In California: 7,000 hotel rooms ready for homeless as COVID-19 cases surge

I am Gabrielle Canon, filling in for Arline Martinez. We made it to Friday!

But first, as of Friday afternoon, there were more than 11,300 confirmed cases in California, with the most concentrated in Los Angeles County, the state’s most populous. In the Golden State, 250 people in California have already lost their lives to the virus.

But the Golden State is still lagging far behind others in how quickly it can test symptomatic residents — let along those who aren’t sick enough to qualify for a test. Public health officials expect the number of people with coronavirus is a lot higher than the test numbers indicate, and have begun cautiously recommending that anyone leaving their homes (for essential reasons only!) wear something — like a scarf or bandana — over their face so they don’t run the risk of infecting others.

Despite the surging numbers — and Gov. Gavin Newsom’s update that California’s cases are expected to continue rising with a peak in early May — there’s evidence that the fast-acting decision to issue the nation’s first statewide shelter-in-place order is helping. Here’s to staying home.

In California brings you stories and information from newsrooms across the USA TODAY Network and beyond to keep you safe and informed. Subscribe today for free delivery right to your inbox every evening M-F. 

Newsom launches Project Roomkey to house the homeless in hotels

Lisa Marie Nava, right, helps a woman taking a shower at a mobile service for the homeless provided by The Shower of Hope MacArthur Park Monday, March 23, 2020, in Los Angeles. California residents have been told to keep away from others, not gather in groups and wash their hands frequently due to threat posed by the coronavirus.
Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

At Newsom’s noon briefing on Friday (now a regular thing that can be watched online on the governor’s Twitter page), he announced that the state had secured roughly 7,000 hotel rooms that will be made available to the homeless. The program, which aims to obtain a total of 15,000 units in areas where large numbers of people sleep on the streets, is intended to help curb the spread of COVID-19 among this highly vulnerable community.

The rooms come complete with “essential wraparound services,” including cleaning, laundry, security and other support staff. Some areas will also benefit from a partnership with Chef José Andrés’s World Central Kitchen, which will provide three meals a day.

More than 800 people have already moved in.

“What we want to do is relieve the stress in our shelter system,” Newsom said. “If left unaddressed, we allow our most vulnerable residents in the state of California to be exposed to this virus.”

California is the first state to secure FEMA funding for such a project, and the state will be reimbursed by the federal agency for up to 75% of costs.

The Trump administration announced $3 billion Thursday for homelessness pandemic efforts. Newsom has pledged $150 million in homeless aid, including money for hotel rooms.

There are more than 150,000 homeless people in California. Advocates have been concerned and critical of how slow officials were to address the higher risks faced by the homeless population, especially in the face of closures of public libraries and other facilities, which made it even more difficult for the unhoused to access water, food, and restrooms.

Still, the National Alliance to End Homelessness praised the plan.

“Through Project Roomkey, California has taken the lead in protecting homeless residents from COVID-19,” said president Nan Roman in a statement. “This initiative sets a strong national example of how state leaders can leverage their dollars with FEMA, HUD and other federal funds to address the needs of the most vulnerable homeless populations in this crisis and protect public health.”

Here’s how to protect yourself from coronavirus scams

It’s sad to think there are people out there exploiting this emergency and preying on pandemic fears to turn a profit. But, well, sigh.

While we can’t stop scammers, are ways to be vigilant and not fall victim to online tricks. The Federal Communications Commission has shared some helpful tools and examples of what to expect, to keep you ahead of the game.

Got a call offering free home testing kits? SCAM.

Maybe a text message came in from a Department of Health and Human Services official ordering you to take a mandatory online screening test? SCAM.

Someone has called saying you need to verify your personal information to get your federal stimulus check, a loan for your small business, or student loan debt forgiveness? SCAM, SCAM, SCAM.

Report anything that seems suspicious or consult this list of tips from the Feds:

  • Do not respond to calls or texts from unknown numbers, or any others that appear suspicious.
  • Never share your personal or financial information via email, text messages, or over the phone.
  • Be cautious if you’re being pressured to share any information or make a payment immediately.
  • Scammers often spoof phone numbers to trick you into answering or responding.  Remember that government agencies will never call you to ask for personal information or money.
  • Do not click any links in a text message. If a friend sends you a text with a suspicious link that seems out of character, call them to make sure they weren’t hacked.
  • Always check on a charity (for example, by calling or looking at its actual website) before donating.

