Rap powerhouse and fashion mogul Kanye West is reportedly masterminding the design of low-income housing units — reminiscent of Luke Skywalker’s home in Star Wars — part of an effort to address the homeless epidemic in cities like San Francisco.
Kanye West is working with a team to design “prefabricated structures that sport the same austere aesthetic,” reports Forbes senior editor Zack O’Malley Greenburg. The rap megastar hopes the creations could be used as low-income housing units and has reportedly met with investors in San Francisco in hopes of making the project a reality.
Greenburg, who authored the upcoming Kayne West cover story, said the Grammy-winner took him on an “impromptu” visit to get a better idea of the vision. They arrived at a bungalow in the woods, where West showed Greenburg the housing prototypes.
We stroll out into the chilly, starless night, and I follow him up a dirt path deeper into the woods for several minutes until he stops at a clearing and looks up, wordless. There, with the hazy heft of something enormous and far away, stand a trio of structures that look like the skeletons of wooden spaceships. They’re the physical prototypes of his concept, each oblong and dozens of feet tall, and West leads me inside each one.
He tells me they could be used as living spaces for the homeless, perhaps sunk into the ground with light filtering in through the top. We stand there in silence for several minutes considering the structures before walking back down to his lurking Lamborghini and zooming off into the night.
Homelessness is a massive problem, particularly in coastal cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, New York City, and Philadelphia.
The homeless population rose 17 percent in San Francisco over the last two years alone, which is attributed, at least partially, to skyrocketing housing costs and the ongoing opioid crisis.
Los Angeles’ homelessness crisis continues to worsen as well, with nearly 59,000 people living in the streets and 16,000 seeking shelter in their vehicles.
As Breitbart News reported:
The newly released data revealed that nearly three-fourths of the homeless population, which includes 58,936 people, are sleeping in cars, tents, and other make-do shelters.
Released by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority to the Board of Supervisors, the data found that the majority of homeless people were residing in the city of Los Angeles, which saw an increase of 16 percent to 36,300.
Officials claim the data show economic stress placed on the thousands that are on the streets and said that they have worked to provide permanent housing for some 21,631 people over the year.
Two years ago, the city introduced “safe parking” – glorified parking lots where homeless individuals could safely park their cars in order to sleep at night – as an alternative to homeless shelters. The first lot was a success, which led the city to push for expansion. However, many view those “quick fixes” as an overpriced Band-Aid, failing to address the root of the problem and sucking the city’s financial resources dry.
West’s low-income housing proposition appears to be more of a long-term solution.