Homeless explosion on West Coast pushing cities to brink

  • In this Sept. 28, 2017 photo, a person sleeps under a blanket on a beach near the Ocean Beach Pier in San Diego. A homeless crisis of unprecedented proportions is rocking the West Coast, leaving elected officials and outreach workers scrambling for solutions. Photo: Gregory Bull, AP / Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

  • In this Oct. 30, 2017 photo, Dave Chung, who says he has been homeless for five years on the streets of California and Washington state, eats a meal before bedding down in a bus shelter in view of the Space Needle in Seattle. Chung says he has been offered shelter many times, but chooses to remain outside due to the living conditions in homeless shelters and conflicts he has with other people. Photo: Ted S. Warren, AP / Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

  • In this Sept. 25, 2017 photo, a woman who was camping in downtown San Diego sorts through her belongings on a sidewalk that was being sprayed with a bleach solution to fight a deadly hepatitis A outbreak. The increased number of hepatitis cases in the homeless population and the geographic spread of the disease led California to declare a state of emergency in October. Photo: Gregory Bull, AP / Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

  • In this Sept. 26, 2017 photo, a worker uses a tractor to clear a large homeless encampment in the woods near Seattle's Ravenna Park neighborhood. Residents were given notice and offered shelter beds and other services, but some people in the encampment did not remove their belongings before the cleanup began. Seattle is just one of the cities on the West Coast facing a homeless crisis of unprecedented proportions. Photo: Ted S. Warren, AP / Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

  • In this Oct. 12, 2017 photo, Paige Clem sits in the car she lives in along with her husband and three dogs outside a church where free food was being distributed in Everett, Wash. Clem, who said she has battled drug addiction in the past but was now clean, said having enough money just to run the heat in her car and move it when required, was a daily challenge. Photo: Ted S. Warren, AP / Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

  • In this Oct. 30, 2017 photo, Ashley Dibble walks along a sidewalk in Seattle as she carries a pair of work boots to deliver to her fiance at his job at a car wash. The couple lives in Seattle's "Navigation Center," a 24-hour, "low-barrier" homeless shelter that offers beds even if people are abusing drugs, have a pet or want to sleep together as a couple. Dibble, who says she has been homeless off and on for about a year, is trying to find a way back into housing so she can bring her three-year-old daughter back from where she is staying with the girl's paternal grandparents in Florida. Photo: Ted S. Warren, AP / Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

  • In this Sept. 20, 2017 photo, a pedestrian walks past a man sleeping on a public sidewalk in downtown Portland, Ore. Rising numbers of homeless people up and down the West Coast region of the U.S. have pushed abject poverty and issues such as addiction and mental health into the open like never before. Photo: Ted S. Warren, AP / Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

  • In this Sept. 22, 2017 photo, deputies with the Orange County Sheriff's Department make routine contact with people camped outside Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif. Hundreds of homeless people regularly sleep in the area, and deputies often stop by to offer services and check on the safety of people camped there. Photo: Chris Carlson, AP / Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

  • In this Sept. 11, 2017 photo, a homeless person's tent is pitched on a sidewalk in front of the wholesale store "Lucky Ave.," in downtown Los Angeles. Up and down the West Coast, nonprofit and outreach workers with decades of experience are shocked by the surge in homeless people and in the bbadity of the ways they end up on the streets: a prolonged illness, a lost job, or a family crisis -- unfortunate setbacks that for many become impossible to recover from. Photo: Jae C. Hong, AP / Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

  • In this Sept. 18, 2017 photo, Taz Harrington, right, sleeps with his girlfriend, Melissa Ann Whitehead, on a street in downtown Portland, Ore. Harrington, who is in his 20s, said he met Whitehead, who was already homeless, online and came to Oregon to be with her even though he knew they would be sleeping outside. He said although he was hoping to find work, his girlfriend becomes anxious when he's away, so he stays with her most of the time. Photo: Ted S. Warren, AP / Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

  • In this Oct. 30, 2017 photo, Stanley Timmings is seen through the door of the RV where he lives with his girlfriend on the streets of Seattle. Timmings was parked just north of Boeing Field, the King County International Airport, along with a group of fellow RV-dwellers who are periodically told by the city to move their vehicles - even if just across the street - or risk having them towed away. In Seattle, about one-third of unsheltered homeless people live in vehicles, according to recent homeless counts. Photo: Ted S. Warren, AP / Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

  • In this Sept. 19, 2017 photo, trash from homeless encampments lines an entrance ramp for Interstate Highway 5 in San Diego. Rising numbers of homeless people have pushed abject poverty into the open like never before up and down the West Coast, leaving elected officials and outreach workers struggling to find solutions. Photo: Gregory Bull, AP / Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

  • 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. Photo: Jae C. Hong, AP / Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

