Posts Tagged ‘homelessness’

William Shuttleworth, 71, of Newburyport, Massachusetts walked across the country for over three months. He told NBC 7’s Lauren Coronado he did it all for U.S. veterans.

Shuttleworth left Massachusetts on May 15 and arrived at his last stop in San Diego on Sunday.

An Air Force veteran himself, Shuttleworth said he wanted to raise awareness for veteran’s issues like suicide, healthcare and homelessness.

“To know that you can still do this at my age of 71 and do this for veterans… It’s pretty emotional,” Shuttleworth said. “It’s pretty honoring to be able to do this.”

His journey took him 3,600 miles or 10 million steps across the country. He said he wore out five pairs of shoes along the way.

Shuttleworth claimed the only items he needed for the trip were a 28-pound backpack with two changes of clothes and a tent.

“It was some tough times once I got to Blythe and El Centro. It was 114 degrees a couple days. It can melt you.”

“On the average day I burned about 7,000 calories. That’s a plate of lasagna, nine by 13. I can eat that every day and lose weight,” Shuttleworth joked.

When asked why he made the journey, he said, “Veterans were willing to put their life on the line for every breath of fresh air that we have. Don’t you think that’s worth a lot?”

As Shuttleworth finished his walk in San Diego, he was greeted by supporters and veterans from all over the U.S.

Shuttleworth added, “I can’t let these people down now. I have a mission to accomplish and I’m not going to let it go. I probably won’t walk across America again, but I can do a lot more by continuing my advocacy.”

William Shuttleworth said his next big project is to create a non-profit organization focused on veterans and homelessness.

Shuttleworth’s website has more information about how to support his cause: https://vetsdontforgetvets.com/


Maria Haverstock, a participant in the Oakland study, became homeless at 58 when she could not find work after leaving an abusive partner.

When Serggio Lanata moved to San Francisco in 2013, he was stunned by its sprawling tent cities. “Homelessness was everywhere I looked,” he says. Lanata, a neurologist at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), was also struck by similarities in the behaviour of some older homeless people and patients he had treated for dementia in the clinic. Now, years later, he is embarking on a study that will examine homeless adults for early signs of Alzheimer’s disease and other degenerative brain disorders to better understand the interplay between these conditions and life on the street.

The work, which is set to begin next month, ties into an ongoing effort by researchers at UCSF to understand the biological effects of homelessness in older people. Since 2013, a team led by Margot Kushel, director of the university’s Center for Vulnerable Populations, has followed a group of about 350 older homeless adults in Oakland, California, to determine why this group ages in hyper-speed. Although the participants’ average age is 57, they experience strokes, falls, visual impairment and urinary incontinence at rates typical of US residents in their late 70s and 80s.

The research has drawn attention from politicians, economists and health-care providers across the country who are struggling to help the homeless and reduce their numbers. Although homelessness is a global problem, the situation in California is particularly acute. Nearly 70% of the 130,000 people without homes in the state are considered to be ‘unsheltered’, living on the streets or in locations unfit for human habitation, compared with just 5% in New York City. In the San Francisco Bay Area — California’s wealthy technology hub, which includes Silicon Valley — roughly 28,200 people are homeless.


Homeless encampments, like this one in Oakland, California, are a familiar site in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The United States’ homeless population is also greying: rising housing prices in many areas have increased the rate of homelessness among ‘baby boomers’ born between 1954 and 1964. But many hospitals, police and homeless shelters are unprepared to deal with the special needs of an ageing homeless population. “I hear from shelter providers, ‘Gosh, we are set up for people who use drugs but we have no idea how to manage dementia’,” Kushel says. By understanding how homelessness can accelerate ageing, her team hopes to identify ways to curb suffering and save governments money.

“This crisis is upon us,” says Dennis Culhane, a social scientist at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. “A lot of money will be spent on this population. We can draw upon Margot’s data and learn how to spend that money wisely — or else we’ll just spend and still have lots of human misery.”