E-sports, big cats, and one man’s attempt to vacation from home

Home security camera captures mountain lion jumping over fence at California home
San Bruno Police via Storyful

Sports events have been canceled, much to the dismay of fans now home on their couches looking for something to watch. If ever there was a moment for e-sports, it is now.

People are tuning in to watch others play video games.

Nascar drivers are now behind the wheels of virtual cars.

And now, you can even get your basketball fix with the NBA’S 2K Players Tournament. The LA Times has all the details here.

Sports not your thing? Already binge-watched Tiger King? Try looking out your window—  some Gilroy residents have spotted big cats this week. Mountain lions, to be exact. Just another reason not to leave your house.

If all else fails, here’s how The Desert Sun’s columnist Shad Powers survived a staycation.

Federal Judge rules that gun stores aren’t essential

Even as businesses shuttered across the state under Newsom’s shelter-in-place orders, lines outside gun stores could be seen wrapping around buildings. It’s not just happening in California.

As fears spiked alongside coronavirus numbers in recent weeks, Americans have purchased a record-breaking number of firearms. Federal data shows that more than 3.7 million background checks were conducted in March, shattering a more than 20-year record.

But some California county officials have cracked down on the businesses, ordering them to close. Gun rights advocates argue that they should be considered “essential” enterprises, which are exempt from the orders.

A federal judge has now officially disagreed.

U.S. District Court Judge Consuelo Marshall ruled against Camarillo resident Donald McDougall, who filed for a temporary order blocking gun stores from closing in Ventura County, claiming that his constitutional rights had been violated by the order.

In a two-page opinion, Marshall acknowledged the importance of protecting the Second Amendment but ruled that protecting public health is a priority, writing, “the county order does not specifically target handgun ownership, does not prohibit the ownership of a handgun outright, and is temporary.”

Still, it’s not a done deal. McDougall is hoping for help from powerful pro-gun organizations.

In a separate suit, the National Rifle Association sued several California cities and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for closing gun shops during the COVID-19 response.

Two coronavirus deaths in one Sheriff’s Department

Riverside County sheriff’s Deputy Terrell Young, left, and fellow Deputy David Werksman each died on Thursday, April 2, 2020, after they contracted the coronavirus, Sheriff Chad Bianco announced.
Riverside County Sheriff’s Department

On Friday morning, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department shared tragic news — a second deputy has died after getting coronavirus.

Deputy David Werksman was 51 years old and had devoted 22 years to serving his community. Described as kind and always willing to help, department leaders said the department is reeling from the second loss of the week. On Thursday, Sheriff Chad Bianco announced that Deputy Terrell Young had died from the virus.

“I’m seriously heartbroken,” Bianco said during an afternoon news conference outside the sheriff’s department in Riverside. “We are reeling from the reality that this virus has taken the lives of two of our family members in the past 24 hours. Our hearts and our prayers go out to Deputy Werksman’s and Deputy Young’s families.”

Newsom shared that Santa Rosa Police Department Det. Marylou Armer was the first line of duty death of a police officer in California associated with COVID-19. She was 44.

“Jennifer and I are terribly saddened to learn of Detective Armer’s untimely death. Amid the current fight against COVID-19, Detective Armer selflessly and courageously served her community and the people of California,” Newsom said in a statement. “We extend our heartfelt condolences to her family, friends, colleagues and members of the Santa Rosa community as they mourn her loss.”

The flags are being flown at half-staff to honor her.

That’s it from me tonight. Hope you all stay safe and #STAYHOME this weekend.

In California is a roundup of news from across USA TODAY Network newsrooms. Also contributing: The Atlantic, The Los Angeles Times, The Press Democrat, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The Guardian. 

Cop forced homeless man to lick public urinal or face arrest, then tried to cover it up

This undated photo from video provided by Hawaii News Now shows Honolulu police officer John Rabago outside federal court in Honolulu. AP
HONOLULU – A Honolulu police officer plead guilty Monday to depriving a homeless man of his civil rights by forcing him to lick a public urinal.

John Rabago said in court that he told the man, identified in court by his initials S.I., that he wouldn’t arrest him if he licked the urinal. The man knelt down and put his head in the urinal, Rabago said.

Rabago and another officer had responded to a nuisance complaint when they found the man in a stall in the restroom. The man was uncooperative and initially gave a fake name, Rabago said.

The man told Rabago he would do anything not to get arrested. Rabago said he told him, “If you lick the urinal you won’t get arrested.”