  • In this Oct. 30, 2017 photo, Stanley Timmings poses for a photo as he displays a picture of the Christmas-decorated fireplace mantle he had in the house where he used to live in before becoming homeless. Timmings and his girlfriend were forced to move into an RV after the owner of the home they were renting a room in died of cancer. In Seattle, about one-third of unsheltered homeless people live in vehicles, according to recent homeless counts. Photo: Ted S. Warren, AP / Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

In this Sept. 28, 2017 photograph, an individual sleeps beneath a blanket on a seashore close to the Ocean Beach Pier in San Diego. A homeless disaster of unprecedented proportions is rocking the West Coast, leaving elected officers and outreach staff scrambling for options. much less
In this Sept. 28, 2017 photograph, an individual sleeps beneath a blanket on a seashore close to the Ocean Beach Pier in San Diego. A homeless disaster of unprecedented proportions is rocking the West Coast, leaving elected … extra


Photo: Gregory Bull, AP


In this Oct. 30, 2017 photograph, Dave Chung, who says he has been homeless for 5 years on the streets of California and Washington state, eats a meal earlier than bedding down in a bus shelter in view of the Space Needle in Seattle. Chung says he has been supplied shelter many instances, however chooses to stay outdoors as a result of residing circumstances in homeless shelters and conflicts he has with different individuals. much less
In this Oct. 30, 2017 photograph, Dave Chung, who says he has been homeless for 5 years on the streets of California and Washington state, eats a meal earlier than bedding down in a bus shelter in view of the Space … extra


Photo: Ted S. Warren, AP


In this Sept. 25, 2017 photograph, a girl who was tenting in downtown San Diego types by her belongings on a sidewalk that was being sprayed with a bleach resolution to battle a lethal hepatitis A outbreak. The elevated variety of hepatitis circumstances within the homeless inhabitants and the geographic unfold of the illness led California to declare a state of emergency in October. much less
In this Sept. 25, 2017 photograph, a girl who was tenting in downtown San Diego types by her belongings on a sidewalk that was being sprayed with a bleach resolution to battle a lethal hepatitis A outbreak. The … extra


Photo: Gregory Bull, AP


In this Sept. 26, 2017 photograph, a employee makes use of a tractor to clear a big homeless encampment within the woods close to Seattle’s Ravenna Park neighborhood. Residents got discover and supplied shelter beds and different companies, however some individuals within the encampment didn’t take away their belongings earlier than the cleanup started. Seattle is simply one of many cities on the West Coast dealing with a homeless disaster of unprecedented proportions. much less
In this Sept. 26, 2017 photograph, a employee makes use of a tractor to clear a big homeless encampment within the woods close to Seattle’s Ravenna Park neighborhood. Residents got discover and supplied shelter beds and different … extra


Photo: Ted S. Warren, AP


In this Oct. 12, 2017 photograph, Paige Clem sits within the automotive she lives in alongside along with her husband and three canines outdoors a church the place free meals was being distributed in Everett, Wash. Clem, who mentioned she has battled drug habit up to now however was now clear, mentioned having sufficient cash simply to run the warmth in her automotive and transfer it when required, was a each day problem. much less
In this Oct. 12, 2017 photograph, Paige Clem sits within the automotive she lives in alongside along with her husband and three canines outdoors a church the place free meals was being distributed in Everett, Wash. Clem, who mentioned she has battled … extra


Photo: Ted S. Warren, AP


In this Oct. 30, 2017 photograph, Ashley Dibble walks alongside a sidewalk in Seattle as she carries a pair of labor boots to ship to her fiance at his job at a automotive wash. The couple lives in Seattle’s “Navigation Center,” a 24-hour, “low-barrier” homeless shelter that gives beds even when individuals are abusing medicine, have a pet or wish to sleep collectively as a pair. Dibble, who says she has been homeless on and off for a couple of 12 months, is looking for a method again into housing so she will be able to carry her three-year-old daughter again from the place she is staying with the lady’s paternal grandparents in Florida. much less
In this Oct. 30, 2017 photograph, Ashley Dibble walks alongside a sidewalk in Seattle as she carries a pair of labor boots to ship to her fiance at his job at a automotive wash. The couple lives in Seattle’s “Navigation … extra


Photo: Ted S. Warren, AP


In this Sept. 20, 2017 photograph, a pedestrian walks previous a person sleeping on a public sidewalk in downtown Portland, Ore. Rising numbers of homeless individuals up and down the West Coast area of the U.S. have pushed abject poverty and points akin to habit and psychological well being into the open like by no means earlier than. much less
In this Sept. 20, 2017 photograph, a pedestrian walks previous a person sleeping on a public sidewalk in downtown Portland, Ore. Rising numbers of homeless individuals up and down the West Coast area of the U.S. have pushed … extra


