San Francisco spends $3.1m/year on homeless toilets and $65m/year cleaning up poop

San Francisco's housing crisis is also (of course) a homelessness crisis, and homelessness crises beget public defecation crises -- and San Francisco has a serious public defecation crisis. Read the rest

Lyft, Stripe spend lavishly to kill San Francisco's homelessness relief measure

San Francisco has a homelessness epidemic that is both heartrending and a threat to public health, and it has only worsened for decades, and continues to get worse even now. Read the rest

City of Seattle's official tow partner impounded a homeless woman's stolen car and wanted $21,634 to give it back

Update: An earlier version of this article misidentified Dick's Towing of Everett as the Dick's Towing of Seattle involved this this story. I apologize to Dick's of Everett for the error.

Seattle is in the grips of a dire housing emergency (though the city has money to burn when it comes to subsidizing multi-billion-dollar sports teams); Amanda Ogle is one of the many people in Seattle living out of a car, in her case, a 1991 Camry. Read the rest

One in ten of New York's public school students is homeless

114,659 of New York's public school students is homeless, bouncing from shelters to relatives' beds: homelessness is a predictor of poor academic performance for all the obvious reasons, including very long commutes to school (some students' families have ended up at shelters that are two boroughs away from their schools). Read the rest

Federal judge orders car returned to homeless man struggling to pay parking tickets

Sean Kayode, a homeless person hustling to make ends meet in San Francisco unsurprisingly received a lot of parking tickets, in San Francisco. Naturally, the best way for San Francisco to secure payment was to seize his method of earning money. A federal judge has ordered the car be returned, for now.

Via the SF Examiner:

A federal judge on Wednesday ordered the city of San Francisco to return a towed car to a homeless man who couldn’t afford to pay the parking tickets he received while working as a food delivery driver.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White said Sean Kayode had raised “serious questions” about whether the March 5 towing of his car because of unpaid parking tickets violated the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures.

White wrote that in a situation in which a car owner can’t afford to pay overdue parking tickets, “it is not clear…that seizure is reasonable in an effort to secure repayment of the debt owed.”

The judge issued a preliminary injunction requiring return of the car. The order will remain in effect until there is a full trial on a lawsuit filed by Kayode, 52, and James Smith, 64, whose car was towed on Dec. 28, 2017.

Kayode’s car was towed from a street-cleaning zone outside a homeless shelter where he was staying. In the previous 10 months, he had received about 30 parking tickets and had paid some but not all of them.

A state law allows local authorities to tow a car whose owner has five or more unpaid parking tickets for at least three weeks.

Read the rest

Homeless people in San Francisco are hotwiring electric scooters

San Francisco's giant fleet of semi-illegal electric scooters have come to symbolize the tech industry's worst excesses, inspiring all kinds of creative resistance Read the rest

Los Angeles's homelessness epidemic has created a typhus epidemic

Los Angeles county has some 104,000 homeless people, thanks to a real-estate bubble that has priced housing out of reach of working people, while programs to reduce homelessness have been incoherent and unwilling to take the only proven step for reducing homelessness. Read the rest

Oakland to expand managed homeless shantytowns of prefab sheds

Oakland, like San Francisco, has an out-of-control homeless crisis fueled by out-of-control housing prices; like San Francisco (where aid for homelessness can include tents to make outdoor sleeping more comfortable and safe), Oakland is supplying "temporary housing" for homeless people that institutionalizes a kind of living that has heretofore been viewed as a problem in and of itself. Read the rest

San Francisco can not generally ban sleeping in public

A general ban on people sleeping in public places, allowing the San Francisco Police to arrest homeless people for having no place else to go, has been ruled cruel and unusual punishment by the US 9th Circuit Court.

KRON4:

Police can no longer arrest people for sleeping on the streets if they have nowhere else to go.

KRON4’s Lydia Pantazes at San Francisco police headquarters this morning.

She says a federal appeals court in San Francisco ruled arresting people who are sleeping on the street with no where else to go is cruel and unusual punishment.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco sided with six homeless people from Boise, Idaho, who sued the city in 2009 over a local ordinance that banned sleeping in public spaces.

The ruling could affect several other cities that have similar laws, including San Francisco.

For example, In San Francisco it is a misdemeanor sit or lie down on a public sidewalk, or on a mattress or other object on a sidewalk, between 7:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m.

The question now is whether cities can ban sitting, lying, or sleeping outside during a particular time and at a specific location. While that may still be allowed, an all out ban is not.

