As Homelessness Surges in California, So Does a Backlash

Tent encampments across California are testing residents’ tolerance and compassion as street conditions deteriorate.

By Thomas FullerTim Arango and 

OAKLAND, Calif. — Insults like “financial parasites” and “bums” have been directed at them, not to mention rocks and pepper spray. Fences, potted plants and other barriers have been erected to keep them off sidewalks. Citizen patrols have been organized, vigilante style, to walk the streets and push them out.

California may pride itself on its commitment to tolerance and liberal values, but across the state, record levels of homelessness have spurred a backlash against those who live on the streets.

Gene Gorelik, a property developer in Oakland and an aggressive critic of the homeless, recently suggested luring the thousands of homeless people in the San Francisco Bay Area onto party buses stocked with alcohol and sending them on a one-way trip to Mexico. “Refugee camps in Syria are cleaner than this,” he said in an interview at a fast-food restaurant in Oakland that overlooks a homeless encampment.

Homelessness is an expanding crisis that comes amid skyrocketing housing prices, a widening gap between the rich and poor and the persistent presence on city streets of the mentally ill and drug-dependent despite billions of dollars spent to help them.

Read the rest of the story on The New York Times

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One Response to As Homelessness Surges in California, So Does a Backlash

  1. William Hicks October 23, 2019 at 12:17 pm


    Those epitaphs applie to the policy makers that protect the homeless at the cost of the homed. And cities are being required to build “affordable” homes, better known as section 8 housing.

    Not to leave the city council members out of the name calling, they are willing to have “affordable” housing projects because they will receive State and Federal incentives to do so. So, even though it is portrayed as either a State or Federal issue, City Planners are on the take, too.


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