Photo: Ted S. Warren, AP


In this Sept. 22, 2017 photograph, deputies with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department make routine contact with individuals camped outdoors Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif. Hundreds of homeless individuals frequently sleep within the space, and deputies typically cease by to supply companies and test on the protection of individuals camped there. much less
In this Sept. 22, 2017 photograph, deputies with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department make routine contact with individuals camped outdoors Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif. Hundreds of homeless individuals frequently sleep in … extra


Photo: Chris Carlson, AP


In this Sept. 11, 2017 photograph, a homeless particular person’s tent is pitched on a sidewalk in entrance of the wholesale retailer “Lucky Ave.,” in downtown Los Angeles. Up and down the West Coast, nonprofit and outreach staff with many years of expertise are shocked by the surge in homeless individuals and within the bbadity of the methods they find yourself on the streets: a protracted sickness, a misplaced job, or a household disaster — unlucky setbacks that for a lot of turn out to be inconceivable to recuperate from. much less
In this Sept. 11, 2017 photograph, a homeless particular person’s tent is pitched on a sidewalk in entrance of the wholesale retailer “Lucky Ave.,” in downtown Los Angeles. Up and down the West Coast, nonprofit and outreach staff … extra


Photo: Jae C. Hong, AP


In this Sept. 18, 2017 photograph, Taz Harrington, proper, sleeps along with his girlfriend, Melissa Ann Whitehead, on a avenue in downtown Portland, Ore. Harrington, who’s in his 20s, mentioned he met Whitehead, who was already homeless, on-line and got here to Oregon to be along with her although he knew they might be sleeping outdoors. He mentioned though he hoped to seek out work, his girlfriend turns into anxious when he is away, so he stays along with her more often than not. much less
In this Sept. 18, 2017 photograph, Taz Harrington, proper, sleeps along with his girlfriend, Melissa Ann Whitehead, on a avenue in downtown Portland, Ore. Harrington, who’s in his 20s, mentioned he met Whitehead, who was … extra


Photo: Ted S. Warren, AP


In this Oct. 30, 2017 photograph, Stanley Timmings is seen by the door of the RV the place he lives along with his girlfriend on the streets of Seattle. Timmings was parked simply north of Boeing Field, the King County International Airport, together with a gaggle of fellow RV-dwellers who’re periodically instructed by town to maneuver their autos – even when simply throughout the road – or danger having them towed away. In Seattle, about one-third of unsheltered homeless individuals stay in autos, based on latest homeless counts. much less
In this Oct. 30, 2017 photograph, Stanley Timmings is seen by the door of the RV the place he lives along with his girlfriend on the streets of Seattle. Timmings was parked simply north of Boeing Field, the King County … extra


Photo: Ted S. Warren, AP


In this Sept. 19, 2017 photograph, trash from homeless encampments strains an entrance ramp for Interstate Highway 5 in San Diego. Rising numbers of homeless individuals have pushed abject poverty into the open like by no means earlier than up and down the West Coast, leaving elected officers and outreach staff struggling to seek out options. much less
In this Sept. 19, 2017 photograph, trash from homeless encampments strains an entrance ramp for Interstate Highway 5 in San Diego. Rising numbers of homeless individuals have pushed abject poverty into the open like by no means … extra


Photo: Gregory Bull, AP


In this Sept. 19, 2017 photograph, individuals line up at no cost meals being given out in an space of downtown Los Angeles referred to as Skid Row. Official counts taken earlier in 2017 in California, Oregon and Washington present almost 169,000 homeless individuals within the three states, based on an Associated Press tally of each jurisdiction in these states that report homeless numbers to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. much less
In this Sept. 19, 2017 photograph, individuals line up at no cost meals being given out in an space of downtown Los Angeles referred to as Skid Row. Official counts taken earlier in 2017 in California, Oregon and Washington present … extra


Photo: Jae C. Hong, AP


In this Oct. 30, 2017 photograph, Stanley Timmings poses for a photograph as he shows an image of the Christmas-decorated fire mantle he had in the home the place he used to stay in earlier than changing into homeless. Timmings and his girlfriend had been compelled to maneuver into an RV after the proprietor of the house they had been renting a room in died of most cancers. In Seattle, about one-third of unsheltered homeless individuals stay in autos, based on latest homeless counts. much less
In this Oct. 30, 2017 photograph, Stanley Timmings poses for a photograph as he shows an image of the Christmas-decorated fire mantle he had in the home the place he used to stay in earlier than changing into homeless. … extra


Photo: Ted S. Warren, AP


Homeless explosion on West Coast pushing cities to brink


SEATTLE (AP) — Housing costs are hovering right here because of the tech business, however the increase comes with a consequence: A surge in homelessness marked by 400 unauthorized tent camps in parks, beneath bridges, on freeway medians and alongside busy sidewalks. The liberal metropolis is attempting to determine what to do.

“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,” mentioned Seattle City Councilman Mike O’Brien. “There’s nowhere for these folks to move to.”