Rabago said he threatened the man in an aggressive tone.

Rabago, who remains on restricted duty, and Reginald Ramones, who left the department in August, were arrested and charged earlier this year with conspiring to deprive the man of his civil rights. Ramones pleaded guilty in September to a lesser charge that he knew Rabago committed a civil rights violation but didn’t inform authorities about it.

U.S. District Judge Leslie Kobayashi said Rabago’s threat wasn’t a mistake or miscommunication. “You knowingly and willfully forced S.I. to lick the urinal,” she said.

The homeless man feared he would be arrested and reluctantly obeyed Rabago’s orders, according to court documents. Rabago had previously threatened another man he was questioning by saying he wouldn’t be arrested if he stuck his head in a toilet, court documents said.

Ramones previously said in court that Rabago persuaded him not to tell authorities what happened in the public bathroom and to delete their text messages about it.

How poor people survive in the USA

Homelessness, hunger and shame: poverty is rampant in the richest country in the world. Over 40 million people in the United States live below the poverty line, twice as many as it was fifty years ago. It can happen very quickly.
Many people in the United States fall through the social safety net. In the structurally weak mining region of the Appalachians, it has become almost normal for people to go shopping with food stamps. And those who lose their home often have no choice but to live in a car. There are so many homeless people in Los Angeles that relief organizations have started to build small wooden huts to provide them with a roof over their heads. The number of homeless children has also risen dramatically, reaching 1.5 million, three times more than during the Great Depression the 1930s. A documentary about the fate of the poor in the United States today.

Will Smith to Help Raise $50 Million to Fight Homelessness

As reported in The Washington Post, Will Smith and Dame Helen Mirren will each read a bedtime story during a one-night fundraising event to help fight global homelessness. On December 7th, Smith has agreed to partner with The World’s Big Sleep Out, a campaign that seeks to raise money to end homelessness and displacement around the world. In an effort to raise $50 million, The World’s Big Sleep Out encourages people to organize or join a “sleep out” for one night to support various charities throughout the world.

“For one night, in backyards, hometowns and iconic locations across the globe, we will sleep out in unison to create the world’s largest display of solidarity with and support of those experiencing homelessness and displacement,” The Big Sleep Out states on its website.

Smith will be reading in Times Square in New York City, while Mirren will be doing hers in Trafalgar Square in London. Each location is expected to feature live performances. The sleep out is also planned in other major cities, including Chicago, Amsterdam, Madrid, and Los Angeles.

Will Smith
Will Smith will participate in the World’s Big Sleep Out on December 7th (Image: BigSleepOut.com)

100% of the funds raised from the New York event will go toward registered charities helping homeless and displaced people. International partners for the campaign include UNICEF USAMalala FundSocial Bite, and The Institute of Global Homelessness.

“I am blown away by the response to The World’s Big Sleep Out so far and incredibly excited to have 50 cities all over the world taking part, Josh Littlejohn MBE, the founder of World’s Big Sleep Out, said in a statement. “It doesn’t matter if you are taking part in Times Square or in your back garden with your family, by sleeping out for one night on December 7th, we can simultaneously express our compassion for homeless people who have no other choice and raise life-saving funds to make a difference. We can also send a message to the world’s political leaders that urgent action is required to address the human suffering that we each witness on our streets every day.” (source: https://www.blackenterprise.com/will-smith-50-million-homelessness/ )

Man dumps bucket of water on homeless woman from San Francisco rooftop in viral video

As San Francisco’s homeless crisis grows more dire, its residents have repeatedly come under fire for mistreatment of those in the homeless community — from accusations of “anti-homeless” architecture to threats of violence against homeless camps.
Now, a video that shows a man from a rooftop in San Francisco pouring a bucket of water on a homeless woman has gone viral, forcing viewers to grapple with cruelty toward the homeless population.
The video, first reported by NBC Bay Area, shows a man dumping a bucket of water from a rooftop onto a homeless woman, her encampment and her belongings.
Witnesses told NBC Bay Area that it wasn’t the first time, and that repeated instances of water dumping have taken place in the same building — presumably to ward off homeless people.
The instance that was recorded on video, The Guardian noted, was the second attack on the woman in the same day. She was attempting to move her belongings following the first attack.
The San Francisco Police Department encourages the victim to step forward and report the crime, officials told USA TODAY. Neither individual has been identified.
They classify this as a misdemeanor battery, NBC Bay Area said.
A Twitter user, Jim Cruz-Youll, is offering a $500 reward for any information regarding the identity of the attacker, which was matched by multiple others on the platform.
“Homeless women are frequent victims of sexual assault and domestic abuse,” said Cruz-Youll. “Vigilantes can’t be allowed to attack people and just wander away without consequences. I hope the reward will encourage people to step up on the record with information so that there might be a chance at justice.”
The San Francisco Human Services Agency did not respond to requests for comment from USA TODAY. (source: https://eu.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/06/26/san-francisco-man-dumps-bucket-water-homeless-woman-goes-viral/1569285001/ )

