Homelessness in the USA: A Terminal System Crisis

In the previous two pieces about the deflationary character of the current U.S. / global economy we attempted to show that the economy is entering a period that you might think of as perma-recession, or a deflationary downward spiral. The basis for this down-spiral action is the achievement of “peak inequality,” wherein the wealth of the global 1% now completely dwarfs the total accumulated wealth of the bottom 50%. This creates very stark contrasts throughout the global economy, one of which is the United States homelessness crisis. We’ll call this crisis a “terminal” crisis because the word indicates a kind of final, “endgame” situation. You may read the background narrative on this debt-default, deflationary downward spiral at these links:
Part I is here
Part II

this will be an ongoing series on the homelessness crisis, which we think will be an existential crisis in the USA, confronting anyone elected to federal offices or State Legislatures and Governors’ offices in 2020. This is not a crisis easily whisked-away.


Exactly What Is Happening to Denver’s Urban Camping Ban?
Conor McCormick-Cavanagh | January 2, 2020 | 5:57am

For the first time since its inception in 2012, the city’s unauthorized-camping ordinance, commonly referred to as the urban camping ban, is on life support. Denver County Court Judge Johnny Barajas ruled the ban unconstitutional on December 27, finding that it violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.

But just because the ban, which prohibits people from sleeping on public property, was declared unconstitutional, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily dead. In fact, an upcoming appeal by lawyers for the City of Denver ensures that the ban remains in effect. And how that plays out in the coming months will be complicated.

On December 30, lawyers from the Denver City Attorney’s Office filed a notice of appeal of Barajas’s ruling, a legal formality that precedes a formal appeal. The appeal itself will come in the next few weeks, and it could take up to a year, if not longer, to be decided, according to Andy McNulty, the lawyer from the Killmer, Lane & Newman law firm who took on the city in the case.

Full Story on Westword, Denver Independent Voice


These tent communities provide safety and support!’

NeedaBee-SarahMenefee photo
[Insert: Sarah Menefee photo]
Nov/Dec 2019 by People’s Tribune

Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman, in a special report on the growing number of people made homeless in California and across the country, and the organized resistance springing up everywhere, focused on one independent tent community in East Oakland that is under attack and threat of removal by the city. She interviewing several of its residents. Below are parts of two of the questions answered by well-known organizer Anita ‘Needa Bee’ De Asis:

Amy Goodman: Do these encampments provide community? Do they provide safety?

Anita ‘Needa Bee’ De Asis: Absolutely. They provide community. They provide support. Homeless folks are some of the most resilient people, most resourceful people, most creative people you’ll ever meet. And the little stability and support and security that people have been able to build for themselves when there is nothing is amazing. And so when the city comes in and knocks these encampments down, they’re literally knocking people who are on like one leg up, down on both knees. I think what’s also interesting is with Trump just coming to California and making his big grandstanding about herding everyone and put them in government-run camps… but if you look at what they’re signing into law here, or actually doing, it’s the same exact thing that Trump is threatening to do!

Amy: Right now when it comes to San Francisco and Oakland, what do you think would be the most important thing to happen?

Anita: I think on an immediate level, releasing public lands where people can park their cars, or people can build homes—like safe homes, like those—to kind of weather this crisis and weather this storm, until, like I said, the permanent housing is actually built, which isn’t going to happen immediately.

This is a disaster. And if it was a fire, if it was an earthquake, the response would be so quick. But this is an economic disaster. This is a cultural disaster. This is a housing disaster. But they’re not treating it like all the other natural disasters, and they need to.

The People’s Tribune welcomes articles and art from those who are engaged in the struggle to build a new society that is of, by and for the people. Unsigned articles reflect the views of the editorial board. Bylined articles reflect the views of the authors. Please credit the source when sharing materials: © 2019 People’s Tribune. We rely on our readers to fund and distribute the paper. Donate at http://peoplestribune.org or send to PT, PO Box 3524, Chicago, IL 60654-3524.

Kriz: Another 206 Homeless People Died This Year in Orange County Waiting on Us

Homeless-Santa Ana.PNG

By FATHER DENNIS KRIZ December 22, 2019

Cheryl ADAMS • Rodolfo AGREDANO • Carlos AGUILAR • Jose AGUIRRE • Randolph AGUIRRE • Robert AIELLO • Marcos ALARCON • Michael ALMASY • Lucas ALPIZAR • Donald AMES II • Infant Female ANDERSON • Neparteria BAILEY • Allyson BARBER • Jose BARRIENTOS • Josephine BECERRA • Hamid BEHRAZFAR • Pilar BELTRAN-KNIGHTS • Susan BERGER • Michael BERGLER • Julian BERNAL • Joseph BERON • Leon BICKETT • Philip BLUM • Darryl BOSSIER • Jason BOWEN • Andrew BRAFF • Paul BRAZER • Thomas BRYANT • Landon BUCHANAN • Cho BUI • Liberato CABALLERO • Michelle CAMARILLO • Mark CAMPETT • Jose CARRERA BARBOSA • Walter CARTER • Fernando CERVANTES • Andres CHAN • Theresa CHERRY • Kosol CHIM • Laura CITORES • Tyron COETZEE • Todd COLEMAN • Mitchell COPELAND • John CRASS • Leonardo CUELLAR • Infant female CUEVAS • Michael CZAPLINSKI • Vicente DE LEON • Terri DELAO • Mayra DELFIN CARRETO • Robert DEYA • Sherry DIMICHELE • Randall DODD • Catherine DODSON • Jose DOMINGUEZ MARTINEZ • Shelley DUPRAY • Virgil DWYER • Nichole EASTIN