He and his colleagues estimate that Los Angeles, California, will spend $621 million annually on emergency medical care, nursing home beds and shelters for homeless people over the age of 55 between 2019 and 2030. Their analysis suggests that the city could reduce its spending by $33 million per year if it provided homes to elderly people who lack them.

A closer look

Researchers have known for decades that physical and mental health problems are prevalent among the homeless (see ‘Declining health’). But there was little systematic research on the progression and causes of their ailments in 2013, when Kushel launched a study on the life trajectories of older homeless adults in the Bay Area. Since then, 42 of the initial 350 participants have died — mainly from cancer, heart attacks and diabetes. (Earlier this year, the study enrolled another 100 people to compensate for the loss of original participants.)

Kushel and her colleagues got a boost on 1 May, when philanthropists Marc and Lynne Benioff announced that they had donated US$30 million to create a research initiative at UCSF on homelessness. Marc Benioff, who founded the San Francisco-based computing company Salesforce, says the money will support research to explore the causes of homelessness and identify ways to prevent it.

Lanata’s study, which is set to begin next month, will look for signs of debilitating brain conditions — such as dementia of the frontal and temporal lobes, which can cause behavioural changes — in at least 20 homeless adults. He and his colleagues will conduct neurological exams, which might include brain scans, on participants to learn how homelessness influences these brain disorders. People living on the streets might face several factors that can contribute to neurological disease, Lanata says, such as lack of sleep, exposure to polluted air near highways, poorly controlled diabetes, high blood pressure and alcohol abuse.

By asking study participants about their personal histories, he also hopes to learn whether neurological issues might have helped to put them on the street — perhaps by impairing their ability to work or seek government assistance. That would make sense to him, given his experience treating people with some types of dementia. “If those patients didn’t have strong family support, they would be homeless, since no one could or would care for them,” Lanata says. “They can be hard to handle.”

And Kushel has begun a new phase of her ongoing study, which will explore how the sudden stress of homelessness might trigger or exacerbate existing conditions. Many of the people in her study were over the age of 50 when they became homeless.


Kimberly Lea (left) greets Vernada Jones, who is recovering from a gunshot wound to the face. Both women are participating in the Oakland study.

Nearly half of the participants exhibit signs of extreme loneliness, which has been linked to poor outcomes in people with cancer and other diseases1. One-quarter of those in the study meet the criteria for cognitive impairment, compared with less than 10% among people over the age of 70 in the United States more generally2. And in a paper in the press, Kushel and her colleagues found that 10% of participants report being physically or sexually assaulted at least every six months.

An increasing toll

Although Culhane and other health economists have already begun to use Kushel’s findings to project how much it costs to care for the indigent, it is not clear whether politicians or the public will accept such suggestions.

California Governor Gavin Newsom included $500 million for shelters and other support facilities in his proposed $209 billion state budget for 2019–20. But in late March, San Francisco residents rapidly met their goal of raising more than $100,000 to block the construction of a homeless shelter in a wealthy, waterfront neighbourhood. And although city voters approved a plan in November 2018 to fund services for the homeless by taxing the San Francisco’s biggest companies, business groups are challenging the policy in court.

Coco Auerswald, a public-health researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, hopes that Kushel’s work and other studies of homelessness strike a moral nerve. “You judge a society on how it treats its most vulnerable,” she says. “My fear is that we will accept this as a state of affairs in our country.”

Nature 569, 467-468 (2019)

References
1.
Patanwala, M. et al. J. Gen. Intern. Med. 33, 635–643 (2018).

by Noel Kirkpatrick

Europe is struggling with homelessness. According to the 2018 report from the European Federation of National Organizations Working with the Homeless (FEANTSA), the EU is facing a homelessness crisis.

“This past year has resolutely confirmed the existence of another Europe: a Europe not merely ignored but also misunderstood, not just despised but also forgotten — a Europe of the homeless. The homeless population has increased steadily in almost all EU countries.”