That battle is just not Seattle’s alone. A homeless disaster is rocking all the West Coast, pushing abject poverty into the open like by no means earlier than.

Public well being is in danger, a number of cities have declared states of emergency, and cities and counties are spending thousands and thousands — in some circumstances billions — in a seek for options.

San Diego now scrubs its sidewalks with bleach to counter a lethal hepatitis A outbreak. In Anaheim, 400 individuals sleep alongside a motorbike path within the shadow of Angel Stadium. Organizers in Portland lit incense at an out of doors meals pageant to cowl up the stench of urine in a parking zone the place distributors arrange store.

Homelessness is just not new on the West Coast. But interviews with native officers and people who serve the homeless in California, Oregon and Washington — coupled with an Associated Press evaluation of preliminary homeless knowledge — affirm it is getting worse.

People who had been as soon as capable of get by, even when they suffered a setback, are actually pushed to the streets as a result of housing has turn out to be so costly. All it takes is a protracted sickness, a misplaced job, a damaged limb, a household disaster. What was as soon as a blip in fortunes now appears a life sentence.

Among the findings:

—Official counts taken earlier this 12 months in California, Oregon and Washington present 168,000 homeless individuals within the three states, based on an AP tally of each jurisdiction in these states that experiences homeless numbers to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. That is 19,000 greater than had been counted in 2015, though the numbers might not be instantly comparable due to components starting from the climate to new counting strategies.

—During the identical interval, the variety of unsheltered individuals within the three states climbed 18 p.c to 105,000.

—Rising rents are the principle wrongdoer. The median one-bedroom house within the San Francisco Bay Area is costlier than it’s within the New York City metro space, as an example.

—Since 2015, at the very least 10 cities or municipal areas in California, Oregon and Washington have declared emergencies as a result of rise of homelessness, a designation normally reserved for pure disasters.

The West Coast’s newly homeless are individuals who had been capable of survive on the margins — till these margins moved.

For years, Stanley Timmings, 62, and his 61-year-old girlfriend, Linda Catlin, had been capable of hire a room in a buddy’s home on their mixed incapacity funds.

Last spring, that buddy died of colon most cancers and the couple was thrust on Seattle’s streets.

Timmings used their final financial savings to purchase a used RV for $300 and spent one other $300 to register it. Now, the couple parks the RV close to a small regional airport.

They haven’t any operating water and no propane for the cook dinner range. They go to the lavatory in a bucket and dump it behind a close-by enterprise.

After 4 months, the stench of human waste contained in the RV is overwhelming. They are exhausted, scared and defeated, with no resolution in sight.

“Between the two of us a month, we get $1,440 in disability,” he mentioned. “We can’t find a place for that.”

Nationally, homelessness has been trending down, partly as a result of governments and nonprofit teams have gotten higher at shifting individuals into housing. That’s true in lots of West Coast cities, too, however the move the opposite route is even quicker.

“So everybody who was just hanging on because they had cheap rent, they’re losing that … and they wind up outside,” mentioned Margaret King, director of housing applications for the nonprofit DESC in Seattle. “It’s just exploded.”

Above all, the West Coast lacks long-term, low-income housing for individuals like Ashley Dibble and her Three-year-old daughter.

Dibble, 29, says she has been homeless on and off for a couple of 12 months, after her ex-boyfriend squandered cash on his automotive and did not pay the hire for 3 months. She despatched her toddler to stay with the lady’s paternal grandparents in Florida. She and her new boyfriend had been sleeping beneath tarps close to Safeco Field, dwelling of the Seattle Mariners, when an outreach workforce referred them to a brand new shelter.

With an eviction on her document and little revenue, nobody will hire to her.

“I’ve had so many doors slammed in my face, it’s ridiculous,” Dibble mentioned, wiping away tears.

All alongside the West Coast, native governments are scrambling for solutions — and taxpayers are footing the invoice.

Voters have accepted greater than $eight billion in spending since 2015 on reasonably priced housing and different anti-homelessness applications, largely as tax will increase. Los Angeles voters, for instance, accepted $1.2 billion to construct 10,000 models of reasonably priced housing to deal with a homeless inhabitants that is reached 34,000 individuals inside metropolis limits.

Jeremy Lemoine, an outreach case supervisor with REACH in Seattle, referred to as it the scenario a refugee disaster.

“I don’t mean to sound hopeless,” he mentioned. “I generate hope for a living for people — that there is a future for them — but we need to address it now.”

___

Associated Press writers Janie Har in San Francisco, Amy Taxin in Anaheim, Julie Watson in San Diego and Chris Weber in Los Angeles contributed to this report. AP photographer Ted Warren and AP videographer Manuel Valdes in Seattle additionally contributed.

Part of an ongoing examination of the homeless disaster alongside the West Coast.


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