(see full story on Voice of OC and consider hitting their “Donations” box too)


HoustonPoliceForceHomelessHouston Police called in a large garbage truck and forced the homeless to throw away their food, pillows and other items. (Photo: Cha’Mira L. Keener/Facebook)

Dec. 28, 2019 by Derrick Broze

Houston, TX (ANALYSIS) — Local activists attempting to hand out food and gifts were shocked on Thursday afternoon when Houston police forced the homeless to throw away the donations.  Around 1 pm on Thursday,  several individuals met in downtown Houston to distribute plates of hot food, blankets, and other supplies to the city’s growing homeless population. Soon after, Houston police arrived on the scene of two different intersections where the homeless advocates were giving out gifts and food.

According to witness testimony posted on Facebook, the police instructed the homeless to throw away everything they had been given. “Not only were the police called, but they brought a large waste management truck and are forcing the homeless to throw away their food, pillows and other items,” reads one post.

A video from an ABC13 social media correspondent shows the police and trash vehicle parked under a freeway while a man narrates the situation. “Covers, Blankets, different things like that, pillows. They are throwing all of that away,” he says.

Shere Dore, a local activist who works with several organizations, including Food Not Bombs Houston, was involved in the food sharing and says the throwing away of the gifts was uncalled for.

I’m highly disturbed because lots of these items were not only given to the homeless by the community, but some of the blankets and jackets were literally purchased by homeless advocates like myself,” Dore told Anti-Media. “HPD and the City of Houston are taking our cash and throwing it in the trash. At what point will our police stand up and say that this is wrong to do to people?

Only moments before throwing away the gifts, the Houston police stopped Dore and a fellow advocate. Dore said her friend was taking photos of the police vehicle when the officer began questioning them, claiming someone had called and complained about people feeding the homeless. In a video posted on Facebook, Dore tells the officer she will feed the homeless whether it is legal or not.
Read the whole story on Mint Press News

The Dcist,  Dec 20, 11:57 am
81 People Died Without Housing In D.C. In 2019. On A Bitterly Cold Night, Mourners Remembered Them
Chelsea Cirruzzo

On frigid Thursday night, a crowd marched down 14th Street toward Freedom Plaza. They were of mixed ages and lived experiences, including an elderly veteran in a U.S. Army hat, young men passing handwarmers between each other, a handful of children in puffy jackets, and one trio of women with canes, arms linked together.

Each of them carried a small white sign with simple black lettering.

The signs were names: Alice Carter, age 35. J.W., age 29. Ronnie Higgs, age 64. One simply said anonymous. Another read Jane Doe.

With their signs held aloft, the group chanted: “Housing is a human right! Fight! Fight! Fight!”

Despite the signs and the chants, they weren’t so much a protest as they were a funeral procession. At the head of a group, four men carried an empty casket adorned with plastic candles.

It was a mass funeral for the 81 people who died in 2019 while experiencing homelessness in D.C., according to a count maintained by advocates.

People for Fairness Coalition, a housing advocacy organization made up of people who have experienced or are experiencing housing instability, has hosted the overnight vigil for the past seven years. Last year, they mourned 54 deaths.

Read the whole story on The Dcist

December 17, 2019

Redding Mayor Moves to Create Concentration Camps for Homeless Folks
by streetsheet 
A publication of the Coalition on Homelessness

Redding, California — On November 19, 2019, Mayor Julie Winter of Redding, CA sent a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom asking him to sign a  State of Emergency classification that would allow the city to create a megashelter for homeless people that would essentially operate as a concentration camp. In an interview with Jefferson Public Radio that same week, Winter said, “it’s not a facility you could just leave because you wanted to.” Although all other City Council members signed the letter, when further interviewed, they were unaware of the comments that Mayor Winter had made and distanced themselves from her comments. 

The proposed “shelter” has been met with strong resistance from unhoused folks and advocates. In a 2019 report produced by The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, the idea proposed in Redding was listed as one of the most egregious in the country. Eric Tars, legal director of the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty, questioned the legality of this “solution” put forward, noting it could violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

Shasta County is home to the town of Redding. The NorCal Point in Time Count data shows Shasta County has 827 unhoused individuals as of 2019, the largest unhoused population among the seven county region. The Carr Fire of last year, which ravaged and burned nearly 1,079 homes, lead to displacement and homelessness for some individuals. This is reflected in the 19.5% increase in homelessness from 2018 to 2019. 

