Sunday, December 31, 2017
Tuesday, December 26, 2017
California's hidden homeless: Teachers, chefs, nurses and other middle class workers living in cars in parking lots because of the state's crazy property prices
- Hundreds of people are sleeping in parking lots in areas like Santa Barbara
- Rising cost of rent and housing has forced middle class workers to take up residence in their cars to make ends meet
- Most of those sleeping rough in cars are part of the area's Safe Parking program
- It is run by the New Beginnings Counseling Center and aims to provide a secure area for the homeless to sleep in their vehicle
The rising cost of rent and housing in California is forcing residents into alternative accommodation with middle class workers taking up residence in their cars and RVs by the side of the road to make ends meet.
Hundreds of people, including nurses and chefs, are sleeping in parking lots in affluent areas like Santa Barbara as they make the most of the only homes they can afford.
Marva Ericson, who works as a nursing assistant, has been sleeping in her Kia for the past three months. She wakes up before dawn each day, showers at the local YMCA and dresses in her hospital scrubs to head to work.
Marva Ericson, who works as a nursing assistant, has been sleeping in her Kia for the past three months in parking lots around Santa Barbara, California
'I wake up and I say, 'Thank you God for keeping me safe last night, and thank you for the Safe Parking program',' the 48-year-old told the LA Times.
Like Ericson, most of the people sleeping rough in their cars are part of the area's Safe Parking program, which is run by the New Beginnings Counseling Center and aims to provide a secure area for the homeless to sleep in their vehicles.
The program has roughly 150 clients and 40 per cent of those are working but they just can't afford an apartment with the rising cost of housing.
About 35 per cent of those in the program are seniors and about 30 per cent are disabled. The majority are living out of their small cars with only 25 per cent sleeping in RVs.
Ericson ended up homeless after a series of medical set backs. She suffered a number of seizures that forced her to quit her job and was eventually diagnosed with a brain tumor.
The 48-year-old wakes up before dawn each day, showers at the local YMCA and dresses in her hospital scrubs to head to work
Kathy, 65, and Phil, 74, have been living together in their old RV after losing their condo in 2013. Kathy said she hung up Christmas lights inside the RV for the holiday season
Kathy, 65, feeds her aging Standard Poodle in her RV in a parking lot in Santa Barbara. She says she spent her career working as a paralegal and was a homeowner until 2013
Luisa Ramirez is preparing the bed to sleep in a vehicle in a church parking lot. She hurt her back working at the 99 cent store and now struggles to pay rent
Video playing bottom right...
She overcame the illness while caring for her dying mother and is now working two different jobs to make ends meet. Up until three months ago, Ericson was living in apartments for $1,000-1,600 a month but became homeless when she fell behind in rent.
Kathy, 65, and Phil, 74, have been living together in their old RV after losing their condo in 2013.
'I was always into December and making the house wonderfully warm and beautiful,' Kathy said of the holiday season. 'I've got some little lights on the ceiling of the RV and I got out my mom's old snow globe, with a music box on it.'
Santiago Geronimo, who is a chef at a high-end Santa Barbara restaurant, has been living in a Ford Explorer for three months with his girlfriend and her eighth-grade son Luis.
The Safe Parking program, which has been running for 12 years, allows clients to stay overnight in the parking lots of churches, not-for-profits and government offices.
Clients can park their cars after 7pm and need to be gone by the early morning.
In Santa Barbara alone, there are 23 parking lots currently used for the Safe Parking program.
There is also a waitlist of 40 people desperate to take part.
Kathy, 65, and Phil, 74, live together in this RV along with their aging Standard Poodle
antiago Geronimo works in the kitchen of a high-end Santa Barbara restaurant but sleeps in his Ford Explorer with his girlfriend and her eighth-grade son Luis
Phil, 74, is outside his RV paying for filtered water with quarters for his RV
Marva Ericson, 48, exits a porta potty in a parking lot in the middle of the night in Santa Barbara. She is part of a safe parking program for people living in their vehicles
Shocking scale of homelessness in downtown LA is exposed in footage showing sidewalks lined with dozens of tents in deprived area where 20,000 people live on the streets
- Three-minute LiveLeak clip shows the brutal reality of Christmas Day in the underbelly of Downtown LA
- Shot on 5th Street, 6th Steet and San Pedro in the Skid Row district, it captures life in one of the city's most notorious homeless hotspots
- Rubbish bags litter the streets and tents have been erected to shelter residents - including women and children
- Rising cost of living in California is also forcing middle class residents to live in their cars in affluent areas
Rubbish bags piled up by the pavements and littered across streets.
Tents erected in clusters where people have camped down for the night.
Dozens of directionless residents congregating by the roadside and wandering into the road.
