THE POOR NEEDS DIRECT HELP! FOR THE SAKE OF GOD; DO NOT GIVE YOUR DONATIONS TO ANT 501.c.(3) TAX-EXEMPT "CHARITY" ORGANIZATIONS: THE SALVATION ARMY, USES 80% AND MORE of DONATIONS SUPPOSING HIGH-PAID CORPORATIST CEOs , AS RED CROSS SPENDS OVER 70% OF DONATIONS ON FANCY ADVERTISEMENTS, TELEVISION PROMOTIONS, HIGH TECH ELECTRONIC SURVEILLANCE EQUIPMENT, and FEWEST OF ANY CHARITY to HOMELESS! THE SORDID RECORD OF "CHISTSTERN" "RESCUE MISSIONS" ARE TO VILE TO REPEAT HERE< LET US SAY THAT THE "SEX-SLAVERY-TRAFFICKING-WATCH. FBI. GOV & U.N. SEX TRADE SLAVERY TRAFFIC WATCH HAS FINGERED "WOMENS REHAB , GOSPEL DRUG TREATMENTS, GOSPEL SHELTERS" AS SOURCE OF MANY MURDERED WOMEN SEEN IN "SEX-BONDAGE-SNUFF-FILMS!!!" SO, JESUS CHRIST, BY THE WORD OF YAHWEH, & THROUGH THE FACILITATION OF THE HOLY GHOST, DEMANDS YOU TO GIVE ALMS DIRECTLY TO THEM THAT NEED IT!!!!" FOOD, WARM BEDDING, THERMAL UNDER GARMENTS, WOMEN'S PANTIES & BRASSIERES (A GOOD PLAIN BRA COSTS OVER &16.99 ON SALE!!! LADIES, HELP THESE POOR LOST CHILDREN OF EVE! GIVE A BRASSIERE! AND TOILET PAPERS! OH THESE POOR FOLKS ARE LOCKED OUT OF PUBLIC TOILETS! THE EVIL CITY POLICE AND SHERIFFS AND CITY OFFICIALS= MAYORS, COUINCILMENS ETC.. LOCK UP PUBLIC BATHROOMS!!!! PEOPLE WHO ARE RECENTLY FORECLOSED AND LOST EVERYTHING ARE NOT STREET-WISE & SHIT ALL IN THEY CLOTHES!!! GIVE THE POOR FRESHLY MADE STREET TRASH A LITTLE "LOVE" BEFORE THEY DEGENERATE AND BECOME JADED IN THE HARD CORE HOMELESS YOU SEE EVERY WHERE ALL OVER NOW! IT ONLY TAKES ONE WINTER SEASON FOR THE BEST HUMANS TO BECOME FILTHY HOMELESS DREGS in the CRUEL MEAN STREETS, ESPECIALLY FEMALE WOMENS! USUAL WITHIN A FEW MONTHS A PACK OF CRACK-FIEND NEGROES WILL CATCH A NEW FEMALE WOMAN HOMELESS AND GANG RAPER HER IN EVERY ORIFICE, THEN HER SELF ESTEEM & SELF WORTH as a HUMAN is CUT TO ABOUT >10% SOON THEY COMMIT SUICIDE - Marcos Breton
Marcos Breton: Little guy gets stuck with homeless camp in Sacramento
By Marcos Breton
Near the corner of 13th and C streets lives a 71-year-old man without the money or political influence to uphold his rights – or the law.
A retired auto mechanic who lives on a fixed income with his wife, Pedro Hernandez is collateral damage in a struggle between homeless advocates and the city of Sacramento.
He can do nothing about it, so homeless people have set up 35 tents and are camping out right behind the Victorian where Hernandez has lived for 38 years, the home where he raised six kids.
It's against the law to camp in the city of Sacramento, and yet homeless people have been camping on the property since late last week. That's the way it is here.
The homeless would never be allowed to camp in the Fabulous 40s, Land Park, east Sacramento or any other Sacramento neighborhood where residents have a voice. So the injustice of homelessness is remedied with another injustice: forcing a homeless camp on a person of modest means who can do nothing about it.
And this issue gets even more complicated.
The homeless people living behind Hernandez are doing so with the permission of Mark Merin, who controls the property and is one of the most formidable lawyers in Sacramento.