How to find a good residential lot to build a home

Let’s admit we’ve all dreamt of building our dream homes from scratch and whilst it might seem like a far-off fantasy more and more people are choosing to build their own new homes. While it can be easy to build your own home, you can’t just point to any random bit of grass and decide that’s where you’ll build your foundations. To help you out we’ve gathered some nine great tips_ on finding that perfect residential lot to help you build the house of your dreams.

 – Look for plots in existing neighbourhoods.

Not all land is great for building on and there’s been many cases of hopeful new families splashing the cash on the “perfect” plot of land only to have to spend a great deal more trying to make the land work for them. If the land exists where houses are already built, then it’s more than likely that the land will be perfect for building on.

 – Visit the land you’re considering buying.

I feel like this goes without saying but better safe than sorry! If you visit the area the land you hope to buy is then you can get a real feel for what it’ll be like when your house is built there. You can get a glimpse into what the local life is like and whether the area is too busy or loud and what the traffic is like. If you can’t visit the land for some reason, then take advantage of online maps like Google Maps to check out the area.

 – Look at online land listings.

There’s plenty of land being sold online on websites like Rightmove, S1 Homes and Gumtree and it’s something you don’t want to miss out on. It can be quicker and easier than going through a real estate agent (who don’t always deal with land!) and you don’t even have to leave the house. The best part about most of these websites is that they’re totally free to use and have all sorts of land of all shapes and sizes for sale. If you’re stuck to a tight budget looking online might be the best option for you.
If you’re looking for a place in a woodland area then check out Waterview Estates in Little Rock, AR. For those with a family, this is a great place to live.

 – Talk to real estate agents.

I know what I said about estate agents not always selling plots of land but the ones that do, really know their stuff. A lot can go into buying land and building a home. For example, you need to know about what permits you might need and what the local building codes are like. Real estate agents can really be your best friend when you’re looking for information.

 – Watch out for coastal land.

Land close to the beach might seem appealing but houses along the coast are a major risk for damage from the weather, flooding or even cliffside erosion which can leave your bank account going dry. If being near bodies of water is part of your property dreams aim for land that’s near canals, lakes or streams as they’re much less likely to cause you grief.

 – Double check the property conditions.

While streams can be much less of a hazard than the ocean, a little stream could turn into a raging river when the slightest bit of rain hits. You might have dreams of the perfect patio in your back garden could will mean nothing the land is covered in swamps and marshlands. Keep an eye out for a bizarrely dead grass and vegetation as it could be a sign there’s some serious environmental issues going on. If you don’t double check these simple things it can lead to disasters that could cost, you a lot of money.

 – Keep an eye-out for undesirable land.

We previously mentioned some land can’t be built on but some land that’s on slopes or hills, that are weird shapes or are considered “fill-in” land might be what you’re looking for. These types of land tend to be a great deal cheaper than more tradition plots of land as they’re less likely to sell. Who knows these types of land might be exactly what you’re looking for. However, some slopes could cost you as they might need some landscaping to flatten them down a bit so consult with a professional if you’re unsure.

 – Similarly, consider land that already contains an existing property. 

Land that has property already has structures built onto it most likely is safe to build on as it’s been built on previously. Though we recommend we double check this as land conditions can change over time. However, if you this an option you will have to hire a demolition team but if the land has a very run down, derelict building on it then there’s a chance you could get it cheap if you can find the right experts.

 – Remember to think about planning permission. 

Some people who sell their land make their offers with planning permission ready to go but some don’t which can be a major inconvenience. In some areas waiting for planning permission can be lengthy, which can obviously lead to some major problems when planning and building your dream home, so we recommend you ensure the plot your buying includes planning permission.