This is what Christmas Day looked like for thousands of homeless people in the dark and dingy underbelly of Downtown Los Angeles this year.
The shocking footage - captured using a car dash camera - shows the brutal reality of life on the street for some 20,000 people in the notorious Skid Row district.
Shot on 5th Street, 6th Street and San Pedro Street, it is a stark glimpse into the day-to-day existence of some of the country's poorest citizens - including women and children.
This area of LA's central business zone is considered to be one of the most dangerous places to live in the city.
This is what Christmas Day looked like this year for thousands of homeless people in dark and dingy Skid Row - the underbelly of Downtown Los Angeles
Dash camera footage captures the brutal reality of life on the street for some 20,000 people in the notorious Skid Row district of LA's central business zone
In Skid Row - one of the notorious homeless hotspots in the area - nine toilets are shared by some 2,000 people, according to a June report titled 'No Place to Go'.
A lucky few will find food and somewhere warm to sleep at shelters and rescue missions.
But many are left to navigate the industrial sprawl and smoke alone.
The video shows rubbish bags piled up by the pavements and littered across streets, and tents erected in clusters where people have camped down for the night
Dozens of directionless residents can be seen congregating by the roadside and wandering into the road in the three-minute clip published on LiveLeak
The three-minute clip was originally published on Instagram by LA street artist Plastic Jesus then on LiveLeak by Nick Stern in the 'Citizen Journalism' video category.
It had only been live for 10 hours when it was viewed nearly 40,000 times.
In one frame of the viral footage, a man can be seen pushing a wheelchair in the middle of the road.
Another wheelchair-bound man reclines listlessly on a street corner while women file their thin-looking children through the crowds.
Makeshift canopies - often simply sheets erected on poles - are packed in tightly beside one another in endless rows.
A notorious homeless hotspot, nine toilets are shared by some 2,000 people in Skid Row, according to a June report titled 'No Place to Go'
Though ranked as one of the wealthiest nations , the US is home to some of the poorest communities in the world
The rising cost of rent and housing in California is also forcing middle class residents into alternative accommodation.
Workers end up living in their cars by the roadside and hundreds of people - including nurses and chefs - sleep in parking lots in affluent areas like Santa Barbara.
For example, nursing assistant Marva Ericson has been sleeping in her Kia for the past three months.
She showers at her local YMCA then gets dressed in her hospital scrubs for work.
The problem is so widespread that a Safe Parking Program was introduced in the area 12 years ago.
It allows clients to stay overnight in the parking lots of churches, not-for-profits and government offices.
In Santa Barbara alone, there are 23 parking lots currently used for the program.
A homeless man stands forlornly by the roadside in the Skid Row district of Los Angeles with his possessions stuffed into a trolley and shabby white bin bag
Though ranked as one of the wealthiest nations, the US is home to some of the poorest communities in the world.
The wealthiest one per cent of American households own 40 percent of the country's wealth, according to a November report by economist Edward N. Wolff.
That same one per cent of households own more wealth than the bottom 90 per cent combined, the Washington Post repor
California population grows by 300K, nearing 40 million
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California's population is approaching 40 million after growing by nearly 300,000 people during the year ending July 1, 2017, state officials reported Thursday in their annual county-by-county population update.
That puts the state's total population at 39.6 million, by far the largest in the country.
California's counties range in size from 10.3 million in Los Angeles, which is larger than most states, to tiny Alpine with just 1,141 people - nine fewer than a year ago.
Most of the population growth came from births, which outpaced deaths by 220,000. More people moved out of California than in from other U.S. states, but foreign immigration made up the difference. Total net migration added 80,000 people, according to the report by the Department of Finance.
The largest numeric increases were in the Southern California counties of Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Orange and San Bernardino, which each grew by more than 20,000 people. The biggest percentage jumps were in the Sacramento suburbs, the Inland Empire outside Los Angeles and the Central Valley.
Thirteen counties shrank, most of them sparsely populated areas in far Northern California and the Sierra Nevada range. Marin County, which includes wealthy San Francisco suburbs north of the Golden Gate Bridge, lost 161 people.
Nine counties with more than 1 million people each comprise 70 percent of the state's population. They include the cities and suburbs of Los Angeles, San Diego and Sacramento as well as Silicon Valley and the East Bay outside San Francisco.
With 880,000 people, San Francisco is the state's 12th largest county.
