“Homeless Explosion”: Tech Boom, Surging Rents Creating Homeless Crisis On America’s West Coast

by | Nov 7, 2017 | Headline News | 34 comments

Do you LOVE America?


    This report was originally published by Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge


    America’s liberal left coast states count themselves among the most adamant supporters of controversial pieces of legislation intended to support low-income families. From their stunningly high income tax rates to their $15 minimum wage mandates, states like California and Washington are leading the charge on implementing Bernie’s socialist agenda.

    Of course, some of the biggest advocates of that socialist agenda are the billionaire leaders of Silicon Valley’s largest tech companies…which is precisely why it’s so ironic that it’s the “tech boom” being enjoyed by those billionaires that has resulted in surging housing prices and what SFGate described earlier today as a “homeless explosion pushing West Coast cities to the brink.”

    Housing prices are soaring here thanks to the tech industry, but the boom comes with a consequence: A surge in homelessness marked by 400 unauthorized tent camps in parks, under bridges, on freeway medians and along busy sidewalks. The liberal city is trying to figure out what to do.

    “I’ve got economically zero unemployment in my city, and I’ve got thousands of homeless people that actually are working and just can’t afford housing,” said Seattle City Councilman Mike O’Brien. “There’s nowhere for these folks to move to.”

    That struggle is not Seattle’s alone. A homeless crisis is rocking the entire West Coast, pushing abject poverty into the open like never before.

    Nationally, homelessness has been trending down, partly because governments and nonprofit groups have gotten better at moving people into housing. That’s true in many West Coast cities, too, but the flow the other direction is even faster.

    “So everybody who was just hanging on because they had cheap rent, they’re losing that … and they wind up outside,” said Margaret King, director of housing programs for the nonprofit DESC in Seattle. “It’s just exploded.”

    According to stats gathered by the Associated Press, some 168,000 people in California, Oregon and Washington count themselves among the growing tally of homeless folks who can’t afford housing.

    Official counts taken earlier this year in California, Oregon and Washington show 168,000 homeless people in the three states, according to an AP tally of every jurisdiction in those states that reports homeless numbers to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. That is 19,000 more than were counted in 2015, although the numbers may not be directly comparable because of factors ranging from the weather to new counting methods.

    —During the same period, the number of unsheltered people in the three states climbed 18 percent to 105,000.

    Rising rents are the main culprit. The median one-bedroom apartment in the San Francisco Bay Area is more expensive than it is in the New York City metro area, for instance.

    —Since 2015, at least 10 cities or municipal regions in California, Oregon and Washington have declared emergencies due to the rise of homelessness, a designation usually reserved for natural disasters.

    Of course, when home prices double in a matter of just a few years and are seemingly just as volatile as a tech stock circa March 2000, you know there’s a problem.

    Meanwhile, as we pointed out a few weeks ago (see: San Diego’s Deadly Hepatitis A Outbreak Turns “Statewide Epidemic” As “Outbreak Could Last Years”), the homeless crisis in California has resulted in an alarming hepatitis A outbreak that started in San Diego and is now on the verge of reaching statewide epidemic status as cases have spread through homeless tent cities all the way north to Sacramento.

    California’s outbreak of hepatitis A, already the nation’s second largest in the last 20 years, could continue for many months, even years, health officials said Thursday.

    At least 569 people have been infected and 17 have died of the virus since November in San Diego, Santa Cruz and Los Angeles counties, where local outbreaks have been declared.

    Dr. Monique Foster, a medical epidemiologist with the Division of Viral Hepatitis at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters Thursday that California’s outbreak could linger even with the right prevention efforts.

    “It’s not unusual for them to last quite some time — usually over a year, one to two years,” Foster said.

    Of course, as SFGate points out, local governments on the West Coast are responding to the crisis in the best way they know how, namely by raising taxes…

    All along the West Coast, local governments are scrambling for answers — and taxpayers are footing the bill.

    Voters have approved more than $8 billion in spending since 2015 on affordable housing and other anti-homelessness programs, mostly as tax increases. Los Angeles voters, for example, approved $1.2 billion to build 10,000 units of affordable housing to address a homeless population that’s reached 34,000 people within city limits.

    which should only serve to accelerate the number of businesses relocating to Texas.


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      1. Everyone is trying to play stock analysis guru, when the prices are fixed by fiat.

