Gingerbread Houses for the Homeless

TOBIAS CEN01/26/2023


JAN 15TH, 20XX - Today marks the inauguration of construction for the ambitious Edihouse project, the city’s largest and only attempt thus far to simultaneously address the issues of endemic hunger and homelessness. Economic upheaval from the past few years has left thousands of New Yorkers homeless and hungry, straining the city’s inadequate and underfunded homeless shelters. Under the Statewide Tertiary Arrangement for Living Economically (STALE), the city government has pledged to build nearly 2,000 gingerbread houses for those who are deemed to have the most holiday cheer by January of next year, moving the city one monumental step closer to progress.

The project went into planning two months ago, when the city Department of Housing began investigating different alternatives to existent and ineffective approaches for housing the homeless. After freezing citywide rental costs and restricting eviction ordinances were deemed wildly implausible, the department turned to an ingenious idea: creating housing that was cheap to construct, easy to maintain, and most importantly, edible. “What we’re doing is revolutionary in the field of residential planning. Strangely, no other city has done this before,” said EdiHouse project manager Aimaa G. Hauss during an interview. “It’s a two-in-one solution that provides safe shelter and stable sustenance, without being too costly for our pockets and the pockets of New Yorkers.”

The department considered a vast array of construction materials (including, quite absurdly, brick and mortar) before finally settling on gingerbread due to its leftover abundance from the holidays. “When baked and built right, it’s warm, hearty, and stable,” Head Engineer Baker Guy told us, “and that’s not considering how festive it is as a material!” Nearly 69,000 tons of gingerbread and 4,200 gallons of frosting will be needed to construct all planned residences, produced with the collective help of 8,008.5 artisan bakers from across the city and the state. In total, the project is projected to cost nearly 899 million dollars and 99 cents, a price tag Ms. Hauss described to us as “better than 900 million dollars!”

According to the latest plan published on the EdiHouse website, these gingerbread buildings will disperse the city’s half-defunct industrial districts and noisy trainyards, locations concluded as the most cost-effective to build in. Every building will consist of anywhere between 10 to 20 rooms, each provided with electricity and a cot, along with communal lockers and one bathroom. Heating will not be provided: frosting has been deemed by the Housing Authority a sufficiently insulating material, and has the potential to melt into a soupy mess under extreme heat. Additionally, no furniture or appliances will be provided, and residents are encouraged to gnaw on the walls and floor of their rooms, so long as they’re faster than the local wildlife.

As with most public projects in New York, the city’s ambitious plans have countless skeptics. During an interview, President of Architecture Dr. Jakob Schleiss at Brandeis University vented concerns over the increase of structural fragility as they were consumed over time, which could result in premature collapse. Moreover, the Massive American Association of Nutritionists (MAAN) recently released a statement casting doubt on the nourishment of gingerbread, stating that “the ingredients used to make gingerbread … are not sufficient enough to satiate the nutritional needs of the human body.” The project also has its opponents; local millionaire, lawyer, and billionaire Jylie Kenner likened the residences to “Christmas eyesores one [freaking] month late” and “personal attacks by this [hecking] city” in a recent Twitter post.

Nevertheless, the beneficiaries of the project are most optimistic about the success of EdiHouse. An anonymous woman struggling with homelessness interviewed after the inauguration ceremony expressed her hope that she could soon call an EdiHouse residence her home. “Life's tough right now," she said "but having a warm room and free meals in the future is the one thing keeping me going right now.”Although the city has strictly emphasized that these houses are temporary, only time will tell if they really will be or if they will become a permanent fixture representative of homelessness in New York's glitzy landscape.

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