The devastation laid bare: Map shows the 422 square miles of destruction in California as historic wildfires continue to burn
- Newly released maps and satellite images show miles of destruction caused by historic California wildfires
- More than 700 homes have been reduced to ash and two people have been killed in blaze called Thomas Fire
- With 70mph gusts of wind still whipping up flames, the threat is far from over for state's residents
- Officials conceded it would be January 7 at the earliest before the fire is completely contained by firefighters
- Some 8,500 firefighters have been tackling the Thomas Fire, which so far has racked up costs of $130million
- The fire has raged for more than two weeks and is now one of the state's largest in California's history
- The 422-square-mile blaze still poses a threat to at least 18,000 homes and structures in the state
- Since Sunday officials say the fire has grown 1,500 acres as 104,607 people have been evacuated
The true devastation of California's historic wildfires has been laid bare in photos, maps, and satellite images showing how 422 square miles of land have been completely destroyed in the latest blaze that's still burning.
More than 8,500 fire fighters are still battling the Thomas Fire, which has become one of the state's largest wildfires in modern history burning over 270,500 acres since breaking out 15 days.
The fire is currently 45 per cent contained and is expected to burn into January, officials say. Fire crews are hoping to take advantage of a two-day window of calmer winds to battle the deadly blaze that's killed two people and destroyed more than 756 homes causing $130million in damage.
Fire spokesman Capt. Rick Crawford said earlier Monday that cooler temperatures, slightly higher humidity and light winds forecast for Monday and Tuesday will be 'critical' for firefighters hoping to make progress against the Thomas Fire.
Evacuation orders remain for swaths of Santa Barbara County, including the hillside communities of Montecito and Summerland.
The massive blaze still threatens at least 18,000 homes, while the hot, gusty winds that caused the huge flare-up and forced more evacuations over the weekend are expected to come back Wednesday.
Many celebrities have been evacuated, including Lowe, Katy Perry and Oprah Winfrey, as firefighters continue to work around the clock.
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The true devastation of California's historic wildfires has been laid bare in photos, maps, and satellite images showing how 422 square miles of land have been completely destroyed. The smoke plume over the Pacific Ocean is pictured above in a satellite image from NASA, where the red spots show where the fire is burning
Plumes of smoke continues to spew from the Thomas Fire in this image captured by the Aqua satellite provided by NASA. The red spots show the burn scars where fires are currently burning in California
The Suomi NPP satellite's VIIRS instrument captured the above image of burn scars from the massive Thomas Fire that has been raging in southern California for the past two weeks
The Suomi NPP satellite captured the 1,500 acre expansion of the Thomas Fire on early Monday morning the image above. More than 270,500 acres have burned in the blaze that started 15 days ago
A close up look at the Thomas Fire progression map is pictured. The red shows the over 11,000 acres of growth from Saturday mostly in Montecito and Santa Barbara areas. More than 104,607 people have been evacuated as of Monday
The above map shows the current evacuation zones as part of the Thomas Fire in southern California as of Monday
Fire crews are hoping to take advantage of a two-day window of calmer winds to battle the deadly and massive Thomas Fire that has become California's largest wildfire in modern history. Above Humboldt County firefighter Jimmy McHaffie, right, sprays down smoldering fire underneath the rubble of a home on Sunday evening
The blaze that broke out two weeks ago Monday still threatens thousands of homes northwest of Los Angeles and is expected to burn into January. Above heat and smoke rises from the rubble of a home that was destroyed by the Thomas Fire on Sunday afternoon
It's currently 45 per cent contained as more than 8,000 firefighters attempt to tackle it at a cost of $128million. Above Rusty Smith stands outside of his home in Flores Flats near Montecito as he appears shocked that it survived the blaze
Fire spokesman Capt. Rick Crawford says cooler temperatures, slightly higher humidity and light winds forecast for Monday and Tuesday will be 'critical' for firefighters hoping to make progress against the Thomas Fire. Above Alameda County firefighters Darryn Murphy, left, and Robert Groh, right, work on clearing out brush, on Sunday
While crews got a break from slightly calmer winds yesterday afternoon in Santa Barbara County, much of the rest of Southern California was buffeted by powerful gusts that increased the risk across the region. Above Cal Fire crews check a burned home for structural damage
On Sunday, the Behrman family gathered at dusk outside their home that was destroyed by the Thomas Fires and thanked the firefighters that were mopping up residual heat in the rubble
Michael Behrman and his wife Sonia, take one last look at their home that was destroyed by the Thomas Fire, before packing up and leaving for the night Sunday
On Saturday morning Rob Lowe had posted a photo of the flames approaching his house with the words 'pray for Santa Barbara'
A firefighter puts out hotspots on a smoldering hillside in Montecito, California as strong winds blow smoke and embers inland
A US Forest Service Hot Shot Crew from Ojai head down a fire break to work off East Camino Cielo as efforts to battle the Thomas Fire continue near Santa Barbara on Sunday
Fire engines provide structure protection at the historic San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito on SaturdayCalifornia Edison is considering turning off electricity to some parts of Malibu.
