Are You Next??

Two and a half weeks ago my uncle his wife and three kids were forced to leave their apartment in Pleasanton, California. They were forced to leave because the owners kept raising the rent and it was impossible to pay unless you had a suitable income. They were given time to find another place to live but not enough. One day my mom called me and my two siblings into the garage and told us “your uncle is now homeless, they are going to stay with us for a while.” I was sad that this was happening and could not imagine how they felt.

My first semester I had to write a research essay about a current even that needed to be changed. My essay was about the homeless and why so many people lived on the streets. I was very interested in the topic because I, like many students, commute to school from Bayfair to Daly City. During this commute I pass by the Coliseum, Fruitvale, Lake Merritt, and West Oakland. As I go from station to station looking out the window I see streets, abandoned allies, and unused properties full of homeless encampments and tents. When I began to do research for my essay I found that most cities were doing nothing to help the issue, in fact they only allowed it to get worse. Most cities instead of helping their homeless population would just make it so that they would leave to another city.

This issue needs help what cities have found a reasonable solution to decrease the number of homeless people.

Why are the Numbers Rising?

One of my concerns regarding this issue was the economy? An article in the New York Times Homelessness Doubles National Average as Living Costs Soar by Noah Weiland published on January 1, 2017 discusses this issue exactly. In December of 2017 a devastating survey of 32 cities revealed that for every ten thousand residents there were one hundred and twenty-four homeless people. This is more than twice the national average. The article goes on to continue describing why the numbers are so high and only continue to rise.

Single Mothers

Young single mothers face homelessness from a different perspective. They become homeless because “Young mothers have to wait for a child care slot anywhere from a month to a year,” said Nicole Baptiste, who has overseen Valley Place for almost nine years as program director. “Then they have to get a voucher. Before they get a voucher, they have to prove that they’re working. But they’re trying to get a slot so they can put a child in daycare so they can find a job.” Child care is making the situation a lot harder than it should. While I understand why they want to make sure the baby they are watching is going to be paid for, they should also be more considerate for the mothers current position.

Has it been made impossible for parents to afford childcare, If no one can watch your child you cannot go to work. These things are not taken into consideration by companies that are offering jobs.

How are the Homeless Treated?

The New York Times article Right Battles Emerge in Cities Where Homelessness Can be a Crime by Jack Healy written on January 9, 2017. Discusses Denver and their attempt to make laws against living on the streets. While for some this rule can seem reasonable it is not backed up by the city providing somewhere for them to go. 32 percent of homeless people have no shelter. Should the homeless be allowed to stay on undeveloped loud? Yes because they have nowhere to go and every human being deserves rest.

Where do They go?

Mike O’Brein a Seattle councilmen describes the struggles of a homeless person being able to find a home or even somewhere dry to sleep “These folks, they don’t have a lot of good options. The best choice they face every day is sleeping under that bridge”. At the end of the night they really have no other options once the shelter beds are filled.

Often people forget what the homeless have to face everyday. They have to worry about what they are going to eat that day, where they are going to sleep, how to get money, and how to get out of the streets.

It is very scary to see a family member not have a home. You hear a lot about gentrification… is it really helping or only making things worse.

In November, San Francisco voted to bad sidewalk tents and allow the city to remove them with 24 hours. Once again the homeless person is not given another option or somewhere else to go.

However Denver is backing up their law and building more shelters to give them somewhere to go. So the question is why aren’t the homeless using them??

Why the Streets

Ms. Vahle is 47 she is homeless because she tore a back muscle working in a factory in Iowa. She moved to Colorado after being arrested for a trespassing charge related to homelessness. She say she prefers to live on the streets because she did not like the shelters. Her reasons were “she had to shower on a lottery system, and three of her bags had been stolen” so now she lives in an ally. Isn’t that odd she prefers and ally compared to a bed indoors. That’s a huge red flag and something that needs to be modified.

The homeless number in cities need to decrease my goal is to find a solution that will work for all cities.


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