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California's economy is booming. Yet, there are tens of thousands of people living on the streets and not benefitting at all. There are as many homeless people in Greater Los Angeles as in the whole of Germany. Michael J. Diehl is one of them. The Texan-born Michael J. Diehl, aka MJ, has lived in a tent in California for four years. Instead of an apartment, he has a guitar and a dog. He used to be a deep sea diver in the Gulf of Mexico, working on oil rigs and pipelines and earning thousands of dollars. Then he was shot in the head. The bullet is still there today. As a consequence, he lost his health, his work, his family and his home. Now, years later, he has created another family and home for himself on the banks of the Santa Ana River. But the local authorities are threatening to move them on. MJ and many others are ready to put up a fight. _______ Subscribe to DW Documentary: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCW39zufHfsuGgpLviKh297Q?sub_confirmation=1# For more information visit: http://www.dw.com/en/tv/docfilm/s-3610 Instagram https://www.instagram.com/dwdocumentary/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dw.stories DW netiquette policy: http://www.dw.com/en/dws-netiquette-policy/a-5300954
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Elvis Summers crowdfunded $100,000 to build dozens of tiny homes. City officials looking to pass a $2 billion housing plan tried to shut him down. Subscribe to our YouTube channel: http://youtube.com/reasontv Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Reason.Magazine/ Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/reason Subscribe to our podcast at iTunes: https://goo.gl/az3a7a Reason is the planet's leading source of news, politics, and culture from a libertarian perspective. Go to reason.com for a point of view you won't get from legacy media and old left-right opinion magazines. ---------------- Each night, tens of thousands of people sleep in tent cities crowding the palm-lined boulevards of Los Angeles, far more than any other city in the nation. The homeless population in the entertainment capital of the world has hit new record highs in each of the past few years. But a 39-year-old struggling musician from South LA thought he had a creative fix. Elvis Summers, who went through stretches of homelessness himself in his 20s, raised over $100,000 through crowdfunding campaigns last spring. With the help of professional contractors and others in the community who sign up to volunteer through his nonprofit, Starting Human, he has built dozens of solar-powered, tiny houses to shelter the homeless since. Summers says that the houses are meant to be a temporary solution that, unlike a tent, provides the secure foundation residents need to improve their lives. "The tiny houses provide immediate shelter," he explains. "People can lock their stuff up and know that when they come back from their drug treatment program or court or finding a job all day, their stuff is where they left it." Each house features a solar power system, a steel-reinforced door, a camping toilet, a smoke detector, and even window alarms. The tiny structures cost Summers roughly $1,200 apiece to build. LA city officials, however, had a different plan to address the crisis. A decade after the city's first 10-year plan to end homelessness withered in 2006, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced in February a $1.87 billion proposal to get all LA residents off the streets, once and for all. He and the City Council aim to build 10,000 units of permanent housing with supportive services over the next decade. In the interim, they are shifting funds away from temporary and emergency shelters. Councilmember Curren Price, who represents the district where Summers's tiny houses were located, does not believe they are beneficial either to the community or to the homeless people housed in them. "I don't really want to call them houses. They're really just boxes," says Price. "They're not safe, and they impose real hazards for neighbors in the community." Most of Summers's tiny houses are on private land that has been donated to the project. A handful had replaced the tents that have proliferated on freeway overpasses in the city. Summers put them there until he could secure a private lot to create a tiny house village similar to those that already exist in Portland, Seattle, Austin, and elsewhere. "My whole issue and cause is that something needs to be done right now," Summers emphasizes. But the houses, nestled among dour tent shantytowns, became brightly colored targets early this year for frustrated residents who want the homeless out of their backyards. Councilmember Price was bombarded by complaints from angry constituents. In February, the City Council responded by amending a sweeps ordinance to allow the tiny houses to be seized without prior notice. On the morning of the ninth, just as the mayor and council gathered at City Hall to announce their new plan to end homelessness, police and garbage trucks descended on the tiny homes, towing three of them to a Bureau of Sanitation lot for disposal. Summers managed to move eight of the threatened houses into storage before they were confiscated, but their residents were left back on the sidewalk. If the city won't devote any resources to supporting novel solutions, Summers urges officials at least to make it easier for private organizations and individuals like him to pave the way forward. The city owns thousands of vacant lots, many of which have been abandoned for decades, that could provide sites for tiny house villages or other innovative housing concepts that can have an immediate impact. "Everything that they have been doing doesn't work. It's just years of circles and bureaucratic holds and wait times," says Summers. "10, 20, 30, 40 years—where's all the housing?" Produced by Justin Monticello. Shot by Alex Manning and Zach Weissmueller. Additional footage courtesy of Elvis Summers. Music by Silent Partner, Riot, Kevin MacLeod, Audionautix, Battle of Wood, Topher Mohr and Alex Elena, The 126ers, and Elettroliti.
