Homelessness in California, USA

This 25 October 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

“State of Emergency“: Special Report on California’s Criminalization of Growing Homeless Encampments

In a Democracy Now! special report, we look at the rise in homelessness in many major cities across the United States. California has become the poster-child for this economic and humanitarian disaster, with growing encampments in Los Angeles and the Bay Area as more people are forced onto the streets.

The state is home to 12% of the country’s population but half of the country’s unsheltered people. As the crisis deepens, so has the criminalization of homelessness, with increasing efforts by city and state officials to crack down on unhoused people occupying public space. President Donald Trump made headlines this month for attacking California’s politicians over the homelessness crisis, threatening to destroy encampments, increase police enforcement and even jail unhoused people.

But advocates say California has already employed hostile policies that criminalize homelessness, from laws against unsheltered people sitting on sidewalks to frequent sweeps of the encampments that have popped up on thoroughfares and under freeways across the state’s cities. One of these crackdowns is currently unfolding at a massive Oakland encampment that Democracy Now! visited just a few weeks ago.

CALIFORNIANS TURN TO RENT STRIKES AND SQUATTING Rent strikes, squatting and public rallies are the new face of the affordable housing crisis in California. It’s no surprise. In Oakland, the median house sale price is $765,350 and median rent is $3,000 a month. There are almost four vacant homes for every one homeless person in Oakland. The state has a homeless population of about 151,000, up 16% in the last year. Meanwhile, U.S. Census Bureau data shows at least 1.1 million vacant homes in California. [HuffPost]

The Las Vegas, Nevada city council passed “Bill 2019-36,” a cruel anti-homeless ordinance, on November 6 by a 5-2 margin. The measure makes it a “misdemeanor to camp or sleep in the public right-of-way, such as a sidewalk or street, downtown and in all residential areas if space is available at the Courtyard Homeless Resource Center”: here.

BENEATH THE VEGAS STRIP, THE HOMELESS LIVE IN TUNNELS  Donovan has been taking shelter in the concrete tunnels that run under the Las Vegas Strip for two years. These dark passageways are part of a huge drainage network designed to protect the glittering casino district from flash flooding. It’s estimated that nearly 300 homeless people live in these tunnels. [HuffPost]

Three homeless men die in abandoned house fire in New York City: here.

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