Utility spokesman Paul Griffo says the coastal city is particularly vulnerable if strong Santa Ana winds continue to batter the area.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection's wildfire list only stretches back to 1932 meaning the largest on record is the 2003 Cedar fire which scorched through 273,246 acres, killing 15 people.
Though, according to the LA Times, the 1889 Santiago Canyon fire is considered the biggest - burning 300,000 acres.
Tragically, the Thomas Fire has already claimed two lives.
A five-county funeral procession was held for a firefighter killed while battling the colossal wildfire that's still threatening homes in Southern California.
An autopsy found Cory Iverson died from burns and smoke inhalation.
Firefighters and police stood at attention as Iverson's body left the medical examiner's office in Ventura County shortly after 10 am Sunday.
The procession wound through Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego counties.
Firefighters standing guard and providing structure protection at a home off Gibraltar Road watch as a bucket full of water is dropped from a helicopter onto a hot spot nearby as efforts to battle the Thomas Fire continue near Montecito
A Bombardier 415 Superscooper making a water drop on hot spots along the hillside east of Gibraltar Road
Firefighting crew cut a line among homes at the Thomas Fire on December 16, 2017 in Montecito, California
A wind-driven hotspot fire burns on the west side below Gibraltar Road as smoke from a wildfire fills the air
Flames advance towards a large fire break near homes along Gibraltar Road north of Santa Barbara, California
Singer Katy Perry tweeted on Saturday that her family were evacuating from the blaze.
'Woke up to wish my mom a happy 70th birthday today to find my brother evacuating them from the insane #Thomas Fire in Santa Barbara County that has kicked up once again... praying for the firefighters & first responders that are fighting it back as best they can. Love you SB,' she wrote.
Smoke from a wildfire drifts towards Santa Barbara Airport in the distance in Santa Barbara
A wind speed indicator held by a US Forest Service fire fighter on Gibraltar Road at the Fork of Cold Spring Trail, shows just how fast and varied the speed of the wind is blowing down the canyon
Firefighters from Kern County, California, work to put out hot spots during a wildfire Saturday
A funeral procession from Ventura to San Diego County was held for fallen firefighter Cory Iverson (pictured) on Sunday
Los Angeles city firefighters stand to attention and salute the Cal-Fire funeral procession of fallen Cal Fire San Diego engineer Cory Iverson Sunday
Maria Shriver shared a photo to Twitter of the blaze with the caption: 'From my friends in Santa Barbara. Continued prayers are needed for those battling fires and those in harms way.'
Thousands of firefighters tried Sunday to shield coastal communities from the blaze.
'Everything's holding really well,' fire information officer Lisa Cox said. 'Thousands of homes have been saved.'
While gusts had eased somewhat, even lower intensity winds were still dangerous, she warned. Television news footage showed at least one structure burned on property in the wealthy enclave of Montecito, and authorities said damage assessments could take days.
Some evacuation orders were lifted to the east in Ventura County, where the blaze erupted, and officials reported making progress protecting the inland agricultural city of Fillmore.
Maria Shriver shared a photo to Twitter of the blaze with the caption: 'From my friends in Santa Barbara. Continued prayers are needed for those battling fires and those in harms way'
Singer Katy Perry tweeted on Saturday that her family were evacuating from the blaze
Katy Perry is pictured left with her mom Mary Perry Hudson and dad Keith Hudson. She is seen right with her brother David Hudson. Her family have been evacuated from the blaze
Ellen DeGeneres shared her thanks for the emergency services on Twitter, as seen above
Jim Holden returned to his neighborhood in the city of Ventura to find his home still standing amid widespread destruction.
He told KABC-TV that at the height of the inferno, when it appeared his house would be lost, firefighters risked their own safety to retrieve his belongings.
'They broke in and they saved my family photos,' Holden said, wiping away tears.
Mike and Dana Stoneking lost their Ventura home while many of their neighbors' properties were spared. The Stonekings planned to rebuild and found some solace after retrieving Mike's wedding ring from the ashes.
The massive blaze called the Thomas Fire crested a peak just north of Montecito, where evacuation orders remained in effect.
The cause of the Thomas Fire remains under investigation. So far, firefighting costs have
One Tree Hill actress Sophia Bush posted a moving message on Instagram alongside a frightening post of flames torching the Californian hillside.
One Tree Hill actress Sophia Bush posted a moving message on Instagram alongside a frightening post of flames torching the Californian hillside.
She said: 'My heart is breaking for California. The landscapes. The lives and memories, built over decades and generations, that are woven into the homes being destroyed.
'The wild animals that have nowhere to go. It's tragic.
'It hurts even more to witness, knowing that science has predicted these worsening tragedies.
'And knowing that some want to play God and peddle lies that science isn't real, depending on which way you vote. Science just is. Fact.
'Science, and in particular climate science, should be our number one bipartisan prior
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