One of the exceptions is Finland. The country’s dedication to helping the homeless on a national scale has resulted in the homeless population dropping from a high of 18,000 in 30 years ago to 7,000 today, with 5,000 of those in some sort of temporary lodging situation with friends or relatives.

The Nordic country has managed to do this by putting housing first. In fact, that’s the name of Finland’s program on homelessness — a policy approach it borrowed from the United States.

Housing First in the U.S.

The Housing First approach “prioritizes providing permanent housing to people experiencing homelessness, thus ending their homelessness and serving as a platform from which they can pursue personal goals and improve their quality of life,” according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness fact sheet. This approach inverts the staircase model in which a homeless person complete certain steps, like obtaining a job or going through a drug rehabilitation program, before they’re provided with housing or housing assistance.

The staircase model positions housing as the goal while Housing First treats it as the starting line. From there, the sponsoring organization or government in charge of the housing will then supply various health and social services along with case management to the residents.

Housing First has been used in the U.S. in some form since the 1980s, but it has never been implemented on a national scale — and there lies the difference.

There has been some criticism of the Housing First approach in the U.S., most notably that Housing First tends to be used in a cookie cutter fashion instead of being customized to each area’s homeless. Another criticism is that Housing First policies don’t do enough to provide the necessary support after people have entered a residence, that there isn’t enough follow-through for a Housing Second or Housing Third step.

And that’s where Finland is taking the policy name and making it its own.

Ending homelessness, not managing it

Finland has worked to reduce homelessness in earnest since 1987, reports the Christian Science Monitor. The Finnish national government, along various cities, directed resources to help the homeless. While those efforts resulted in a decline in homelessness overall, long-term homelessness was not affected. In 2008, the Finnish government launched PAAVO I, a three-year plan developed using Housing First as its organizing principle with the goal of eliminating homelessness by 2015. Along with the national government, nine cities and various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) committed to the program.

“Basically, we decided that we wanted to end homelessness, rather than manage it,” Juha Kaakinen, CEO of the Y-Foundation, an NGO that helps to provide 16,500 low-cost apartments for the homeless, told the Christian Science Monitor. (You can listen to Kaakinen talk about the group’s philosophy and the impact of that approach in the great TEDx video below. One tidbit that sums it up: The name “Y” comes from the Finnish word “yksinainen,” which means “lonely” or “single.”)

Constructing that housing was the first step in implementing the Finnish plans. PAAVO I involved the construction of 1,250 new dwellings. By the end of the PAAVO I period in 2011, 1,519 units were up and running. In addition to the housing, the units needed to supply 24/7 on-site care for residents who required it.

One example, reported by the Christian Science Monitor, is Rukkila, a housing unit just outside of Helsinki that’s home to 20 people. Each resident has a modern apartment, and there’s a communal cooking and recreational area. Apart from rules governing overnight guests — residents need permissions first — residents are allowed to do whatever they want. Substance abuse rehabilitation is encouraged but not mandatory.

One resident is Fernando. He’s lived at Rukkila for three years now.

“I am dealing with my problems here,” he told the Christian Science Monitor. “In the meantime, it’s nice to know that whatever happens I have a roof over my head no matter what.”

This sort of mentality is what the Housing First approach in Finland encourages: wraparound services that aid the residents. Another housing unit, Väinölä, operated by the Salvation Army with support from the Y-Foundation, has over 10 people on staff to help residents with therapy or professional development. Residents are encouraged to help maintain the building through cleaning and gardening, and the building hosts open houses so members of the community can understand the goals of Väinölä and so the residents can be better integrated with the surrounding community.

“For a long time we dealt with homelessness in the traditional way,” Sanna Vesikansa, the deputy mayor of Helsinki told the Christian Science Monitor. “But it’s difficult for people to work on their problems if always in the morning they have to go out in the streets and then come back at night.”

The cost and the will

The 3,500 units constructed between 2008 and 2015 under PAAVO I and PAAVO II initiatives came in at just under $328 million, but supporters say the program has paid for itself.

