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Thread: What happened to create so many homeless?

  1. #1
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    What happened to create so many homeless?

    "What happened to create so many homeless?"

    Really, I'm almost shocked at this question...
    I know about California because that's where I live. What is similar or different where you live?

    Here in California, we just about had a handle on providing services for the mentally ill people who had been on the streets since Reagan closed the mental hospitals when he was governor of California. I was working in Berkeley in those years, and the city slowly and carefully, supported by NGOs, got people help, one by one, and ultimately almost all of them off the streets. There were just a handful left downtown.

    Then, the "new" highly addictive drugs flooded the street market, endangering lots of people but particularly the young adults. Many "rehab" facilities in California recruited in the midwest and bussed "patients" here for their programs (corporate greed and exploitation of a social issue). 30-60 days later, they were pronounced cured and discharged (without bus fare home). Winter in California has better weather than almost anywhere else, and they had nothing to go "home" to, so they stayed here. And of course they had their new friends with them, and they were all highly susceptible to relapse, which they have done in huge numbers, i.e. new street people.

    Simultaneously, the high tech industry had finally totally oversaturated the housing market. The housing boom had encouraged municipalities to zone downtowns for high density, while prohibiting the building of single family homes of less than 2200 sq feet. Those changes caused many seniors to leave their homes, and many more assisted living facilities have been built, and are full of those who can afford them.

    But the seniors who cannot afford assisted living, and the young people without roots, and families with more kids than they can feed on their retail or fast food income... all of these are competing for a very small amount of housing.

    Now add 7 catastrophic fires and 4 floods that destroyed many thousands of homes inside of 2 years, and we have an Extreme Housing Crisis in California- which in turn is exacerbating mental health issues and causing new ones (PTSD from running through fire to escape, for instance), thousands of people are without work because their workplaces burned up, cars were destroyed, all clothing and household belongings gone- and there literally is no place to live to start over.

    Bingo! We have just increased the homeless population by many thousands of people. See, it is not a simple situation, there are complex causes, but I think the underlying theme is poorly thought out government decisions, particularly zoning- which has terribly affected available housing. People in their 60-70-80s don't want to live in the 2200+ sq ft house anymore. And neither do young families, because they just can't afford it, financially or time-wise. But the small homes have been torn down, and it's illegal to build more. Makes no sense, at all
    .

  2. #2
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    Nevada has a big problem now because they tore down all the weekly motels near downtown. These were cheap places for people to live. Also rents have skyrocketed and drug use has increased.

  3. #3
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    I keep wondering if the 2008 recession was the starting point for many. I see so many young homeless that I wonder if they didn't grow up in homes and families that fell apart during that time. When I read in-depth articles about individual homeless people... their hardships are very often the result of bad choices more than anything. Many are felons who can't easily re-enter the system so they just resort to disappearing into the homeless camps or woods. I also think about how mediocre educations and bad parenting might contribute. Speaking of elders, a developer bought an apt building here that had been home to many seniors for years. He basically gave them all two months to be out so he could renovate and double the rent. They all had to scramble to find new homes amid rising prices all over. They lost their support network of each other's friendship as they ended up all over the city apart from each other. That sort of thing doesn't help.

  4. #4
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    Are there actually more homeless now than ten or twenty years ago?

  5. #5
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    There are in Nevada. We are number 2 in the nation right behind California. We are number 1 for homeless youth. I looked it up. It started with the recession of 2008 when jobs were lost and now with rents escalating and the weeklies gone things are worse.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Rogar's Avatar
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    There has been a serious decline in long term patient care in psychiatric hospitals. Now these people end up in half-way houses, jail, or homeless. Per my brother, the retired social worker. I'm sure there are other reasons, but that is one.

  7. #7
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LDAHL View Post
    Are there actually more homeless now than ten or twenty years ago?
    This article, abput the i flux of homeless in the LA public library, was first on my Google hit list.

    http://articles.latimes.com/1993-08-...public-library

    It is from 1993.

  8. #8
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    Roger, absolutely that’s one of the issues. It’s a complicated problem with many causes.

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    2 neighboring states are busing them to Boise. A new 40 apt facility was built. 30 were filled day 1. We just had 2 weeks straight below freezing. The day shelters are packed, the sleeping shelters are overflowing. It's not good. :-(

  10. #10
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    There is insufficient housing that and the rent is too high (but these two might not be entirely unrelated ). But there literally isn't enough housing for people in CA. The population increased, housing was not built to keep up with it, there is literally a housing shortage, you can't escape insufficient housing just by helping the mentally ill. Housing needs to get built, in population centers where people actually live of course (there are new "brilliant" (sarc) plans to build housing out in the middle of nowhere lately .... )
    If you want something to get done, ask a busy person. If you want them to have a nervous breakdown that is.

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