Very informative article from Channel 3.
“More than half a million people are homeless in the United States and California is the epicenter of the crisis, with encampments expanding in every major city, encroaching on residential neighborhoods and small businesses.
“The federal government estimates that 151,000 people in California have no permanent place to live, which means that more than one-quarter of the nation’s homeless population resides in the Golden State, where life is tarnished and desperate for people like Clay Powell.
“I became homeless in Oklahoma City,” Powell said. “My ex-wife and I had a basic falling out. I asked for the divorce.”
“Powell took a bus ride to California and for the last three months he’s been living on the streets of Sacramento, frantically looking for housing.
“It’s stupidly hard,” Powell said. “It’s because there are so many homeless and so little housing.”
“The high cost of housing in California has made the homeless problem even worse – with thousands living in tent cities from Los Angeles to Oakland to the Capital City of Sacramento, where encampments are creeping into established neighborhoods.
“I personally stamped out four potential fires in the last three months,” said Richard Russell, a Sacramento neighborhood activist.
“Russell lives in the South Land Park neighborhood, where transients camped out and left behind a mountain of trash.
“We found plenty of needles in this little area over here and we’ve found plenty of needles here in this area too,” Russell said.
“Needles and drugs now litter urban landscapes on a daily basis.
“In Russell’s neighborhood, KCRA 3 found Albert Lumbang, sifting through his marijuana flowers. He said he’s been living on the streets for three years, following a divorce.
“Do you get a sense that people don’t want you here?” KCRA 3 asked Lumbang.
“Yeah,” Lumbang said. “But I stay hidden, you know. If they can’t see you, they can’t complain right?”
“But neighbors are now taking action.
“Russell’s group collected mounds of garbage and debris after a recent neighborhood cleanup.
“I don’t let my wife go to the shopping center at night anymore,” Russell said. “For the first 24 years that we lived here, she was free to go up there, it felt safe – not any longer.”
“Neighborhood pushback to homelessness is starting to spread to other areas, like Meadowview Park along 24th Street, where Barbara Sotcan lives.
“It’s been about six months” she said. “And before that I don’t recall there ever being such a problem.”
“The problems include homeless people lounging on Sotcan’s property, leaving their clothes and personal items behind.
“It lets me know in the middle of the night, someone is here on my courtyard,” Sotcan said.
“We residents don’t feel safe. We don’t know who these people are.”
“But there is support for the homeless in many quarters. Sacramento is looking to create a new $100 million trust fund to build affordable housing.
“Civil rights attorney Mark Merin said the homeless need a safe ground in which to live.
“They need security,” Merin said.
“He added the homeless need to know “that if they leave their encampment or wherever they are, that their stuff will still be there when they return.”
“The answer, according to Merin, is more housing options.
“It’s ridiculous to think that the people on the streets are there because they want to be,” Merin said. “You offer them housing, they’ll take it.”
“But it’s more than housing that’s needed, according to Powell.
“Help them find a job,” he told KCRA 3. “Show them what the application process should look like. Show them how to do a resume. Show them how to pull off an interview and succeed at it.”
“The growing homeless problem is the political and social issue now defining California.
“If we don’t have people out here that are willing to help us, give dignity to your fellow man,” Powell said.
“But dignity is a two-way street that also involves respecting your neighbors, according to Russell.
“You also have to have concern for the civil majority and the public safety,” Russell said.”
Retrieved February 26, 2020 from https://www.kcra.com/article/california-home-for-one-quarter-of-nations-homeless/31103897