Read the rest

Duplicitous Catholic Bishop buys $2.3 million home with church funds after pleading for parishioners to help the homeless

A couple of years back, the Most Reverend Patrick J. McGrath, Bishop of the Diocese of San Jose, California, wrote an impassioned missive. In his letter, Bishop McGrath acknowledged the Catholic charities working to better the lives of the less fortunate. He emphasized how important it was that Catholics "vote their consciences" on Measure A: a proposal that would see affordable housing in an effort to end homelessness in the area and give struggling families a much-needed helping hand.

From The Valley Catholic:

Too many veterans have vouchers for affordable housing but no place willing to accept them. Too many children and families are living in cars or tripled up with other families in small homes because they can’t afford the rent on their own. Too many of our own teachers and workers commute long distances to serve our community of faith because they cannot afford ever increasing rents and housing prices.

He was right: everyone deserves the dignity of decent housing. That a community leader, like Bishop McGrath, would lend his voice to end this kind of bullshit, is both just and welcomed. It's how things should be.

So of course, the Bishop and the diocese fucked all of the good will built by this statement by buying a five bedroom house worth $2.3 million for McGrath to live in once he retires.

You should know that not all priests, which sometimes become bishops after decades of service and political finagling, take vows of poverty. Only certain religious orders within the Catholic Church are down with that. Read the rest

Laws that criminalize sleeping are on the rise

Sleeping should be a basic human right, but municipalities are enacting more laws that make it illegal to sleep in public. It's a cruel and financially dumb way to ignore the problem of homelessness. Steve Teare explores the issue in a comic in The Nib called "Sleeping Isn't a Crime." Read the rest

Homeless man's camp hidden in decorative tube atop train station

A man has been living in a tent hidden in a tube on top of a train station in Antioch, CA. He was spotted lowering a bicycle from roof and was reported to police, who determined he was maintaining an "unsafe camp."

From Fox News:

Officials from the city's public works department placed an officer in a boom truck, and then lifted him to the roof... The police department said "homelessness is not a crime," and officers try to "get our homeless citizens into services so they can have a stable environment."

Read the rest

Photo of a homeless man's homemade shelter in a Tokyo park

I've been to Yoyogi Park in Tokyo many times, but I've never seen a homeless encampment there. Redditor biwook took this photo of one of the shelters there. Whoever built it did an excellent job. There's a little sign in front. I can understand three of the four kanji characters: "stand up" "enter" "???" and "stop." What does the sign say?

A homeless guy's home in Yoyogi park. Looks nicer than my apartment. from r/Tokyo

Top image: Photogra Fer/Flickr. Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) Read the rest

Vending machines to offer free items to NYC's homeless people

Using electronic key cards, homeless men and women in New York City will soon be able to get three free items a day from one of these orange vending machines. Basic but necessary items like socks, tampons, toothbrushes, and water will be made available to them. There will also be food, like fresh fruit, chips, sandwiches, and chocolate (all donations from local supermarkets, charities, and shops). One of the most popular items? Books.

The man behind the project is Huzaifah Khaled. He's the founder of Action Hunger, a British charity that is "committed to alleviating poverty and hardship amongst the homeless."

Khaled was recently interviewed on WBUR, and talked about the first machine already being used in Nottingham, England since January:

"The early data and feedback has been very, very promising. In fact, it's far surpassed even our own expectations. It's offering them a little more dignity. It's giving them a little more agency over their own lives. It's really heartwarming to see our service being used exactly as designed."

Thanks, Robin!

images via Action Hunger Read the rest

LA's soaring homelessness is distorting the national statistics

LA's homeless population is up 75% over the past six years; remove LA from the national statistics and the rate of American homelessness is actually in decline. Read the rest

Watch: interviews with Japan's homeless

Greg is a Canadian living in Tokyo. He has a YouTube channel called Life Where I'm From, which explores what it's like to be a Westerner in Japan. For the last year or so he has been working on a serious project to understand homelessness in Japan. In the latest video, he interviews older men in Tokyo's skid row to learn their stories, and profiles Sanyūkai, a non-profit group that supports Japan's homeless population.

Introductory video:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Read the rest

California's record poverty and real-estate bubble are creating a "wheel-estate" boom of people with good jobs living in their cars

Extreme housing prices in California -- driven by a combination of speculation, favorable legal/tax positions for landlords, foreclosures after the 2008 crisis, and an unwillingness to build public housing -- has created vast homeless encampments, but there's a less visible side to the crisis: working people in "good jobs" who have to live in their cars. Read the rest

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