Besides the financial and health emergencies declared or in the making, fear is starting to spike. All that’s left is a surge in violence…
Reports have been coming in all week long of the surging problem with homelessness on the West Coast:
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.”
Did this Councilman actually say that Seattle’s unemployment rate is zero? Sure. I’ve got a bridge to sell him to Alaska too.
The report goes on to say:
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.
Taking a deeper look into the problems of homelessness, it seems that this is beginning to take it’s toll on city finances.
For example, in San Diego, there is a heated dispute over the construction of permanent, temporary homeless shelter tents:
The San Diego Housing Commission agreed Friday to use $6.5 million from its permanent housing fund to staff three large tented homeless shelters the city plans to open by the end of the month, but not everybody was on board with the idea.
While the commissioners unanimously supported the plan, the notion of using housing funds for a shelter did not sit well with some advocates for the homeless who saw the move as a step back from seeking long-term solutions.
It should be noted that each “tent” is expected to house 350 homeless.
Think about that for a moment. What kind of tensions are going to flare when packing 350 homeless, who may have all sorts of mental health, addiction, and other issues in something the size of about half a football field:
Watch that number come down real quick as it would be arguably worse in that tent than in even the most overcrowded jails and prisons, because, after all, homeless are “free” and not locked-up.
Actually, it’s worse than that. We’re talking about a combination of men and women, cramped in one of those tents:
The Alpha Project will operate one tent in East Village with 350 beds for adult men and women. Father Joe’s Villages will operate a tent on its downtown property with 150 beds for families. Veterans Village of San Diego will operate a tent in the Midway district with 200 bed for single adult men and women veterans.
Here’s the sticking point of government sanctioned “tent cities”:
Critics of the plan saw the plan as warehousing homeless people at the expense of building housing, and comments at Friday morning’s commission meeting revealed a rift among groups working to solve homelessness in the city.
“How you can approve $6.5 million with no plan and no strategy is beyond me,” said Michael McConnell, a member of Funders Together to End Homelessness San Diego and a former vice chairman of the San Diego Regional Task Force on the Homeless. “We cannot continue to say, ‘We want real solutions, we want real solutions,’ and continue to fund band-aids over and over.”
People critical of the plan also included former San Diego Regional Task Force on the Homeless board President Thomas Theisen, San Diego Housing Federation Executive Director Stephen Russell, Rick Bates of Build Better San Diego and others.
Among people in favor of the tents were representatives of Father Joe’s Villages, the Alpha Project and Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s office. County Supervisor Ron Roberts, chairman of the Regional Task Force on the Homeless, sent a letter of support that was read at the hearing.
Faulconer announced the plan to use the tents for shelter in September following a push for them by a group of business people and homeless advocates, but he has continued to stress that the city is committed to seeking permanent housing as a long-term solution.
At least one City Council member disagrees with the plan to use the shelter tents, which are estimated to cost about $43 a person a day.
And it’s not just financial issues that are causing a stir. San Diego County declared a public health emergency, back on September 1st, because of a Hepatitis A outbreak that is still spreading:
The latest update bumped the outbreak’s case total to 544, eight more than the 536 reported last week. The number of deaths did not increase, remaining at 20 after one new death was reported last week.
So, there has been a publicly declared emergency, and more than two months later, including both health strategies and even bleaching San Diego streets to kill the virus:
The problems keep getting worse as the days and weeks go on.
And when one combines financial dire straits, health issues, mental health issues and addiction, it is blatantly obvious that sooner or later the instability will sink in, something will give, and the end result will be a surge in violence.
We already see on the West Coast where people already do not feel safe in their own neighborhoods:
Rachel Sterry, a naturopathic doctor, lives near that path and sometimes doesn’t feel safe when she’s commuting by bike with her 1-year-old son. Dogs have rolled in human feces in a local park; recent improvements she’s made to her small home are overshadowed by the line of tents and tarps a few dozen yards from her front door, she said.
“I have to stop and get off my bike to ask people to move their card game or their lounge chairs or their trash out of the way when I’m just trying to get from point A to point B,” she said. “If I were to scream or get hurt, nobody would know.”
For Seattle resident Elisabeth James, the reality check came when a homeless man forced his way into a glass-enclosed ATM lobby with her after she swiped her card to open the door for after-hours access. After a few nerve-wracking minutes, the man left the lobby but stayed outside, banging on the glass. Police were too busy to respond so James called her husband, who scared the man away and walked her home. The man, she believes, just wanted to get out of the rain.
Which brings us full circle to the intent of the article – Slow Motion Economic Collapse in the United States.
What we are witnessing is the slow train wreck economic collapse of the United States. The stock market is a record highs, and unemployment is at record lows, even zero in Seattle as one elected official put it, and despite the “recovery” since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2008, things have taken a turn for the worse.
And not only that, but it’s all economic and financial rainbows and unicorns as far as the Fed and even President Trump can see.
Imagine what will happen when the economy “officially” enters recession.
The United States won’t need to bring in refugees at all to have a refugee style crisis, and we already see it under construction.
And while the West Coast is highlighted here, thinking this problem is contained is a mistake.
And to better see the similarities –
Santa Ana, California:
Already looks like Paris:
Is starting to look a lot like Berlin:
And as the homeless are “herded” into mega-occupancy tents and stripped of their last shreds of freedom, cities around the United States could suffer their own versions of refugee violence and crime, no refugees needed.
So the question is, how long before the United States looks like this:
No refugees needed, just a match.
It’s all right here, right now in a city near all of us.
Stay safe, be strong, live smart, and stack accordingly.
– Half Dollar