        For that matter, a problem has occurred, when a fit, moral, attentive person, participating in good faith, has no assurances of first world living standards.

        The fault is on the behalf of the market maker, who dictates terms.

      2. In the end it comes down to this:

        1. An underclass living in tents

        2. A section of subsidized housing complements of the tax payer

        3. Increasing the wages so that the workers can obtain adequate housing


        4. Clean your own pool, mow your own lawn and cook your own food

        Unfortunately due to both technology and the political ramifications of globalism they’re faced with the above.

        • Part of the overall picture revolves around the migration away from an agrarian lifestyle. Look at one aspect, food. More and more people move to the cities, theres more competition for resources and products and prices rise. More people are unable to afford the resource or product. Thats just one part though. Theres the side where prices rise because cost of production goes up. Higher taxes, higher wages, higher cost of inputs, it feeds on itself, but also then adds to the cost going up and thus being less affordable, hence more people being pushed aside. When everybody grew their own food and populations were less concentrated in urban areas there was less dependence for that one basic part of life and prices were much lower. Just one small part of a big problem

          • The cost of food has dramatically decreased in real dollars due to technology. The issue is extreme wealth concentration which is most shown in the cost of real-estate. The “Have & Have Not” isn’t so bad if the “Have Not” has adequate necessities. The workers in the 1000 sq/ft home in a first world nation catering to the needs of the $20 million dollar home people can go on forever. Tent / tin homes aren’t adequate.

        • Big part of the problem on the west coast or appropriately named, “Left coast” is illegal immigrant labor, you have 15 people living under one roof, all working for cash,mthey can afford whatever rent, that lowers wages, and pushes a single person who maybe doesnt have ties in the area out of the housing market, they simply cant afford it, one thing leads to another, the wages are low, they lose their place to live, then they lose their job because they lost their place to live, so then they are on the street, ive seen it happen here in the islands and know people who have had it happen, next thing you know they are loaded, and it spirals downhill from there.
          So your sanctuary city, is anything but

          • No argument with illegal immigration but in the end the worker bees need a nest. Mobil had a Refinery in Torance California. They had to rent homes nearby and first line supervisors from other refineries would pull a tour of duty there for two years. Operators often lived in class C motor homes in the company parking lot for their 3 day 12 hr day shift and then go home 3 hours away. These people were making $100,000 / yr a decade ago (with OT). This did not occur in the 1970s.

        • Over here, in Hawaii, the resort and short term rental market has pushed tons of people out, thats what happens when absentee owners rent for short term vacation rental over using a house for a long term rental, huge huge problem here, but then on top of that you have thousands of wealthy transplants moving here buying up realestate of wich there was already a severe shortage, and then renting for vacation rentals or renovating and flipping pushing cost up. The average local family has no chance, you get stuck in that cycle of just barely being able to pay the rent, let alone a mortgage. Prices are sky high even without speculation, then you have the idiots yelling for a living wage,,, who the hell they think is going to pay that wage?

        • ref –
          Gandhi’s Salt March
          The Testimony of Benjamin Franklin in the British Parliament, 1766

          K2 said, “Clean your own pool, mow your own lawn and cook your own food”

          None of the upper middle class has the foggiest ideas, where any of these things come from.

          The lower class is not formally entitled to provide for itself. For instance, here is vacant land, so corral some livestock, and you start digging a hole… (food and pool)

          Both sides of this discussion, labor and capital, are ignorant of the social boundaries, so will not begin the hard work of self-determination.

      3. Nailbanger….well said Sir!!!
        I was thinking the exact same thing!!

        • Thanks Lineman, just what ive seen

      4. Seriously nobody cares about the plight of the homeless, as long as it is not them. I can’t imagine paying these level of rents at a young age trying to make a start in life. To move the jobs out for cheaper labor allowing massive illegal immigration into America while driving rents to sky high unaffordable prices nationwide seems to be cruel punishment to those on a lower economic standing. If the dollar is said to be worth $.03 cents today that’s $3 worth in a $100. Oh boy, Duke Energy is raising rates to cover their costs of Hurricane damage repair to their lines.

        • aljamo

          Interestingly people in Mexico and Central America are fleeing the environment where the “Haves” live in gated armed guard communities while the masses of “Have Nots” live in squalor only to be a catalyst to perpetuate the same structure here.

      5. I know misfortune can fall on anybody.

        But, you have to wonder if some of the homelessness is intentional so that the government will step in and provide low income housing and welfare benefits.

        There has been homeless people who have died and a large sum of money found in their possession.

        In a case where I’ve been approached outside a fast food facility, I have gone in and maybe purchased a cup of coffee when it was really cold, but no money and I personally know that person is homeless because if you give them money, you just may be financing their drug habit. My city does have an active soup kitchen and the homeless are fed but only once a day.

        Public housing should not be looked as permanent but as a temporary means for a person to get back on their feet.

        But there are exceptions: The physically and mentally disabled. Those people need our care.

        But those people should not eat as well or better than you and I who are working to put on the table. We have seen the reports on TV.

        Like I said, misfortune can happen to anyone, I try not to be indifferent, but some people do love playing the victim.

      6. California wants to separate from the US. Let them do so and take care of their own problems and see how they do.

      7. I’m going to draw the ire of some on here.
        Once you go west of the Rocky Mountains, that’s no longer America. Not anymore.

      8. Simple solution: Put the homeless (and illegal immigrants) up in the zillion room mansions of the Hollywierd Learjet leftists. Why isn’t this being done now????

        Next question.

      9. The tech generation are the most callous generation. They look down at their smartphones while people openly poop nearby and the homeless are living in tents. They groom their beards, and stroke their tattoos while poverty, Islamic terrorism, illegal migration all increase.

        They should be creating new ways to house people, new ways to ferret out the illegal migrants, to hunt and kill the Islamic terrorists, to track and target the violent blacks, ways to protect women from rape – all these would be better uses of technology than trying to swipe your way to a dirty night of sex.

        • Frank Thoughts

          I believe that technology has desensitized them to humanity. They don’t even converse with each other. The erosion of their moral compass makes them ripe to accept tyranny upon their fellow man.

        • Frank: Amen. They are ALL a bunch of shit heads that deserve to HANG!!

      10. BoooHooooo;
        These people want to live in the most liberal “free-to-everyone”
        city in the nation and they don’t like living in poverty???

        They voted to raise the minimum wage…….and now they can’t
        afford the cost of a hamburger….booohoooo!!!

        They want to live in the “beautiful, by the ocean, 74* year round
        temps, free college, back yard boat harbor, hang out with the
        Hollyweird elites, have the best paying jobs,” and they can’t
        afford the housing????

        Simple common core math……law of supply and demand.
        If you are NOT a billionaire you need to MOVE……
        Someone else WILL pay what you cannot.

        Probably 10 million more people would move there
        if they could AFFORD it…Duhh.
        So….MOVE…. you liberal squatters and pot heads!!!

        • Same shit here in the islands,,,, oh you cant afford 2400 a month rent on your 9$ an hour waitress job? Yea, still wont be able to afford it on 15$ an hour

      11. All the more reason for population control. Could start by dropping cases of rubbers on Africa

        • That brings up an interesting but uncomfortable fact, (at least for some) natural selection.
          Used to be that nature took care of overpopulation of a heard, man now tries to play God through allllll sorts of means, boom, natural selection not working anymore, now instead of millions dying off to sustainable levels you have a glut. Doesnt matter where, same thing as the pharmaceutical companies keeping people alive way past their due date,

          • Nailbanger

            The levels are sustainable. You just can’t have individuals with literally billions (with a B) that total .0001% having as much as the remaining 70%. No Republic nor Democracy can make the claim as functioning in that capacity when you have that great of a concentration of wealth and hence power in so few hands. In the good old days of the 1950s in the US this was not the case.

        • Coyoe: Or just drop NAPALM and prevent the massive spread of filth and violence and mass problems and diseases.

      12. California has a population that the annual rainfall won’t support. Their concept of what normal rainfall is based on the past. The drought is more “normal” than they want to admit. Agriculture needs water. Industry needs water. The residents need water as well. Retired people, living on a fixed income, might as well move out. Property taxes. Income taxes. Gas prices. Add that to the rising medical and health insurance costs and they are in serious trouble. When the ground starts to shake for the “big one”, it might be greeted with relief.

      13. Does anyone remember back in 1970….. the government put a hold on
        all transactions to slow inflation?
        Businesses could not change sale prices or wages for one
        New three bedroom house average was about $50,000.)
        Doctor exam and office call…$0 w/ insurance, $28 without.
        Child birth, doctor, 3 day hospital, total, $0 w/ insurance… $3500 without.

        Fresh fruit & vegetables, in stores were mostly ‘in season’, only.

        Califorication needs to do the same. Hold all pricing & wages…
        except they need to do it for about 7-8 years. It’s called a re-set.
        ? ?? Dum Da Dee Dum

      14. Look at India. You see what the USA will be in times to come, possibly a very short time if things keep on the way they are! Overpopulation will do any country in. The entire problem in the Middle East has a root cause of overpopulation, which leads to masses of people that have nothing to do but join radical groups. We’re screwed if we let that happen here. These radical groups here in the USA are made up mostly of non-working masses of welfare recipients!
        We must learn to maintain a stable population so we can concentrate on quality of life for all, instead of continually fighting crisis after crisis caused by the overload of people.

      15. Most people have no idea as to how close they are to being homeless themselves.

        Loss of a job in your 50s.

        An on-the-job injury.


        Finding out you are unemployable after 50.

        Trying to live on your Social Security check.

        Losing 40 to 50-percent of the value of your 401K, like most people did in the Crash of ’08 -’09.

        The death of a generous friend or family. Eventually, we all become orphans.

        And before you know it, there you are.

        Something like 95-million people have dropped out of the workforce. Think they all chose to stop working.

        And before you know it, there you are. Nameless. Faceless. Dead. Having never even been around long enough for anybody to have even given a damn whether you ever lived or breathed.

        Because those left alive are hanging on for dear life, and don’t have anything or anyone they have any room for emotionally to care about.

        • Empire lifespans typically last 250 years.
          1776-1876 100 years
          1876-1976 bi-centennial 200 years
          -2016 240 years
          -2026…………………..We are running on fumes, folks.

          Yes, the blame-e, we ARE hanging on for dear life.
          To those living in the illusionary world, it’s here.
          If you can leave- leave now.
          Ten years from now, you can watch a documentary in whatever country you moved to.
          On the documentary, you can find out what happened here.
          You can thank God for getting you out of here.

        • You write wisely: bad times can come to anybody. For a hipster lost to a world of easy digital sex, expensive coffees, IPOs, and the ego of working in ‘tech’, it may seem as if they are superior human beings. But even they may have a bad experience and end up homeless.

          Luckily, if they are Indian and on a work visa, they will already be used to crapping outside.

          Does an Indian who takes an American job give a thought to those who they replaced? Do they ever care for all the poor back in their old country? I doubt it.

          Most people in this economy will one day be pumped and dumped.

        • I know two people now who have/are losing their homes. My one older friend was brought up in a nice suburb and had everything he wanted. Had a good job too. Got married, but cheated on her, so she left him. He lost his job and couldn’t pay the morgage. He was losing the house. I had not seen him in yrs and i tried to find him. I went to his house and it was all boarded up and lots of furniture and small propane tanks were in the yard. The neighbor told me that my friend was in the mental hospital cuz he tried to commit suicide in the cellar using a propane tank. I had my friend who worked in the hospital check out his name and she found that he was sent to the Homeless shelter. I called the shelter, but it was too late as he had already left. I never found him. I used a search and found another address, and sent a snail mail letter there, but it got returned. I just think he’s dead. Don’t know for sure. He was in his late 60’s. Then i have another friend who lives in a nice small house in the suburbs, but who is more than ten yrs behind on his house taxes and they are going to auction off the house very soon. I don’t talk to him anymore so i don’t know what happened. He was an ex of mine. Then i have a third friend who has not paid his IRS taxes in way over ten yrs and is about to lose his house too. He can’t seem to get organized to gather up all the yrs of paperwork to do the taxes. They tried to suspend his drivers license. He’s retired, but old so needs his car. Seems everyone around me is poor……

          • The humanity that is left in society is being pushed out by design. By bringing in more and more dirt from the third world, who do not care about existing people in the societies they enter and who are actually hostile to those people, and the employment of young tech workers who have already been raised to be callous, we are seeing a dark force take over.

            Expressions like saying people are ‘hideously white’ or calls for more diversity when the society is already very diverse, to ‘white privilege’ when no such thing exists, all of this is about stripping people of their humanity and justifying their impoverishment, destruction of their wealth and eventual death.

      16. I’m sure that if they took a look at what laws and regulations are preventing a rise in the supply of housing, they’d find the cause.

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