Homelessness soars on West Coast as cities struggle to cope

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In this Sept. 19, 2017 photo, people line up for free food being given out in an area of downtown Los Angeles known as Skid Row. Official counts taken earlier in 2017 in California, Oregon and Washington show nearly 169,000 homeless people in the three states, according to an Associated Press tally of every jurisdiction in those states that report homeless numbers to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

SEATTLE (AP) — In a park in the middle of a leafy, bohemian neighborhood where homes list for close to $1 million, a tractor’s massive claw scooped up the refuse of the homeless – mattresses, tents, wooden frames, a wicker chair, an outdoor propane heater. Workers in masks and steel-shanked boots plucked used needles and mounds of waste from the underbrush.

Just a day before, this corner of Ravenna Park was an illegal home for the down and out, one of 400 such encampments that have popped up in Seattle’s parks, under bridges, on freeway medians and along busy sidewalks. Now, as police and social workers approached, some of the dispossessed scurried away, vanishing into a metropolis that is struggling to cope with an enormous wave of homelessness.

That struggle is not Seattle’s alone. A homeless crisis of unprecedented proportions is rocking the West Coast, and its victims are being left behind by the very things that mark the region’s success: soaring housing costs, rock-bottom vacancy rates and a roaring economy that waits for no one. All along the coast, elected officials are scrambling for solutions.

“I’ve got economically zero unemployment in my city, and I’ve got thousands of homeless people that actually are working and just can’t afford housing,” said Seattle City Councilman Mike O’Brien. “There’s nowhere for these folks to move to. Every time we open up a new place, it fills up.”

As the West Coast’s economy booms and more people move to the area, the number of homeless people has spiked to crisis levels. The Associated Press found that the number of homeless people is now 168,000 in California, Oregon and Washington. (Nov. 6)

The rising numbers of homeless people have pushed abject poverty into the open like never before and have overwhelmed cities and nonprofits. The surge in people living on the streets has put public health at risk, led several cities to declare states of emergency and forced cities and counties to spend millions – in some cases billions – in a search for solutions.

San Diego now scrubs its sidewalks with bleach to counter a deadly hepatitis A outbreak that has spread to other cities and forced California to declare a state of emergency last month. In Anaheim, home to Disneyland, 400 people sleep along a bike path in the shadow of Angel Stadium. Organizers in Portland lit incense at a recent outdoor food festival to cover up the stench of urine in a parking lot where vendors set up shop.

A worker sprays a bleach solution on a sidewalk in downtown San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Homelessness is not new on the West Coast. But interviews with local officials and those who serve the homeless in California, Oregon and Washington – coupled with an Associated Press review of preliminary homeless data – confirm it’s getting worse. People who were once able to get by, even if they suffered a setback, are now pushed to the streets because housing has become so expensive.

All it takes is a prolonged illness, a lost job, a broken limb, a family crisis. What was once a blip in fortunes now seems a life sentence.

“Most homeless people I know aren’t homeless because they’re addicts,” said Tammy Stephen, 54, who lives at a homeless encampment in Seattle. “Most people are homeless because they can’t afford a place to live.”

Among the AP’s findings:

— Official counts taken earlier this year in California, Oregon and Washington show 168,000 homeless people in the three states, according to an AP tally of every jurisdiction in those states that reports homeless numbers to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. That is 19,000 more than were counted two years ago, although the numbers may not be directly comparable because of factors ranging from the weather to new counting methods.

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6 thoughts on “Homelessness soars on West Coast as cities struggle to cope

  1. So clearly was is really happening on this planet flat earth. The devil continus to make promise on depopulation GMO8s Monsanto this deals with our mind and health Chemtrails brainwashing of TV Movies Radio pedos all theaded through society black majice whitches warlocks possession of oblivious souls people who havent met Jesus yet there is still hope for his protection on them AS we pay in the Blood of Jesus. Come on people watch vedios which will guide and teach you and yours the devil is the liar he has run on the earth it is allowed and when we kowing ly or not give him permission to do so. Repent be sorry start fresh invite Jesus in our salvation and Ephisians ^ 1 to 18 Amen Passionate about this mistakes and all Joan M

  2. To tell you the truth, I living in Seattle. I have never, never, never seen so many homelessness living nearby the I 5 Freeway. It’s all over in Seattle. I want to tell you something, I believe people will seeking a man to solving the world problem, that is Antichrist. He will coming to the scene and telling the world he will fix the problems. Deception and deceived by Satan. Time is short. Mark my word.

  3. Thanks for your comment Jim!

    I agree, the homeless situation has gotten way out of hand! I have driven through Seattle and have seen all of the tents along the Freeway, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I recently visited the Los Angeles area and it is bad there also! Even in smaller communities its a problem, it is very widespread. Yes my friend, the Antichrist is coming, and I believe as you do also that it is very soon!

    This homeless situation took a while to happen, many people will blame this on President Trump, but it was Obama who created it, part of the elite, part of the Deep State. It is part of their plan to degrade America, to take away her power and wealth, to usher in a “New World Order”! Another part of that plan is to take away Israel’s only real ally who could stand in helping to protect her against national threats. Once America is no longer able to come to the aid of Israel, then Israel’s enemies can attack her without having to worry about Israel’s big brother standing in their way. America is the “big Satan” according to Muslims in the Middle East, and Israel is “little Satan”. Oh the irony of the situation, the pot calling the kettle black! The world is so deceived!

    This homeless situation is only one piece of the puzzle in bringing America to her knees, we also have the demoralization of our society, and the division of people in general. With the way things are going right now in this world, I really can’t see the rapture of the church being too far away, or the revealing of the Antichrist! The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States was by the hand of God! It has given us a time of reprieve, it has turned us back to God in many ways, yet I believe that it may only be for a short while. The nation is divided, many are in rebellion to God and His ways, many are in rebellion to America herself! It’s as if they are suicidal, as if they seek their own destruction and demise yet they have no clue as to what they are actually doing, this is how Satan works!

    God bless my friend! Maranatha!

  4. All you have to do is follow the money. Goevernment funding for housing went down in the 70’s while private sector ownership went up. The elite typically assert that too much government funding impedes their entrepeneural undertakings. What it really is, is a sick way to usurp citizens while laying claim to all the prime real-estate. Who are head the real-estate companies? Who are the landlords? Who are the developers? Where does increase government funding go? To illegals that do cheap construction work. So the elite are having tax dollars fund their projects. It’s Epic Level Fraud and Money Laundering. Who could leave citizens destitute while enriching themselves…?

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