Homeless camps and tent cities have sprung-up around Austin, Texas in recent months; sparking a fierce backlash from angry residents after officials eased regulations regarding “public camping.”
“The rising visibility of homelessness here is sparking a backlash. Some residents, police and business leaders have complained that people living on sidewalks are leaving trash, frightening other residents walking at night and creating a health hazard,” reports the Wall Street Journal.
“Some conservative state politicians say Austin is heading down the path of West Coast cities like San Francisco with large, highly visible homeless populations and are threatening to take action. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s office has said that if the city doesn’t show improvement by Nov. 1, the Texas Department of Transportation will begin clearing encampments under the bridges of state-owned roadways,” adds the WSJ.
Austin now ranks just behind Seattle with the highest number of homeless people adjusted for total population. Los Angeles ranks second, with San Francisco taking the top spot.
“Austin Mayor Steve Adler, a Democrat, said he didn’t expect so many people to begin camping in public and is open to adjusting the policy, but won’t return to pushing homeless people out of sight,” adds the newspaper.
Read the full report at the Wall Street Journal.
'BREAKDOWN OF CIVILIZATION': LA Times SLAMS City Officials over Homeless Crisis, Rat Invasion, Garbage Piles
A columnist with the Los Angeles Times unloaded on city officials this week over the region’s escalating homeless crisis, ongoing invasion of rodents, and “sky-high” garbage piles taking over the streets.
“Los Angeles looks as if it’s digging out from a hurricane, with hordes on the streets, tents everywhere and armies of rodents on the march, inciting fears of disease.,” Steve Lopez wrote in his column, which appeared online Saturday night.
“I could give you a hundred breakdowns of what happened and what it all means, but it comes down to this: We’re in troubled waters on a ship without a captain, and though there might be a few pretenders on the bridge, nobody trusts them,” adds Lopez.
“We found out on Tuesday that although the city and county spent $600 million last year to chip away at the number of homeless people, the total increased by 16% to nearly 60,000,” adds the author.
“I naively invited readers last week to email me photos of trash heaps and encampments in their neighborhoods, and my inbox is about to explode,” he wrote. “I’ve got photos of half-clothed people passed out on pavement, sidewalks blocked by tents, bulky items, piles of poop and enough trash to fill the Grand Canyon.”
The current rat invasion sweeping across Los Angeles extended into an unlikely place last week: City Hall. Experts are now blaming the infestation on “homeless camps” circling the public property.
“When faced with complaints earlier this year from city workers about rats infesting L.A. City Hall, most city officials said little about whether the problem was connected to several homeless camps right outside,” reports the Los Angeles Times.
“But a newly uncovered report from a pest control company hired by the city has raised fresh questions about whether officials wrongly downplayed that possibility during discussions at City Council meetings,” adds the newspaper.
According to the pest control company hired to clear city hall, workers found “poor sanitary conditions” including human waste, food, and needles throughout the property.
“The homeless are using the grated areas above the pits as their bathroom and relieving themselves,” wrote David Costa, building construction and maintenance superintendent. “This is also attracting the rats. Custodial will need to do some hazmat cleaning of the grates and the pits. There are even hypodermic needles being tossed in the pits along with human waste and other garbage.”
The invasion comes after two LAPD officers were diagnosed with Typhus and other serious diseases related to the city’s rat population.
Read the full story at Fox News.
BOULDERS BLOCKED: San Fran Officials REMOVE Boulders Placed by Locals to Prevent Homeless Camps
San Francisco officials removed a grouping of large boulders installed on city streets by local residents to block homeless camps this week; saying the rocks posed a risk to motorists and pedestrians.
“The city of San Francisco on Monday removed about two dozen small boulders from a residential side street after a group of neighbors had them installed last week in an effort to deter homeless people from camping out on the sidewalk amid the city’s ongoing crisis,” reports Fox News.
“San Francisco’s Public Works removed the rocks set up along Clinton Park in the city’s Mission Dolores neighborhood. Residents last week said they pooled their funds to keep drug users from having a space to shoot up as they camp out overnight,” adds Fox.
Director Mohammed Nuru claims the rocks “were not big enough” and were being moved off the sidewalks and into the streets.
The city’s ‘Coalition on Homeless’ praised the move on social media, writing “They should remove all the anti-homeless design and hostile architecture from the rest of the city while they’re at it — most of which are *City-sanctioned.*”
#BREAKING: DPW is currently removing the boulders from Clinton Park.
They should remove all the anti-homeless design and hostile architecture from the rest of the city while they're at it — most of which are *City-sanctioned.*
— Coalition on Homelessness (@TheCoalitionSF) September 30, 2019
Original story: September 24, 2019
The homeless crisis sweeping California took a turn for the worse this week, with neighborhoods in San Francisco installing “boulders” on city streets to keep transients from erecting tent cities.
“A residential side street in San Francisco now resembles a scene out of the rocky West after a group of neighbors banded together to place about two dozen boulders along the sidewalk to try and deter homeless people from camping out amid the city’s ongoing crisis,” reports Fox News.
“They’ll shoot up and stay overnight,” neighbor David Smith-Tan told KTVU. “A bunch of my neighbors, we all chipped in a few hundred dollars and I guess this is what they came up with.”
“Similar landscaping measures have been implemented in other parts of the city. The California Department of Transportation has put rocks in an open space off Bayshore Boulevard to deter encampments, while the Eureka Valley-Harvey Milk Branch of the San Francisco Public Library – in the same neighborhood – has made design choices that are perceived as anti-homeless, according to KTVU,” adds Fox.
Experts say San Francisco’s homeless population is up more than 30% in 2019.
Read the full report at Fox News.