Merin has been helping homeless advocates in their push to secure a legal campsite for the homeless – a "safe ground" – by winter.
Interestingly enough, Merin also sued Hernandez in 2007 in a property line dispute.
When I asked Hernandez about that suit, he started to cry, but declined to say anything about it for fear of being sued by Merin again.
A big giver to homeless charities, Merin has built a career representing the disenfranchised. He is a Goliath who usually represents Davids.
"Mr. Merin is a civil rights attorney, but what about our rights?" asked Patricia Hernandez, Pedro's oldest daughter. "He has trampled all over our rights."
Merin said he has no "animus" toward Hernandez. He called it a coincidence that he had filed the prior suit against Hernandez and now has sited a homeless camp behind his home.
That's small comfort for Hernandez.
A courtly and soft-spoken man, Hernandez said he moved to the United States legally in the early 1970s from Mexico and has paid his taxes and worked hard despite having diabetes and heart disease.
His English isn't great, so he is not good media fodder. TV cameras whisk past him for the greater visual of an urban homeless camp.
"All I want is to be heard – for people to abide by the law," he said.
So far, police have taken no action. A steady stream of donors drop off food and supplies to the homeless. City leaders are trying to figure out what to do that won't get them sued.
And Hernandez? He's peering through tear-filled eyes, hoping someone will hear him. y Emily Bazar, USA TODAY
PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Jim Marshall recalls everything about that beautiful fall day.
The temperature was about 70 degrees on Nov. 19, the sky was "totally blue," and the laughter from a martini bar drifted into the St. Petersburg park where Marshall, 39, sat contemplating his first day of homelessness.
PHOTOS: Tent cities help victims of a bad economy
"I was thinking, 'That was me at one point,' " he says of the revelers. "Now I'm thinking, 'Where am I going to sleep tonight? Where do I eat? Where do I shower?' "
The unemployed Detroit autoworker moved to Florida last year hoping he'd have better luck finding a job. He didn't, and he spent three months sleeping on sidewalks before landing in a tent city in Pinellas County, north of St. Petersburg, on Feb. 26.
Marshall is among a growing number of the economic homeless, a term for those newly displaced by layoffs, foreclosures or other financial troubles caused by the recession. They differ from the chronic homeless, the longtime street residents who often suffer from mental illness, drug abuse or alcoholism.
For the economic homeless, the American ideal that education and hard work lead to a comfortable middle-class life has slipped out of reach. They're packing into motels, parking lots and tent cities, alternately distressed and hopeful, searching for work and praying their fortunes will change.
"My parents always taught me to work hard in school, graduate high school, go to college, get a degree and you'll do fine. You'll do better than your parents' generation," Marshall says. "I did all those things. … For a while, I did have that good life, but nowadays that's not the reality."
Tent cities and shelters from California to Massachusetts report growing demand from the newly homeless. The National Alliance to End Homelessness predicted in January that the recession would force 1.5 million more people into homelessness over the next two years. Already, "tens of thousands" have lost their homes, Alliance President Nan Roman says.
The $1.5 billion in new federal stimulus funds for homelessness prevention will help people pay rent, utility bills, moving costs or security deposits, she says, but it won't be enough.
"We're hearing from shelter providers that the shelters are overflowing, filled to capacity," says Ellen Bassuk, president of the National Center on Family Homelessness. "The number of families on the streets has dramatically increased."
'A change in the population'
Pinellas Hope, the tent city run by Catholic Charities here since December 2007, has been largely for the chronically homeless, some of whom suffer from mental illness or struggle with drugs or alcohol.
About 20% of its 240 residents became homeless recently because of the economic downturn, says Frank Murphy, president of Catholic Charities, Diocese of St. Petersburg.
"We're seeing a change in the population. … We're seeing a lot more that are just plain losing their jobs and their homes," says Sheila Lopez, chief operating officer of the charity. "A lot are either job-ready or working but have lost their home because they were laid off, or their apartment, and now can't go to work because they're not shaven, they're not clean, they're living in a car, or they're living on the street."
The charity plans to expand the tent city and build an encampment in a neighboring county, an idea that has drawn objections from nearby homeowners and businesses.