There is a shortage of affordable housing in every state in the country, but it's especially bad in California — where there's only one affordable housing unit for every five extremely low income households. The gap is not only pushing more and more people out onto the streets—it's also creating a new, fast-growing, and hidden class of homelessness: People who in the past would have been able to afford a room or apartment but now live in their cars by necessity. Danielle Williams is one of them. She’s a single working mother who has been living in her van with her daughter for five years. At first, it meant sleeping in dark, scarcely populated areas, and being hassled by the police. But thanks to a program called Safe Parking — a network of parking lots equipped with porta-potties and lot monitors — she can now stay in her car overnight without worrying about her safety. VICE News traveled to California to see how the new program is helping people like Danielle live a little more comfortably, and met with a government official who’s frustrated there aren’t longer term solutions to help the roughly 16,000 people in Los Angeles who now sleep in their cars. Subscribe to VICE News here: http://bit.ly/Subscribe-to-VICE-News Check out VICE News for more: http://vicenews.com Follow VICE News here: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vicenews Twitter: https://twitter.com/vicenews Tumblr: http://vicenews.tumblr.com/ Instagram: http://instagram.com/vicenews More videos from the VICE network: https://www.fb.com/vicevideo
Get more Tips here! www.destinationtips.com Are you thinking of relocating somewhere in the States? Make sure you take a look at the 12 worst places to live in the U.S. before you make any decisions about your next home base. 12. St. Louis, Missouri Over 14% of St. Louis’ population is living below the poverty line. Out of 100,000 residents, every year 35.3 are murdered, which ranks it as one of America’s most dangerous cities too. 11. Reno, Nevada Reno was the gambling capital of the US until Las Vegas was developed and “The Biggest Little City in the World” has been in economic decline ever since. Reno experiences nearly 39 annual crimes per 1,000 residents. 10. Modesto, California Despite being home to the largest winery in the world, the unemployment rate was nearly 13% in 2014. Modesto ranks number one in the country for car theft and out of 200,000 residents, up to 10,000 are reported to be gang members. 9. Oakland, California The economy in Oakland is strong with a good median household income. ($51,683.) However, home to around 50 gangs and a high violent crime rate, Oakland also suffers from high traffic congestion and poor air quality. 190% worse than the national average. 8. New Orleans, Louisiana The “murder capital of the country," also has one of the worst toxic-substance records. New Orleans has still not recovered from Hurricane Katrina, and was ranked number two in “America’s Dirtiest Cities.” 7. Birmingham, Alabama 27.3% of residents live below the poverty line. Out of every 100,000 residents, 1400 are victims of violent crimes due to the prominent drug trade and high poverty rate. 6. Stockton, California In 2012, the city filed for bankruptcy. Forbes voted Stockton as one of the most dangerous cities in America due to its high crime rates with over 20,000 violent and property crimes committed last year. 5. Memphis, Tennessee Memphis is the largest city on the Mississippi River with over 20% of its inhabitants living below the poverty line. In Memphis you stand a 1 in 12 chance of being a victim of crime. 4. New Haven, Connecticut Home of Yale University, the surrounding areas of New Haven are impoverished and crime ridden. Nearly 68 crimes occur annually for every 1,000 residents. 3. Cleveland, Ohio Aside from being one of the most corrupt cities in the country, Cleveland also has harsh weather conditions, with an average of 60 inches of snowfall each year. 2. Detroit, Michigan The city is suffering from urban decay with over 32% of residents living below the national poverty line. According to FBI Reports, Detroit has the highest rate of violent crime of any city over 200,000. 1. Camden, New Jersey Camden has been on Forbes’ list of “America’s Most Miserable Cities” for years. Riddled with urban decay and political corruption, over 42% of its residents live below the poverty line. It also has 560% more crime than the national average. Where do you think the Worst Place to Live in the U.S. is?
Corpus Christi House is dedicated to easing the burden of homelessness. To learn more about volunteering or making donations, find us at http://corpuschristiboise.org