Sprawling Homeless Camps Vex California

Charles Gibson pushes a shopping cart toward his soggy tent on a tenuous patch of a grassy drainage ditch along a bike trail in Santa Rosa, Calif. He’s one of nearly 200 people living in a sprawling camp here that has sprung up along a popular recreation corridor. It’s a community, Gibson says, that often feels caught between opposing forces who aren’t always listening.

“I mean, they [local officials] want us to be able to govern ourselves, but they are not giving us the tools we need,” Gibson says. “They don’t want you hiding, but they don’t want you in their face, you know?”

Across California and other parts of the country, these growing homeless encampments evoke shantytown “Hoovervilles,” where hundreds of thousands of destitute Americans lived during the Great Depression. The encampments are frustrating residents, raising health and safety fears and fueling a debate over poverty and inequality in one of the nation’s wealthiest states. …

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Comments

  1. I get so tired of hearing about this kind of stuff. Everyone say we need to do something about it, whatever the problem of the day may be, but nobody know what needs to be done. Newsom says he will put 1.5 billion for housing the homeless but what is that going to do? With the cost of housing in calif that will build about 4000 apts and we have about 150000 homeless people in this state. That is a drop in the bucket. The problem is there is no fix. You have maybe a quarter of them that are addicts, a quarter that have mental problems, a quarter that just can’t find a job, and a quarter that actually like living on the street. So what do you do. first you build enough mental hospitals that will hold about 35000 people. Then you round them up and force them into the hospital and drug them into normalcy. Then you have to decide if you are going to force them to spend the rest of their lives in these institutions all at taxpayer expense or let them go where most of them will quit taking their drugs and return to the streets. You have the exact same situation with the addicts. The ones that can be helped the most are the ones that just can’t find jobs. These you can find them a place to stay and train them to do a job so they can get back on their feet. The last group that likes living on the street there is nothing you can do about them. So the main problem is you can throw all the taxpayer money in the world at the problem but you can not completely solve it. You can help some maybe half of them but you can not save them all. We still have to address the base cause of the problem which is state govt policies that have made housing in this state twice the national average or more.

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