Homelessness

Herman Ware sits at a small, wobbly table inside a large van that's been converted into a mobile health clinic. The van is parked on a trash-strewn, dead-end street in downtown Atlanta where homeless residents congregate.

Ware is here for a seasonal flu shot.

"It might sting," he says, thinking back on past shots.

Ware grimaces slightly as the nurse injects his upper arm.

Tensions are growing between homeless advocates and the Trump administration, which is in the process of crafting a new strategy to deal with rising homelessness in California and other states.

Advocacy groups are concerned that the plan will rely on more vigorous law enforcement and private market incentives rather than on efforts to house homeless individuals and provide supportive services — a policy known as Housing First that has been embraced across the country over the last decade.

City officials in Las Vegas have passed a controversial law making it illegal to sleep or camp in downtown and residential public areas as long as there are open beds available at city homeless shelters.

Before the vote, protesters swarmed the Las Vegas City Council chambers with signs that read, "Poverty is not a crime," and chanting, "Housing, not handcuffs!"

Along a big, commercial street in Los Angeles' North Hollywood area, near a row of empty storefronts, about half a dozen motor homes sat parked on a recent morning. Inside one of them, 67-year-old Edith Grays and her husband watched TV with the door open. Grays said they'd been there a few days, despite a two-hour parking limit.

"Thank God they're not bothering us right now," she said.

Lenora LaVictoire

Oklahoma City’s Day Shelter for people experiencing homelessness recently got an up-do. Rooted Barber + Shop opened a new in-house shop at the shelter on July 22nd.

Bryan Moore has been cutting people’s hair at the shelter for several years, but on July 22nd he gave his first cut in an actual barber’s chair.

OKLAHOMA CITY HOMELESS ALLIANCE

Each year the Oklahoma City Homeless Alliance conducts a point-in-time count of people experiencing homelessness. It’s a census of those in shelters, transitional housing, meal sites and living on the street.

This year volunteers counted 1,273 homeless adults and children in Oklahoma City, an eight percent increase from 2018.

The Oklahoma City Homeless Alliance says the reason for this year's increase could have been cold weather, which caused more people to seek shelter and be counted. The count was conducted on January 24, 2019.

Homelessness is up in Los Angeles County for the third time in four years. Numbers released Tuesday show nearly 59,000 people living on the streets or in vehicles — a 12% increase over 2018. That's despite two voter-approved tax hikes and more than $600 million spent last year by the city and county on social services and new supportive housing.

Rashema Melson was among the more than 1,750 undergraduates who received diplomas from Georgetown University last weekend.

Before she attended college on a full scholarship, Melson graduated at the top of her class as the valedictorian of Anacostia High School in Washington, D.C.

She was also living with her mother and brothers at D.C. General, a family homeless shelter that shut down last year.

Relly Brown's ground-floor apartment near Los Angeles' Koreatown neighborhood still resembles the hotel room it once was: four walls, no kitchen and a mattress that takes up half the floor. A shade is drawn over the only window, keeping it dim and reasonably cool on a warm spring afternoon.

"I'm living in a box," said Brown, 26, who was placed here in December through a program called rapid rehousing, which provides short-term rental vouchers to use on the private market. Typically, the subsidies cover security deposits and the first three to six months of rent.

More young people are leaning into the rental or sharing economy — owning less of everything and renting and sharing a whole lot more. Housing, cars, music, workspaces. In some places, such as Los Angeles, this rental life has gone to an extreme.

Steven T. Johnson, 27, works in social media advertising and lives in Hollywood. He spends most of his days using things he does not own.

He takes a ride-share service to get to the gym; he does not own a car. At the gym, he rents a locker. He uses the gym's laundry service because he does not own a washing machine.

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