Today Jeff and I, Homeless Dog, will travel in the WABAC machine to 1862, during the time of the Homestead Act.
“What is the Homestead Act, Ms. Dog?”
There were actually a series of acts, Jeff. The first one was The Homestead Act of 1862, which was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on May 20, 1862.
“Why is it called a homestead act, and what is a homestead Ms. Dog?”
The homestead act gave people who didn’t have much money the opportunity to move onto land, with a small fee. If they developed the land and built homes on it, they would own the property and the home. Thus, my human friend, it why it is known as homesteading.
Today there are people who have nowhere to live in places such as Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Jeff. They have little money or credit so an enterprising young man wants to give them a place to stay they can call their own. Like the homesteaders in 1862, homeless people can work land the nonprofit organization he’s starting and this way have a place to live.
The organization, Gimmee Shelter for the Homeless, has different ideas of how to develop property they acquire. In some cases, there are old buildings the homeless homesteaders can fix up, in other cases they could build cabins or forts in the woods or even a tent city. In each case, plumbing can be brought in and sanitation and health issues can be addressed. The latter idea came to fruition in Ontario, California.
Unlike the homesteaders in 1862, where people came from far away, in recent times homesteading of sorts occurred in Ontario, California, where only local people were allowed because of overcrowding. The town helped make the place a health, safe place to live for the people moving in.
“Maybe Bucks County can do the same for the homeless there, Ms. Dog.”
Good observation, Jeff. In fact, there are two gentlemen in Levittown, PA who are doing just that. And by the way, there is a petition to allow dogs to move into the official Tent City in Ontario, California.
“No dogs allowed, Ms. Dog?”
That’s right, Jeff. Some people don’t understand dogs like you do. You may say they are being dogmatic.
Anyway, here’s the report on the Levittown idea: