CA Wildfires Make Homeless Crisis Even WORSE

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Homelessness in California has already reached a state of crisis, but with the winter approaching and the homeless population growing, the problem continues to worsen. A lack of affordable housing coupled with the national opioid crisis has resulted in a growing homeless population that lives on the streets of California.

California homeless populations live in squalor in makeshift homes made of tarps, tents, and discarded scrap wood. Sanitation for that many people living outside is virtually non-existent and feces and urine are left in the open next to filthy bedding.

Filth in the streets, particularly “Skid Row”, has lead to the comeback of “Medieval Diseases” once thought to be eradicated.

The housing situation in California shows no signs of improving.

As Californians continue to witness the desolation camped right outside their front doors, their patience grows thin and their tolerance dissipates.

The New York Times reports:

California may pride itself on its commitment to tolerance and liberal values, but across the state, record levels of homelessness have spurred a backlash against those who live on the streets. (source)

The homeless arrive on the streets of California for various reasons, but lack of housing is the resounding cry. Affordable housing is scarce and lower-income citizens are forced out as rents continue to rise. But another huge factor has resulted in new homeless that have overrun the already overwhelmed resources: wildfire evacuees. As a result, more recent homeless are clashing with the older homeless population. Many of the State’s “new” homeless have nowhere to go after their houses went up in flames. The two camps may have come to homelessness in different ways, but their needs are the same. And these two camps of homeless are fighting for dwindling resources.

The wildfires are contributing to the housing problem.

Wildfire destruction is making the lack of affordable housing into a bigger and more urgent problem. Wildfires are wreaking havoc on the already limited housing, forcing families displaced by fires onto long waiting lists for even temporary shelter. Even if families had the resources to move into permanent housing, there’s little left available. The fires are torching what little housing there is left and making already insanely priced housing even harder to come by. Compounding the problem is the lack of affordable home owner’s insurance. Even longtime homeowners are being forced out due to insurance companies dropping property coverage in “high risk” areas and tripling rates. This is displacing even more Californians.

Wildfires continue to rage and take housing with them. The already out-of-control California fire situation is only getting worse. It’s so bad that California is issuing a “severe red flag” warning for the risk of wildfire with some areas getting hurricane-force winds. These winds only increase the chances of fires starting and spreading faster.

And the homeless, an already fragile population with few resources, are growing exponentially in conjunction with the devastation of housing in wildfire areas. Displaced from their homes and housing already at a crisis point, the evacuees from wildfires have nowhere to go and few places to turn to for help. They have resorted to living in tents in open fields or Walmart parking lots as they wait on interminably long lists for available and affordable housing. Many, including a disproportionate number of elderly citizens, are simply turned away and left on their own.

The Governor of California has offered a solution: rent control. This has been met with backlash from their citizens who have opposed this. Even where rent control has already been instituted, the homeless population has continued to grow, lending credibility to the opinion that the only real solution is construction, which is hampered by price controls, wildfire, and the exodus of home and property insurers.

Fox News reports:

Rent control has been a proven failure in addressing housing problems. It prompts landlords to convert their properties into owner-occupied homes, and deters investment in the housing market, aggravating the shortages that caused them in the first place. (source)

The situation is dire for people who cannot find housing.

While fires continue to ravage homes and cause billions in damage, the homeless population continues to grow and winter is coming. Surprisingly, the state with the most homeless deaths due to hypothermia is The Sunshine State.

What does that mean for those who cannot find shelter? The homeless, including those who are refugees from the devastation caused by wildfires, will still be on the streets when the temperatures drop. Compassion from their fellow Californians has worn thin. There are fewer options for warm shelter and more people fighting for those few resources provided.

Little has been done to address the fast-approaching problem of “where will they go?” when it gets too cold to be outside. We can only hope that they will find shelter before more tragedy strikes.

What do you think?

Is there a solution to this crisis? Do you think things in California will ever improve? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

About Jenny Jayne

Jenny Jayne is the mother of two wonderful boys on the Autism spectrum and is passionate about Autism Advocacy. She is a novelist who writes Post-apocalyptic fiction and a freelance writer. Her first novel is coming soon to Kindle eBooks near you. Her guilty pleasures are preparing for hurricanes, drinking hot coffee, eating milk chocolate, reading romances, and watching The Office for the 50th time. Her website:

Jenny Jayne

Jenny Jayne

About Jenny Jayne Jenny Jayne is the mother of two wonderful boys on the Autism spectrum and is passionate about Autism Advocacy. She is a novelist who writes Post-apocalyptic fiction and a freelance writer. Her first novel is coming soon to Kindle eBooks near you. Her guilty pleasures are preparing for hurricanes, drinking hot coffee, eating milk chocolate, reading romances, and watching The Office for the 50th time. Her website:

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  • I’ve always felt that homeless people who haven’t worked in a while — maybe defined as not being eligible for unemployment insurance — should be declared wards of the federal government and not the state where they exist. Warm, attractive states such as California, Florida, and Texas end up with huge homeless populations that they must deal with. Let the whole US share the responsibility, I say.

    • A nice thought, but research shows that CA homeless are largely CA natives who have lived in the state for at least 10 years. This unfortunately is a homegrown problem in CA. I don’t know about FL and TX.

    • BeeGee,your close,THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT is busy helping the homeless into the next world,FEMA is forceably rounding up the homeless and taking them to fema death camps where their creamated,and the ones who resist are taken to fema bardges to be ground into hamburger to feed the fish,so there is an effort to deal with them,its just not one other states would approve of…

  • It’s not much better on the east coast either JJ. We try to help with limited funds
    but it’s not improving. We (Govt. – Private Industry – Edu – Wealthy) could form
    a commission to put a dent into it if they really cared to address it. The best people
    can do is provide the “fish and the fishing rod.” My number 2 son is looking to help
    with computer – AI – automation – networks…) training in some of the homeless shelters but they are over capacity with limited room and he’s a bit frustrated.

  • I lived outside from March 6th to Late November in 1968. Long story why but it was tough but it kept me alive. No warm clothing. I had two long sleeved cotton shirts and 2 pair jeans and 2 sets of underwear and socks. Wear one, wash one. Probably as close as 40 miles from San Francisco Bay. Being young and healthy helped. Knowing how to forrage and determined to survive helped. I can’t imagine being in the open to the weather in the filth and dismal place where the homeless are living. How do folks survive that? I was in the woods. I ate healthy natural foods. I drank fresh mountain spring water. I bathed in a private area along the stream. Where does one clean up on the streets of San Francisco or LA? Its one thing to be homeless and quite another to be on the streets of any major city.
    Where will the burned out go once the short term help like FEMA is gone and if your insurance doesn’t fully cover you? Your dropped like a hot potato. You can’t legally get food help without an address unless your eating in a soup kitchen. Once you fall through those societal cracks there isn’t much help being offered. Fall into a low income group and its easy to be somebodies grandma in a tiny apartment surviving on cat food month to month.

    • What happenes to grandma when her cheap home burns and she’s on the street with her few hundred dollars a month. It take first and last months rent, deposits sometimes multiple months average bills to get utilities turned on. Plus what ever you owed when your place burned has to be paid.
      Now what does grandma do?
      What if mom is 55, unemployed and without a monthly income. Now what? Move under the nearest redwood tree?
      You worked all month. Your rental home burned. The place you worked burns. You don’t get paid and FEMA and Red Cross offer limited help. Not always even a FEMA trailer. So what happendes to you?
      Just pointing out life can suddenly get tough.

  • I can’t imagine why ANYONE would want to stay in California, between earthquakes, drought, sky-high rents, addicts and mentally ill people taking over the sidewalks and leaving used needles and feces all over, and an ultra liberal nanny state running things into the ground.
    But maybe that’s what they want…just the super rich and their illegal alien slaves, a smattering of “regular folk” to run the gas stations and supermarkets, and bears.
    It would not seem to be getting any better as time passes.