Communities elsewhere are facing similar pressures:
• In Massachusetts, a record number of homeless families need emergency shelter, says Robyn Frost, executive director of the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless. In mid-April, there were 2,763 families in shelters, including 655 in motels because the shelters were full, an increase of 36% since July, she says.
"We have a high number of foreclosure properties, and many of them are multifamily apartments," Frost says. "We were seeing a great number of families being displaced."
• Reno officials shut down a tent city in October after making more shelter space available, but new encampments are popping up along the Truckee River and elsewhere, says Kelly Marschall of the Reno Area Alliance for the Homeless.
The homeless include "a startling number of first-time homeless," she says. "We asked them what industries they were involved in. The majority were talking about construction, the housing industry, real estate. There was a direct correlation to the housing market crash."
• In Santa Barbara, Calif., 84 men and women sleep in their cars, trucks or recreational vehicles in 17 parking lots around the city, says Jason Johnson with the New Beginnings Counseling Center, which runs the RV Safe Parking Program. The city, which allows the use of three municipal lots at night, supports the program, says city parking superintendent Victor Garza. Last May, there were 58 participants and no waiting list. Now 40 people are waiting.
"People's last refuge has become their vehicle," Johnson says.
Objections by residents
Pinellas Hope in Florida looks like a cookie-cutter subdivision, except that the orderly rows are of tents, not houses. Besides 250 tents, all of similar size, shape and color, there are 15 wooden sheds, 6 feet by 8 feet, that Catholic Charities built as shelters.
The charity plans to reduce the number of tents to 150 and erect 100 sheds, which are more durable, and build as many as 80 permanent studio apartments on the property, Murphy says.
His group also wants to open a campground for 240 homeless people in neighboring Hillsborough County, he says, primarily using wooden sheds.
Unlike Pinellas Hope, which doesn't border residential neighborhoods, the Hillsborough County parcel is across the street from a tidy 325-home subdivision called East Lake Park. There, opponents of the tent city have a website: www.stoptentcity.com.
Hal and Cindy Hart are raising three grandchildren in their home on the lake. The kids, 4 to 13, fish for bass, ride their bikes to friends' houses and attend neighborhood parties.
The Harts fear that large numbers of homeless people, some with addictions and criminal backgrounds, would loiter in the neighborhood. "We will not be able to let our grandchildren ride their bikes outside without constant supervision," says Hal Hart, 52, a paralegal.
The Harts agree that the homeless population needs services, but they think the emphasis should be on programs that will help families, not single adults.
Murphy says the diocese wants to address the neighbors' concerns and has lowered the number of proposed occupants from 500.
'A temporary situation'
Pinellas Hope, which has a waiting list of about 150 people, is attracting a growing stream of homeless men, women and couples. Families with children are sent to area shelters.
New arrivals must agree to rules, such as not using drugs or alcohol, and perform chores, Lopez says. They get mats, sleeping bags, toiletries, flip-flops for showers and lockable boxes in their tents to store valuables. Within one week, they must make a plan describing how they will work their way out of homelessness.
Residents are expected to move on within five months, but some stay longer. Campers have access to trailers with bathrooms, showers, computers, washers and dryers and a room of donated clothes. They get a free bus pass the first month and advice on writing résumés.
By day, some leave camp to look for work or ride the bus to pass the time. Others stay, watching TV in large communal tents, doing laundry or playing Monopoly. At night, an off-duty police officer patrols the camp, which is governed by curfews: 10:30 p.m. on weeknights and midnight Fridays and Saturdays.
The camp bustles at dinnertime, when everyone gathers for a hot meal provided by churches and other organizations.
A year ago, there were 5,500 homeless people in Pinellas County, says St. Petersburg police officer Richard Linkiewicz, a homeless-outreach officer. This year, there are 7,500, including 1,300 children in homeless families, he says.
Many of the newly homeless worked in construction, a booming industry in Florida before the economic bust, he says.
David Grondin, 48, moved in on Feb. 7 and stayed for two months. A union carpenter, he graduated from the University of South Florida in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in fine arts.
He struggled as carpentry work and odd jobs disappeared. When his 1992 Saturn died in August, he could no longer get to jobs far from public transportation routes.