Vesikansa cited a 2011 study that showed Finland saved $18,500 per homeless person who received a supported rental unit thanks to a reduction in the emergency and medical services no longer needed to assist them. She maintains the savings are probably higher now than they were in 2018.

“That doesn’t cover the contribution to the economy [from] residents who moved on from supported housing and got jobs,” she added.

For Kaakinen, whether or not the policies pay for themselves was of secondary concern.

“Of course the fact that the program pays for itself is important,” Kaakinen told the Christian Science Monitor, “but beyond that, from a moral point of view, as a society which cares for all of its citizens, we didn’t think we see an alternative. This, we felt, was the way to go forward. And we did.”

The Finnish government made a concentrated and dedicated effort to end homelessness in the country. As a FEANTSA study about Housing First policies reported, “In Finland, Housing First principles were implemented widely due to a strong political will to put an end to homelessness. All levels of government, regardless of political affiliation, have actively supported this process.”

Finland’s success is spurring on other countries, particularly the U.K., to adopt Housing First approaches modeled by the Nordic nation. The U.K. government will launch pilot projects in Greater Manchester, Merseyside and West Midlands beginning in 2019, reports the BBC. The plan is to provide 1,000 homes.

“If other countries are inspired by our example, that’s all for the better,” Kaakinen said. “There is no quick fix to all situations however, we found. A solid base can provide the foundation upon which to improve the lot of the homeless, and ultimately resolve this issue.

https://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/responsible-living/stories/finland-housing-first-solving-homeless-crisis?utm_source=Weekly+Newsletter&utm_campaign=872c994f83-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_WED0206_2019&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fcbff2e256-872c994f83-40844241

San Francisco will launch a “poop patrol” in September in an effort to proactively remove the masses of homeless excrement currently turning the city’s streets brown.

The $750,000 operation is the brainchild of Mayor London Breed and Public Works director Mohammed Nuru, both of whom hope the patrol’s six dedicated staff members and two trucks will be able to locate and remove human feces from the streets before pedestrians call in complaints.

The “poop patrol” will have its work cut out — since the start of 2018, San Francisco’s 311 services received 14,597 calls complaining about piles of human and dog feces on the street, according to KGO-TV. That’s roughly 65 complaints per day.

The patrol will utilize data-driven strategies to proactively get ahead of the mess in particularly sticky areas of the city.

“We have data that shows where most of the complaints are for poop cleanup. So, the goal is to make sure we have a dedicated team and they are focusing on those particular areas where we know it’s most problematic,” Breed told KTVU.

There are about 7,500 homeless people living in San Francisco according to the city, which will spend nearly $280 million this year on housing services for the homeless.

The operation will serve as a compliment to the city’s Pit Stop public toilet program. The city allotted $1.05 million in its most recent budget to construct five additional public toilets, bringing the total Pit Stops in the city to 22. But many of the public toilets are only in operation until the late afternoon, leaving the homeless with few decent options overnight.

Breed, a Democrat who was inaugurated as the San Francisco’s mayor in July, has made frequent unannounced tours of the city’s streets to monitor their condition first-hand.

She praised the city following a tour Monday for making “important investments” in public trash cans, public toilets and expanded street cleaning teams.

But Breed acknowledged there is still much work to be done.

“I just want the city to be clean, and I want to make sure we’re providing the resources so that it can be,” she told the San Francisco Chronicle.

http://dailycaller.com/2018/08/15/san-francisco-poop-patrol/

Ever since her son disappeared almost 30 years ago, led someplace by his mental illness, Karen Bilyeu waited for him to call. She came up with theories: Maybe he witnessed a crime and was now hiding in a witness protection program. Maybe he was dead. His name was John Dean Dickens, and he was stocky and blue-eyed, with a baritone voice.

“One day, you want to think he’s alive,” the 72-year-old Cherryvale, Kansas, woman said. “The next day you don’t believe yourself.” But she remained hopeful and asked a retired police officer friend to try to find her boy.

Then, last month, Bilyeu found him.