    • Miss Kitty, many have NOT stayed. They moved to Colorado and Montana (some 25/30 years ago) and wrecked the new states they moved to, because when they left California, they decided not to learn their lesson and brought their stupid, Socialist policies with them. Instead, they thought they would “try it again” in their new home. Now, these same, former-Californians are moving to Texas, and are set to ruin that once nice state, too. They are just smart enough to realize that California is a hell hole, but are too damned dumb to realize that “trying it again” somewhere else will not work.

  • Is there no way that thowe of us who still have a home can help these people ? Rather thanhave someone who has lost teir home (and job?) live on the street, couldn’t those of us with housing take some in? Granted, I live on the other side of the us in New Hampshire bt don’t like to see my fellow man/woman helpless. Is there a plan in place to help relocate?

    • Why don’t those who have houses take them in? The answer is “nanny state”. The nanny state insists that any housing that people live in must be up to certain standards. That’s crazy!

      Take for example, San Francisco, a place where I live, the climate is such that a shed in the back yard, with no heat, no built-in amenities, drafty is deemed illegal for living in, even though many homeless would happily give their eye-teeth to be under a roof. Meanwhile, many of those sheds in back yards are sitting empty while homeowners who would be happy to rent them out at practically fire sale prices are not allowed to do so. So people live on the streets.

  • San Diego County has relaxed some of it’s building codes and waived some of the fees for people to build granny-flats, casitas and small apartments. Vacant lots are outrageously expensive and developers know how to stay ahead of the small time deals and keep the prices rising. Realtors are also guilty of keeping prices inflated. We are considering adding a casita to accommodate family when the SHTF.

    In Eureka CA, public-spirited folks tried to help the homeless population by renovating some old rundown buildings downtown and helping them with their issues. The truth was that these people did NOT want any help. They liked their freedom and lack of beholdeness to anyone. Too much was required of them to participate in the project, so they went back to their old haunts. Unfortunately, there is a lot of mental illness with the homeless population. Lotsa people falling through the cracks of society — not just for financial reasons. These are broken people who are very difficult for anyone to deal with. Therefore the public poop crisis.

    Any SHTF situation will only make homelessness worse. Obviously. In many ways, a skill set that knows how to live without a home would be very valuable prepper education. Real time homes represent stability, so knowing how to make-do will go a long way to bringing stability back in chaos.

    • Debbers, I’m afraid you’ve hit the (very personal) nail on the head. I can reference my older brother, who lived homeless in N.H. and Mass. for many years. My parents arranged things so that he could have had a small house, or an apartment, but we could never get him to look at any possibilities–he was always “too busy, not now.” He had many good friends besides us who would have given him a place to stay; he did stay sometimes for a night or two, but never for long. He was eventually found dead, holed up in someone’s stored boat–fortunately the one who found him was a friend who recognized him by the watch he had given him, otherwise we’d never have known.

      Similarly, there was a well-to-do family here in southern N.H. some years ago–a woman in that family was found dead on the sidewalk one night in the middle of winter, having lived homeless for years. That family had tried everything, including actually providing an apartment…

      All we can do is provide a safety net for those who really want it, I guess.

      • So very sorry about your brother Rhonda. It sounds like everyone who loved him did their best. It will be a challenge when the SHTF to help keep the balance in our minds and of those we love. We should list hope after air and water as necessary for life. Hope is the challenge of our times.

  • It seems to me that the Homestead Act should be re-instituted, making parcels of 4.444 acres available for the working poor, and just under half an acre available for those of the homeless who are willing to plant trees and work towards rejuvenating the burned out lands in the Pacific Northwest.

    :[Forty acres subdivided by nine makes eight parcels of 4.444 acres, while forty acres subdivided by eighty-one makes sixty-four small plots – with Commons – for communes for the Homeless.]:

    The slogan should be “forty acres, an alaskan, a backhoe, & a cinva earth-ram.”

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