 7:47 am

    My thoughts exactly when living in Houston. Downtown we’d pass by lots of vacant buildings that someone must have owned, sitting empty, while veterans can’t afford living and medical expenses.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sadje April 25, 2019 / 8:14 am

    A good thought, though we know that these people won’t think that way.


  3. theceaselessreaderwrites April 25, 2019 / 8:19 am

    Excellent idea, Fandango. Unfortunately, unless the wealthy interests who currently control the levers of power in America can profit from it, it ain’t gonna happen.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. msjadeli April 25, 2019 / 9:00 am

    The landlords would rather they sit empty and use it as a business loss than let someone live in their property for a fair amount. Housing is one area with the biggest inequity between the haves and the have-nots. As long as the haves control the housing, the population is enslaved. It’s a modern spin on landed gentry and the serfs or sharecroppers. With the new tax set up, where you have to have $12,000 in deductions to itemize, my understanding is you can still deduct mortgage interest. Do you realize what kind of a home we are talking about that has a thousand dollars a month interest accruing?

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Marleen April 25, 2019 / 1:20 pm



    First, while most news accounts did mention that chronically homeless people are a small subset of the overall homeless population, headlines fed confusion on this point in the public mind, said Tamera Kohler, director of the state’s Community Services Office for the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

    The definitions matter, and are legally fixed by federal law. ….




    Finally, there was confusion about how the chronically homeless were counted and categorized, leading to disputes over how much Utah had actually accomplished. Kohler places some blame for the 2015 confusion on federal agencies that changed definitions and methods of counting the homeless during the previous decade. ………

    Kohler says she fears that focusing on the disputed claims from 2015 obscures the larger point. “We’ve taken 900 people who fit the strict definition of chronically homeless,” she said, “and put them into permanent housing.” And all disputes notwithstanding, Utah’s Housing First strategy does seem to be having an impact on the chronic homeless population. The state’s chronic rate is now among the lowest in the country: In 2016, just 6 percent of Utah’s homeless population were deemed chronic, compared to 22 percent nationwide.


    Liked by 3 people

    • Clever Girl April 25, 2019 / 3:33 pm

      Wow, that’s amazing. From Utah, no less. I wouldn’t have figured. I’m in California and I don’t know if we have anything like this.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Clever Girl April 25, 2019 / 3:31 pm

    I lived in San Francisco for most of the 90s. Those are shocking statistics. Still, a great city

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango April 25, 2019 / 4:17 pm

      Yes it is…with a big homeless problem.


      • Clever Girl April 26, 2019 / 11:49 am

        That’s sad for all involved. I can’t believe all the vacancies too… wow.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. leigha66 April 26, 2019 / 5:59 am

    Sounds like a no brainer. Unfortunately I doubt it will happen without a profit. I also know there are a few of those homeless that would probably not chose to live in those houses. A friend was homeless for a while and he said it was surprising how many of the homeless he met that had the means to live in a home that chose not to.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango April 26, 2019 / 7:34 am

      I don’t understand why anyone would choose to be homeless if they didn’t have to be.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Marleen April 26, 2019 / 12:34 pm

      I wonder if a person without a permanent address, who travels/lives in an rv, is technically homeless. (But not “chronically” so, which would involve a formal/diagnosed disability — as well, I assume, as being identified or put on the rolls somewhere.) [I’ve heard that there is a significant number of people like this who work for amazon. Many of them would not have the means to live in a home or any place regularly, but some might.]

      Was the friend who was homeless referring to people (who wouldn’t want to live in a house) living on the street, Leigha? Or were they people who lived with one friend or family member after another? Or in one motel after another? Or in a van or something?

      Liked by 1 person

      • leigha66 April 26, 2019 / 5:42 pm

        Marleen I am not sure what he was using as a definition. I he said there was one person who he knew had money that stayed at the shelter. It is quite puzzling.

        Liked by 1 person

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