Frustrated by his inability to find a job in Florida, last month Grondin took a bus to Portland, Maine, where he's staying with friends and looking for carpentry work. "I was definitely middle class," he says. "I had a car. I got a paycheck every week."
Kevin Shutt, 53, moved into Pinellas Hope in March after he was laid off from his job waiting tables because diners "stopped coming through the doors," he says.
Shutt has decorated his tent with house plants, including a ficus tree his mother gave him nearly 30 years ago, and pinned Tampa Bay Rays and Buccaneers jerseys to the inside walls.
He tearfully recounts how he got kicked out of his apartment by a roommate when he couldn't come up with the rent. A former homeowner who made Caesar salads tableside at restaurants, now he can't get a job at Taco Bell, he says. "This is the first time in my life I ever dreamed about living in a tent," he says.
An optimist by nature, Shutt vows that his stay will be short. He has filled out more than 175 job applications and occasionally works for a friend doing canvas work on boats. "This is a temporary situation," he says.
A diminished outlook
Marshall, the former autoworker, has an associate's degree in electronic engineering and is less encouraged.
He remembers a comfortable life in Michigan, where he worked in automotive testing, owned a brick ranch-style home, made up to $50,000 a year and played in softball leagues.
Companies he worked for started losing contracts a few years ago, and eventually the work dried up, he says. He sold his house and moved into an apartment, but by 2007 he couldn't pay the rent.
He came to Florida in August, thinking the job market was better. But he couldn't pay the rent here, either.
At Pinellas Hope, Marshall searches online job sites or takes the bus to apply for work at McDonald's, factories and Wal-Mart. He gets $45 a week selling his blood plasma.
"I have my résumé online. I go door to door. I make phone calls," he says. "I have not received one phone call, one e-mail. I thought with my experience and my degree, it wouldn't be this difficult."
Marshall feels ill at ease in the camp and has trouble sleeping, and not just because of the armadillos that burrow under his tent. "I'm scared," he says. "If I can't find a job, where do I go next?"
At this point, he has lowered his expectations. "I don't expect ever to make $50,000 a year working in the auto industry, but just enough to survive, have my own place, buy my own food, my own clothes," he says. "What every American would expect."
Cities Deal With a Surge in Shantytowns
Jim Wilson/The New York Times
An encampment of tents under an overpass in Fresno.
FRESNO, Calif. — As the operations manager of an outreach center for the homeless here, Paul Stack is used to seeing people down on their luck. What he had never seen before was people living in tents and lean-tos on the railroad lot across from the center.
“They just popped up about 18 months ago,” Mr. Stack said. “One day it was empty. The next day, there were people living there.”
Like a dozen or so other cities across the nation, Fresno is dealing with an unhappy déjà vu: the arrival of modern-day Hoovervilles, illegal encampments of homeless people that are reminiscent, on a far smaller scale, of Depression-era shantytowns. At his news conference on Tuesday night, President Obama was asked directly about the tent cities and responded by saying that it was “not acceptable for children and families to be without a roof over their heads in a country as wealthy as ours.”
While encampments and street living have always been a part of the landscape in big cities like Los Angeles and New York, these new tent cities have taken root — or grown from smaller enclaves of the homeless as more people lose jobs and housing — in such disparate places as Nashville, Olympia, Wash., and St. Petersburg, Fla.
In Seattle, homeless residents in the city’s 100-person encampment call it Nickelsville, an unflattering reference to the mayor, Greg Nickels. A tent city in Sacramento prompted Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to announce a plan Wednesday to shift the entire 125-person encampment to a nearby fairground. That came after a recent visit by “The Oprah Winfrey Show” set off such a news media stampede that some fed-up homeless people complained of overexposure and said they just wanted to be left alone.
The problem in Fresno is different in that it is both chronic and largely outside the national limelight. Homelessness here has long been fed by the ups and downs in seasonal and subsistence jobs in agriculture, but now the recession has cast a wider net and drawn in hundreds of the newly homeless — from hitchhikers to truck drivers to electricians.
“These are able-bodied folks that did day labor, at minimum wage or better, who were previously able to house themselves based on their income,” said Michael Stoops, the executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless, an advocacy group based in Washington.
