Tuesday, March 18, 2008


The BBC reports on the situation in LA, where more than 100,000 home foreclosures have led to an explosion in Tent Cities of the dispossessed. These have been dubbed "subprimevilles."

Here also is a Reuters story from about a year ago about subprime foreclosure victims living in cars.
"It's an old saying in the social services world that most people are one to six paychecks away from being homeless. But if you can't make your mortgage, it's more like a month or two. It's really fragile out there, particularly with the subprime situation," said William Wise, a spokesman for relief agency St. Vincent de Paul of Eugene, which works with the city to find overnight parking spots for homeless people.
Rather remarkable that coverage of this story seems limited to postings of the BBC clip by bloggers. Google turned up no coverage of the subprimevilles by mainstream U.S. media. This story from last November by Democracy Now reports on how subprime foreclosures have disproportionately hit minorities. Over the past year, the foreclosure rate has risen by nearly 100%.

I did come across this article, Plan Would End Homeless Tent Cities, from a year and a half ago in the LA Times, which details the compromise reached between the City and the ACLU on police action against homeless encampments. Does this sound familiar?
"Any settlement that leaves people living on the street in filthy conditions and permits chaos from 9 to 6 every night in one critical area of the city is unacceptable," said Carol Schatz, president and chief executive of the Central City Assn. ...

[Mayor Antonio] Villaraigosa has said that improving skid row by increasing affordable housing and improving homeless services is one of his top priorities. There's also been a flurry of legislation in Sacramento aimed at reducing the "dumping" of homeless people downtown and at beefing up law enforcement.
Anyone who believes that campsite clearances and the increased criminalization of visible poverty is driven by noble intent isn't paying attention.

1 comment:

Sally said...

Here's something I found that will thoroughly disgust you if you weren't in that state already. Apparently homeless people in So. CA now need to keep some sort of residential timeline with them.