Despite the fact homelessness has increased dramatically in Redding, the shelter system capacity has not. Within Shasta County, the largest shelter run by Good News Rescue Mission has the capacity to sleep 307 individuals with more beds for men available. The other shelter option, One SAFE Place, is specific to domestic violence survivors, and it can accommodate up to 50 people. The PIT data shows that over 50% of the population experiencing homelessnes, totaling 434 individuals, are unsheltered. While Mayor Winter’s is calling for the criminalization and incarceration of unhoused folks, Redding and the larger Shasta County needs to re-examine how the system in place is failing people. 

The whole story is on Street Sheet

Homeless Persons Vigil Remembers Those Lost on S.F. Streets

Last year’s community count marked 240 deaths — significantly more than the city’s count. But the two methods serve different purposes.
by Ida Mojadad • 12/16/2019 5:31 pm – Updated 12/23/2019 4:07 pm

Melanie DeMore, musical director for artist collaborative Skywatchers, leads people in song as they carry banners with the names of people who died during the past year to a vigil at City Hall on Friday, Dec. 21, 2018. (Photo by Kevin N. Hume)

Even among people who know and work with San Francisco’s homeless population, death can be a surprise.

Kelley Cutler, an organizer with the Coalition on Homelessness, helps put together a community count for the annual homeless death memorial and regularly comes across names of people she thought were alive or has difficulty remembering their passing. One of those is Neil Taylor, a veteran whose walker was trashed during the city’s 2016 Super Bowl encampment sweeps, and who died in April 2017. “He was like my buddy,” says Cutler, who regularly checked on him during outreach.

Taylor is one of nearly 400 people who died between 2016 and 2018 while living on the street, according to a city report released earlier this year. A vigil to honor people who experienced homelessness, going on for more than 25 years, is planned for Dec. 19 starting at 6 p.m., preceded by a procession to City Hall at 4 p.m.  As Cutler continues to tally up the count for this year, she remains on the lookout for people she worked with as kids and who are now adults.  

Homelessness really impacts someone’s lifespan,” Cutler says. “Just think of the impact sleep deprivation has. There’s so many levels of trauma and different health impacts that someone’s experiencing.”

That’s why Cutler makes a point to count people living in Single Room Occupancy (SRO) units and others who have experienced homelessness but may not anymore. By the community’s count for December 2017 to December 2018, they counted 240 deaths while the city tallied 135.
(Read the whole story on SF Weekly)

No FEMA camps for the homeless!

Editor’s note:
Below are comments about Trump’s threats against California’s homeless. The outcry has been clear and wide against this latest threat—to round up homeless people, destroy their tents and tent communities, and put them away in federally-run camps, away from downtowns and resources. Talk of sweeping and incarcerating people in shutdown military bases is sparking outrage and resistance.

I’ve said it a million times Trump’s next target is the homeless. … Sprung tents in Sacramento … the last shelter had barbed wire like prison and awful conditions, more people outside then inside. … Can’t deport the homeless but U.S.A. will hide its dirty secret instead of using the resource$ to provide resources. They will use the resources to hide and dehumanize these people. Don’t think it can happen to you? Think again no one is secure … it can happen to anyone. Perfect example Campfire victims in Sacramento and Marysville camps who during the fire were provided for taken care of … until it was no longer the big story. … Stop throwing people away. … Most Americans are one check away.

Crystal Rose Sanchez, The Sacramento Homeless Union and the Poor People’s Campaign


The President of the United States has threatened homeless people. He has threatened their possessions. He has threatened their ability to care for themselves as they choose to. He is threatening to round them up and force them into government-backed facilities. He is not issuing an executive order for the needed housing. He is not funding the needed housing in a budget. He is going to raze our independent camps instead.

Our founding members all had the same fear. FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] camps. It was a topic of discussion every day when we were doing the 9-month occupation of the Federal Reserve. That occupation had many hundreds of homeless people stopping through. All of them joined in the discussion and agreed it was coming.

When we formed ‘First they came for the homeless’ we were very deliberate about our name and image messaging. We were trying to send a warning and a wake-up call. The truth is, homeless, seniors, and disabled are not profitable. They are useless eaters. They will be the first to go into a warehouse full of other useless eaters.

A billionaire who has never needed a thing in his life said he was going to raze homeless camps. Inherited money made him. Not ability. Not life challenges that normal people experience. Not our reality. His daddy’s money.

He has started us down the path that leaves us no choice but to put a call to action out. Make and display signs saying “No FEMA Camps for the Homeless”. It’s easy and quick. If enough people do it and spread the idea, perhaps the President will back the hell off.

Mike Zint, Co-founder “First they came for the homeless,” San Francisco Bay Area, CA

The People’s Tribune welcomes articles and art from those who are engaged in the struggle to build a new society that is of, by and for the people. Unsigned articles reflect the views of the editorial board. Bylined articles reflect the views of the authors. Please credit the source when sharing materials: © 2019 People’s Tribune. We rely on our readers to fund and distribute the paper. Donate at http://peoplestribune.org or send to PT, PO Box 3524, Chicago, IL 60654-3524.



Police presence is a constant feature of homeless life. Sadly, they’re usually not there to “protect and serve” homeless folks but to tear up their camps and throw away their possessions.