So, there you have some tips_, tricks and things to consider when buying a plot of land for your dream home. We understand most of these are really just basic common sense but there can be so many things to think about that the simplest of things can get missed. Just stick to your gut, follow these tips_ and listen to the professionals and there’s no way you can go wrong.

(Source: https://bulawayo24.com/index-id-lifestyle-sc-dose+of+encouragement-byo-157238.html )

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Young entrepreneur helps clothe the homeless in Las Vegas

Eighteen-year-old Dylan Sanglay, who created his own clothing company and uses proceeds to buy clothes for the homeless, poses at his home in the Sunrise Manor area of Las Vegas on Sunday, Aug. 26 ...

By Mia Sims

On his way home from school one day last September, Dylan Sanglay noticed several homeless men walking along the street. He wondered how he could make their day.
“I’d just gotten out of school and I had a bag of clothes I was about to donate to Goodwill,” Sanglay said. “Instead of donating, I thought I’d use it as a chance to inspire my sister.”
He took the clothes out of the car and gave them to the men. Their smiles, Sanglay said, sparked something inside him. For his birthday that October, instead of a celebration, he wanted to be of service to his community.
“I organized a bunch of clothes — men’s, women, kids, everything — and I went downtown,” Sanglay said. “I started giving them one by one to all the homeless individuals who were out there. After that, I started doing it every month.”
Now, Sanglay partners with nonprofit organizations such as Project 150, Convoy of Hope, CARE Complex and Help USA to provide clothes to homeless adults and youth. Sanglay’s community work is only a portion of what he does as an aspiring entrepreneur. He buys clothes for the homeless using the proceeds from his clothing company Dsigner_etc., a clothing line he started via social media.
“I buy new and used trendy clothing from stores like Goodwill and Savers,” Sanglay said. “I get a lot of support from my customers. They either pay me through PayPal or in person and I deliver the clothing to them. It was easy for me last year because a lot of my clients were in high school so I’d sell though there. I’m going to market my way to college now.”
According to his mother, Lisa Lopez Sanglay, 47, Dylan has always had an entrepreneurial spirit — even in third grade when he would ask her to buy lollipops so he could resell them.
“He’s always had that drive,” Lisa said. “He’s not your typical 18-year-old. He knows what he wants. And he always focuses on a bigger picture. When he and his sister were younger, I would take them to Catholic Charities and when I volunteered, I made sure they signed up with me. I’m from the Philippines. I’ve seen the worst of it. I always wanted my kids to stay grounded and see how fortunate they are.”
A recent graduate of the Southeast Career Technical Academy, Sanglay graduated with a 4.1 GPA majoring in sports medicine and was offered 11 full-ride scholarships at schools across the country. He’s a freshman at UNLV, studying kinesiology and plans to keep juggling the duties of his clothing business and community service.
“My overall goal is to make a difference in the world,” Sanglay said. “I want to expand this business throughout the world and inspire those around me, mainly the youth. The youth are our future. I just want to be a role model.”
Contact Mia Sims on msims@reviewjournal.com. Follow @miasims___ on Twitter.

(Source: https://www.reviewjournal.com/life/fashion/young-entrepreneur-helps-clothe-the-homeless-in-las-vegas/ )

The housing shortage in California is creating a state of crisis

written by Laurie Edwards-Tate Jul 10, 2018

SAN DIEGO. California, with its attractive cities such as San Francisco and Hollywood, plentiful parklands, expansive Pacific Ocean and desirable year-round climate — can mesmerize vacationers and snowbirds alike. Wishing to escape harsh weather conditions or simply seeking a change of pace, the Golden State soon becomes a serious consideration for many who are desiring to relocate.
California dreaming? Not so much if you consider the state’s ginormous housing shortage. That shortage is so bad in California that it is creating a state of crisis.

THE HIGH COST OF HOUSING IN CALIFORNIA

But what is oftentimes overlooked by California dreamers is the state’s high cost of living. Overlooked as well: the high prices for housing and apartment rentals, some of the highest in the nation.
California wannabes might be determined to find a way to live the California lifestyle. But they are very possibly ignoring the underlying facts influencing what it might cost them to qualify to buy or to rent

The housing shortage in California is creating a state of crisis.

LOW HOUSING SUPPLY CAUSES ESCALATING HOME PRICES

For those who currently own a home, the increase in housing values is highly desirable. But for first-time home buyers, however, the California real estate market makes it nearly impossible for many to afford a home. Only around 29 percent of Californians today can afford a median priced home of about $518,500.00.