The 54-year-old Dickens — known as J.D. — had died in May and been buried in a California grave, after the Orange County Sheriff coroner’s office mixed him up with another homeless man, Francis M. Kerrigan, who was alive. Local media covered the story, and it went viral.

At that moment, the lives of two families from California and Kansas became intertwined. They both loved an estranged, mentally ill, homeless family member, and tried to keep them close, but couldn’t. They both worried whether the men were cold or hungry or dead.

Bilyeu said she didn’t know her son was homeless until she learned of his death from the Orange County coroner’s office.

“At least he’s not suffering … not going hungry,” Bilyeu said.

Orange County officials are investigating how the mix-up happened. They plan to exhume Dickens’ body and cremate him at his family’s request.

J.D. was good at math, his younger sister, Diane Keaton, said. He would often help her with her homework, but they still bickered like siblings, she recalled, particularly when Dickens blasted Jackson Browne’s “Running on Empty.”

“That’s one reason he might have survived so long on his own: He had street smarts, he had the capability of thought,” said Keaton, 52, of Parsons, Kansas.

At 16, Dickens started to disappear and use drugs, his mother said. Shortly after, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

When he turned 18, he would leave home for months at a time but always popped back up, his family said.

“I always got frequent phone calls from him to let me know he was OK and to check on my well-being,” Bilyeu said.

J.D. began to settle down — albeit briefly — after a stint in the US Army in the 1980s, his family said.

In the late 1980s, he briefly stayed with Keaton, who was married, pregnant with her third child and living in Arkansas. But Keaton and her husband were struggling financially and their electricity was turned off, she said. They couldn’t afford to support their family and her brother.

So, J.D. left on good terms. He promised to let her know when he got settled.

“It wasn’t a big deal for him because he was used to getting up and going,” Keaton said.

J.D. made his way to Phoenix, and Bilyeu recalled having a cryptic conversation with him while he was there.

He said his car was stolen, and he knew who did it. But if he tried to recover the car, there would be trouble.

“We discussed it and we agreed, maybe the best thing was to leave it, get out the atlas and go down the road a little way,” Bilyeu said.

Again, he promised to call as soon as he got settled. That was the last time they talked.

“It’s heartbreaking, and it’s just over and over and over because you get your hopes up,” Bilyeu said. “Maybe he’ll call this birthday, and you hear nothing.”

“It’s the worst thing that could ever happen to a parent,” she said, “not knowing if (your child) is OK, if they’re hungry.”

‘My heart breaks for them’

About 15 years ago, Kerrigan was diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, said his sister, Carole Meikel, 56, of Silverado, California. She said the challenges her family and Dickens’ family faced were identical. “My heart breaks for them,” she said.

Kerrigan’s life started to unravel a few years after the diagnosis, when their mother died about a decade ago. That’s when he became homeless, Meikel said.

Meikel said her family tried to get her brother, known as Frankie, into housing, but he wanted to stay on the streets. Mostly, she said, he was good about keeping in touch, but she still feared that something would happen to him.

Mistaken identity

In May, the Kerrigan family got a call from the Orange County coroner’s office with startling news: Frankie was dead, they said.

Officials told 82-year-old Francis J. Kerrigan that they had identified his son through his fingerprints, and that they didn’t need the elder Kerrigan to identify the body, members of the Kerrigan family said.

Speaking through his lawyer, the elder Kerrigan told CNN he believed his son was dead at that point — “no question about it.” But a Kerrigan family attorney said officials had actually identified the body found outside the cellular store in Fountain Valley using an old Department of Motor Vehicles identification.

An autopsy said that man died of an enlarged heart and fluid in his lungs, KABC reported.

The Kerrigans saw the body days before a funeral on May 12, and it was tough to recognize, the station reported.

But on May 23, Frankie called his father from the home of a family friend, who had served as a pallbearer at the funeral. He was alive. Days later, the family attorney notified the coroner’s office of the mistake.