The surging number of homeless people in Fresno, a city of 500,000 people, has been a surprise. City officials say they have three major encampments near downtown and smaller settlements along two highways. All told, as many 2,000 people are homeless here, according to Gregory Barfield, the city’s homeless prevention and policy manager, who said that drug use, prostitution and violence were all too common in the encampments.
“That’s all part of that underground economy,” Mr. Barfield said. “It’s what happens when a person is trying to survive.”
He said the city planned to begin “triage” on the encampments in the next several weeks, to determine how many people needed services and permanent housing. “We’re treating it like any other disaster area,” Mr. Barfield said.
Mr. Barfield took over his newly created position in January, after the county and city adopted a 10-year plan to address homelessness. A class-action lawsuit brought on behalf of homeless people against the city and the California Department of Transportation led to a $2.35 million settlement in 2008, making money available to about 350 residents who had had their belongings discarded in sweeps by the city.
The growing encampments led the city to place portable toilets and security guards near one area known as New Jack City, named after a dark and drug-filled 1991 movie. But that just attracted more homeless people.
“It was just kind of an invitation to move in,” said Mr. Stack, the outreach center manager.
On a recent afternoon, nobody seemed thrilled to be living in New Jack City, a filthy collection of rain- and wind-battered tents in a garbage-strewn lot. Several weary-looking residents sat on decaying sofas as a pair of pit bulls chained to a fence howled.
Northwest of New Jack City sits a somewhat less grim encampment. It is sometimes called Taco Flats or Little Tijuana because of the large number of Latino residents, many of whom were drawn to Fresno on the promise of agricultural jobs, which have dried up in the face of the poor economy and a three-year drought.
Guillermo Flores, 32, said he had looked for work in the fields and in fast food, but had found nothing. For the last eight months, he has collected cans, recycling them for $5 to $10 a day, and lived in a hand-built, three-room shack, a home that he takes pride in, with a door, clean sheets on his bed and a bowl full of fresh apples in his propane-powered kitchen area.
“I just built it because I need it,” said Mr. Flores, as he cooked a dinner of chili peppers, eggs and onions over a fire. “The only problem I have is the spiders.”
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Dozens of homeless men and women here have found more organized shelter at the Village of Hope, a collection of 8-by-10-foot storage sheds built by the nonprofit group Poverello House and overseen by Mr. Stack. Planted in a former junkyard behind a chain-link fence, each unit contains two cots, sleeping bags and a solar-powered light.
Doug Brown, a freelance electrical engineer, said he had discovered the Village of Hope while unemployed a few years back and had returned after losing his job in October. Mr. Stoops, of the homeless coalition, predicted that the population at such new Hoovervilles could grow as those without places to live slowly burned through their options and joined the ranks of the chronically homeless, many of whom are indigent as a result of illiteracy, alcoholism, mental illness and drug abuse.
That mix is already evident in a walk around Taco Flats, where Sean Langer, 42, who lost a trucking job in December and could pass for a soccer dad, lives in his car in front of a sturdy shanty that is home to Barbara Smith, 41, a crack addict with a wild cackle for a laugh.
“This is a one-bedroom house,” said Ms. Smith, proudly taking a visitor through her home built with scrap wood and scavenged two-by-fours. “We got a roof, and it does not leak.”
During the day, the camp can seem peaceful. American flags fly over some shanties, and neighbors greet one another. Some feed pets, while others build fires and chat.
Daniel Kent, a clean-shaven 27-year-old from Oregon, has been living in Taco Flats for three months after running out of money on a planned hitchhiking trip to Florida. He did manage to earn $35 a day holding up a going-out-of-business sign for Mervyn’s until the department store actually went of out business.
Mr. Kent planned to attend a job fair soon, but said he did not completely mind living outdoors.
“We got veterans out here; we got people with heart, proud to be who they are,” Mr. Kent said. “Regardless of living situations, it doesn’t change the heart. There’s some good people out here, really good people.”
But the danger after dark is real. Ms. Smith, who lost an eye after being shot in the face years ago, said she had seen two people killed in New Jack City, prompting her to move to Taco Flats and try to quit drugs. Her companion, Willie Mac, 53, a self-described youth minister, said he was “waiting on her to get herself right with the Lord.”
Ms. Smith said her dream was simple: “To get out of here, get off the street, have our own home.”