Qualifying for a median priced home requires a total household annual income of $81,690.00. The estimated monthly loan payment is $2,720.00 (depending upon loan terms, down payment and the effective interest rate), according to the California Realtors Association.

In 2017, California Housing and Community Development Department estimated 3.5 million new homes would be needed to meet population growth.

SOLVING THE SHORTAGE OF CALIFORNIA HOUSING

The California Housing and Community Development Department estimates that the state needs 180,000 new homes each year to keep pace with housing demand. It follows that California should be a builder’s paradise. With millions of new homes needed over the next 20 years, the building industry could also be a positive source for creating new jobs.

However, the supply of new housing is falling dangerously short. The reasons for this are many.

For example, in 2017, approximately 110,000-115,000 building permits were requested or granted permitting the building of new California homes, according to the Construction Industry Research Board. However, estimates report approximately 70,000 fewer homes get built each year than are actually needed.

An a recent interview with a member of the California Building Industry Association, revealed a surprising multitude of barriers which prevent building badly needed new homes in California. This is especially true for those within a range of affordability.

THE COST OF OVER-REGULATION AND OTHER BARRIERS

California’s current list of regulatory barriers and cost-drivers includes

Slow permit processing
California Environmental Quality Act
Law suits from private citizens
Lumber shortages creating increasing costs
Rising materials costs
Increasing labor costs

( Source: https://www.commdiginews.com/business-2/housing-shortage-crisis-california-104294/ )

Hunger And Homelessness Are Widespread Among College Students, Study Finds

A new study from Temple University and the Wisconsin HOPE Lab found more than a third of college students can’t always afford to eat or have stable housing.

As college students grapple with the rising costs of classes and books, mortgaging their futures with student loans in exchange for a diploma they’re gambling will someday pay off, it turns out many of them are in great financial peril in the present, too.

More than a third of college students don’t always have enough to eat and they lack stable housing, according to a survey published Tuesday by researchers at Temple University and the Wisconsin HOPE Lab.

Overall the study concluded 36 percent of college students say they are food insecure. Another 36 percent say they are housing insecure, while 9 percent report being homeless. The results are largely the same as last year’s survey, which included fewer students.
National Survey Shows High Rates Of Hungry And Homeless Community College Students
NPR Ed
National Survey Shows High Rates Of Hungry And Homeless Community College Students

The 2018 numbers are even higher when broken out to include only community college students. Forty-two percent indicated they struggled the most to get adequate food, as measured by the researchers’ scale. Nine percent said they had gone at least one day during the last month without eating because they lacked the money. And 46 percent said they had difficulty paying for housing and utilities.

Sara Goldrick-Rab, professor of higher-education policy at Temple University and the lead author of the report for the past three years, told NPR that while conditions remain dire for students from low-income families, the burden of covering these basic necessities is spreading into the middle class.

For poor students, she said, “It really undermines their ability to do well in school. Their grades suffer, their test scores appear to be lower, and overall, their chances of graduating are slimmer. They can barely escape their conditions of poverty long enough to complete their degrees.”

Whereas, middle class students “wouldn’t be going through these issues if they weren’t in college” because “their resources pale in comparison to those high college prices.”

For those students facing food insecurity, it means they have trouble getting enough to eat on a daily basis, often leading to skipped meals, weight loss and limited access to nutritious foods.

Housing instability can mean a student is at risk of eviction, behind on utilities payments, or actually homeless, although according to the researchers, homelessness can take on different forms. For instance, it may include students living in a shelter, as well as anyone “couch surfing” — staying with friends — or roaming across campus at night, catching short windows of sleep as they move from one empty building to another.

The report focused on 43,000 students at 66 institutions — 31 community colleges and 35 four-year universities — in 20 states and Washington, D.C. Students volunteered to participate and researchers say it is a non-random sample.

However, Goldrick-Rab and her colleagues have touted it as “the largest national assessment of basic needs security among four-year students.”

While the survey did not include any University of California respondents, most of the findings in the current annual study parallel those found by researchers with the UC Berkeley’s Basic Needs Security Work Group, which, in 2016 determined 42 percent of student in the UC system were food insecure.

Other notable findings in Goldrick-Rab’s study include:

More than 60 percent of former foster youth who completed this survey were food insecure and housing insecure, and almost 1 in 4 had experienced homelessness in the last year.
21 percent of homeless students said they felt unsafe where they live.
37 percent of community college students and 29 percent of four-year students reported the food they’d bought just didn’t last and they didn’t have money to buy more.