The attorney has filed notices of claims, a prelude to a lawsuit, against Orange County on behalf of the elder Kerrigan and Meikel, seeking a little more than $2 million. The court papers allege the younger Kerrigan’s civil rights were violated and the family suffered emotional distress.

‘That’s J.D. — I know it’

On May 30, Orange County officials correctly identified the body using fingerprints. About a month later, Orange County officials reached J.D.’s stepsister in Illinois, who passed a message to Bilyeau, Keaton said.

An official later told Bilyeu of her son’s death in Fountain Valley, but not about the cause of death, Keaton said.

“What upsets me and Mom … is the media knew what he died from, the (Kerrigan) family knew what he died from and the attorneys knew,” she said. “She should have told us.” Keaton said Orange County officials also didn’t mention the mix-up to her mother.

Keaton, who had seen news reports about the burial mix-up, suspected her brother may have been the misidentified body. She also noticed that a form to consent to his cremation said he died in Fountain Valley and was homeless, like the man in the news reports.

Her brother’s physical description also matched the description of the unidentified man.

She called her mother around midnight with the news. “That’s J.D. — I know it,” she said.

A Kerrigan family attorney, who knew the identity of the misidentified body, later confirmed it was her brother, Keaton said.

Soon, Bilyeu will get her son’s ashes and she may spread them at a family plot. Or she may hold onto them, and she’ll leave instructions to bury the two urns together when she’s cremated.

“He and I have always been so close,” she said.

Lives of families intertwined in homeless men’s burial mix-up

by Matt Hickman

Sprawling and largely suburban in character, San Jose — highly affluent de facto capital of California’s Silicon Valley — is home to one of the nation’s most well-educated, socially progressive, ethnically diverse and highest paid populaces. It’s also blessed with beautiful weather, a fabulous park system and a low crime rate for a city of its size. Everything is hunky-dory, all sunshine and Dionne Warwick songs, in the well-heeled epicenter of America’s busiest tech hub.

Except that it’s not.

Like its (technically smaller) neighbor to the north, San Francisco, the third most populous city in California struggles with exorbitant housing costs, severe income inequality and a homelessness crisis that shows no signs of abating.

Yes, there are homeless people in the Silicon Valley. And way more than you might imagine.

As reported by the Mercury News citing 2014 statistics released by the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development, San Jose and greater Santa Clara County have the fourth largest homeless population in the United States. With an estimated 4,063 homeless residents, San Jose has the nation’s third largest population of chronically homeless residents and the nation’s fifth largest population of homeless veterans.

In total, 69 percent of San Jose’s homeless population are living on the streets, in cars, in abandoned buildings and in encampments. One such encampment, “The Jungle,” was one of the largest — if not the largest — homeless camps in the nation until it was cleared out in 2014. The site has since been reclaimed by nature and other, smaller settlements have popped up around the city’s secluded wooded areas along creeks and riverbeds. In lieu of overcrowded shelters or encampments, many of the Silicon Valley’s homeless sleep aboard the 22 Bus, the only 24-hour bus line in Santa Clara County.

Never a city to shy away from innovation and outside-the-box thinking, San Jose is now turning to the tiny house movement to give shelter — even if just temporarily — to those who most desperately need it.

Crisis mode meets creative thinking

A new piece of legislation authored by Assemblywoman Nora Campos and signed into law by California Gov. Jerry Brown on Sept. 27 would allow San Jose to circumvent statewide building, health and safety codes that would otherwise impede the creation of garden shed-sized standalone dwellings. In lieu of abiding by state regulations, city officials will adopt their own unique set of building regulations that enable the construction and distribution of homeless-geared tiny houses.

The law, which will be valid for five years at which point its impact will be assessed, can only be enacted if San Jose declares a “shelter crisis” — and it already has.

When the law goes into effect in January of next year, San Jose will be the first city in California to officially embrace tiny houses as a means of combating homelessness.

Speaking to the Mercury News, Ray Bramson, the city’s homeless response manager, notes that the tiny houses, so en vogue with middle-class downsizers and flexibility-seeking Millenials, would serve as a sort of “temporary stopping point” while the city constructs 500 affordable apartment units over the next several years.

“This law really is the first of its kind,” Bramson tells the Mercury News. “It will allow us to create bridge housing opportunities — a stable place people can live and stay while they’re waiting to be placed in a permanent home.”

Tiny houses with a big impact

San Jose will soon launch a competition seeking designs for the diminutive housing units. The emphasis, according to the Mercury News, will be on “innovative features, cost effectiveness and replicability.”

The legislation, Assembly Bill 2176, dictates that single-person “emergency shelter cabins” must measure at least 70 square feet while standalone shelters for couple must be no less than 120 square feet. Each unit must be insulated, wired for electricity, include at least one lighting fixture and be topped with a weatherproofed roof. And this is a biggie: Each tiny house must also include a privacy lock.

Tiny houses, often bespoke and kitted out with high-tech bells and whistles, are generally in the 200 to 300-square-feet range in a non-transitional housing context. So, yes, 70 square feet is on the extremely petite side for a tiny house.

As for location, it would appear that San Jose is following in the footsteps of cities such as Austin, Texas, and Olympia, Washington, by establishing transitional micro-housing villages. Although sites have not been selected — and this may prove to be tricky part — the new law states that the tiny houses must be placed on city-owned or leased land no less than a half-acre. Each cluster of tiny houses, referred to in the bill as “emergency bridge housing communities,” would include on-site supportive services and bathroom facilities.

“It was huge for the governor to sign this because it’s outside-the-box and no one else has done it,” Assemblywoman Campos announced in a statement. “Other big cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles will be looking at what we do here. We had to do something because what we were doing wasn’t working.

It’s interesting that Campos mentions Los Angeles, a city where officials have yet to embrace the concept of tiny houses for the homeless but where private citizens have.

Such is the case of Elvis Summers, a power drill-wielding mohawked Angeleno that, in the absence of action from city officials, stepped up and decided to do something for his neighbors living on the streets of South L.A.

In 2015, Summers and a team of volunteers began constructing dozens of tiny houses, each costing about $1,200 to build. For financing, Summers launched a successful crowdfunding campaign that raised big bucks and garnered international media attention.

However, not long after the recipients of Summers’ hand-built micro-shelters began to get accustomed to sleeping with honest to goodness roofs over the heads, L.A. sanitation workers, under orders from City Hall, began an aggressive crackdown on the structures. While some were saved by Summers and temporarily moved to private property, others were impounded by the city.

Why?

It’s simple: The brightly hued tiny homes built and distributed by Summers failed to meet the very same stringent building and safety codes that San Jose will soon be smartly bypassing.

http://www.mnn.com/your-home/remodeling-design/blogs/san-jose-tackle-homelessness-tiny-houses

After a California couple called off their wedding, the bride-to-be’s family decided to turn the $35,000 extravagant event into a feast for the homeless.

The bride’s mother, Kari Duane, said Sunday that rather than cancel the reception, they invited Sacramento’s homeless for a once in a lifetime meal Saturday at the Citizen Hotel, one of the city’s finest venues.

Duane said her 27-year-old daughter called her Monday to tell her she and her fiance had decided not go through with the wedding. Soon after, the family decided to share the nonrefundable event with the less fortunate.

“Even though my husband and I were feeling very sad for our daughter, it was heartwarming to see so many people be there and enjoy a meal,” Duane said.

She said they had already paid for a reception that would have hosted 120 guests. About 90 homeless single people, grandparents and whole families with newborns showed up and enjoyed a meal that included appetizers, salad, gnocchi, salmon, and even tri-tip. Some even dressed up for the occasion.

Erika Craycraft arrived with her husband and five children.

“To lose out on something so important to yourself and then give it to someone else is really giving, really kind,” Craycraft told KCRA-TV.

Part of the wedding price tag includes a nonrefundable honeymoon, so on Sunday mother and daughter set off for Belize.

“I hope that when she looks back at this, she knows she was doing something good with a bad situation,” Duane said.