Among the most surprising findings in the survey, Goldrick-Rab said, “Is that homeless college students devote as much time to the classroom and to studying as do college students who are not homeless. However, they also work more, they commute more, spend more time taking care of other people and they sleep less.”

That is why she is urging higher education institutions to double down on providing services to help financially strapped students graduate. “Because these people have clearly exhibited a resilience that almost any employer would benefit from.”
(source: https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/04/03/599197919/hunger-and-homelessness-are-widespread-among-college-students-study-finds )

US homeless population grows for first time in seven years

Published December 25, 2017 at 5:36 PM
Updated December 25, 2017 at 5:38 PM
The U.S. homeless population has risen for the first time since 2010. According to a government study, there are now more than 550,000 homeless people across the country. Their plight gets extra attention this time of year, as the homeless prepare for winter across the northern part of the country
CGTN’s Dan Williams reports.
Under a road in the center of Chicago, some of the city’s homeless attempt to keep warm. Their possessions, including bundles of clothes and blankets, lie strewn across the sidewalks.
This is where many of Chicago’s homeless are preparing for a harsh winter. It’s estimated that some 82,000 are homeless here; many living on the street, including Joseph and his uncle.
“At night time, even with blankets and all of that, we’d still be freezing. This concrete gets so cold it cracks,” Jason said. “Since I have been out here, seven years, I have seen about six people down here pass away from the cold.”
Another homeless man, Kenneth, told me about the desperate lengths he has to go to stay warm.
“If a friend can’t help me, I stay on the train. You know, back and forth. The day, start all over again. You see my buddy and all, broke down like I broke down now,” he said as he started to cry.
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, homelessness across the country is on the rise for the first time in seven years.
It’s estimated that the number of homeless in the country now stands at about 554,000, a one percent increase from a year ago. This is in part because of rising rents with incomes not keeping pace.
The homeless in Chicago say they are constantly being chased away from other downtown locations. Some say their belongings, tents, and blankets have been seized by the local authorities, making their situation all the more precarious.
The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless is calling for changes.
“Far too often, the city, the government approaches homelessness as a nuisance and uses the law and the criminalization of homelessness as a way to address it,” according to Doug Schenkelberg. “That doesn’t really help anyone. The goal when they do that is to get homelessness out of the line of sight.”
There is some help, however. A number of charities and community outreach programs attempt to provide a safety net.
But funding is tight.
A Safe Haven Foundation provides housing, as well as job training, to help people become self-sufficient.
“I had an addiction to drugs. Marijuana to be specific. And also alcohol,” program participant Davawn told me. “And that was stopping me from being as successful as I could be. They’ve got different programs here like welder, landscaping, culinary arts. There should be one of these programs in every state.”
Davawn is one of the luckier ones. He hopes it won’t be long before he has a place he can call home. But for many others, the only certainty is the prospect of a brutal and unforgiving winter. (Source: https://america.cgtn.com/2017/12/25/chicago-usa-homeless-population-rising-growing )

Oakland using storage sheds to house homeless in vacant lot

OAKLAND, Calif. (CBS) — A dozen people will get a fresh start in a new homeMonday as the city of Oakland welcomes the first group of homeless people to live in a vacant lot set up with storage sheds.
On Monday morning, city workers were putting the finishing touches on the experimental shelters. Plans to use the storage sheds for temporary housing in Oakland were first announced early in October.
A group of 20 “Tuff Sheds” have been set up on the lot at Bush and 6th streets

The city of Oakland will provided services like social workers and health providers to the community.
The units measure 10 feet by 12 feet and look like little cabins. City officials say each one will house two people.
While the 20 sheds will be able to house 40 people, it is just a start. More than 2,000 people in Oakland are without homes.
“On the long term, we need to build more units. Luckily Oakland passed Measure KK which includes $100 million toward housing. Alameda County passed Measure A1, which is $6 million towards affordable housing. ”
This new community is located just feet from sprawling homeless encampments.
The program, among the first tests for the city working to tackle the homeless crisis.
When asked if Oakland residents should expect to see more of these lots transformed into communities with storage sheds, DeVries replied, “If this is successful and we can identify the resources to replicate this, we absolutely will.” (source: http://www.wusa9.com/news/nation-world/oakland-using-storage-sheds-to-house-homeless-in-vacant-lot/496991977 )