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tv   KTVU News Presents The Cost of California - The Homeless Crisis  FOX  October 2, 2021 9:30pm-10:00pm PDT

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such a crisis in california is for one reason and one reason only. we have an enormous shortage of housing, california struggling to curb the homelessness crisis, i've been on the street for about nine years total. now do i think i'm ever going to get off the street? um no. a day in the life, the harsh reality of what it's actually like to live on the streets in the bay area. this place here, man. be totally honest with you really saved my life, and a number of local programs are helping those in need. how project home key has already gotten thousands of homeless people off the streets. ktvu presents the cost of california. welcome
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to this ktvu special costs of california or diving deeper into four major topics. cost of living education, the deep one police movement and homelessness. we're looking at them through the lens of the costs, the benefits and an analysis of where your money is going. today our focus shifts to california's homelessness crisis. it's consistently one of, if not the top issue for people who live in this state and continues to be one of the greatest challenges for lawmakers. in january. 2020 the u. s department of housing and urban development conducted a point in time count and survey of people experiencing homelessness in california. the number rose 7% to 161,548. that makes up 28% of the count nationwide. keep in mind these numbers are from before the pandemic and its impact on the economy. in addition, service providers and advocates believe hud's methodology leads to undercounting. so let's take a closer look at those numbers mean, according to hud of those
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experiencing homelessness in california, 70.4 where unsheltered the highest percentage in the nation. california reported the largest number of unaccompanied youth in the nation at 36% as well as accounting for the 31% of veterans experiencing homelessness in the us. let's break down the numbers for three cities in the bay area. these are four point in time counts in 2019 and all increases from 17 in san francisco 8035. people were experiencing homelessness in oakland. the numbers 4071 in san jose. the last count showed 6097 homeless individuals. all of those cities and others have introduced their own solutions to housing and homelessness. another reminder that count is before covid-19, and it's debilitating impact on the economy. the biennial count was due to happen in january of this year. but like most things, the pandemic postponed those activities. the majority of bay area counties pushed back their point in time counts to 22, citing the risk of
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volunteers and one housed people catching or spreading covid-19. housing is health. we do. libby, chef san francisco mayor london breed and governor newsom joined the biden administration for the launch of a new initiative called house america. the goal of the program is to move people experiencing homelessness to permanent stable homes. federal funding will go to cities to help them build affordable housing units. so what's in the new state budget to tackle homelessness? $12 billion total over the next two years. 5.8 billion towards project home key, a pandemic born program to quickly house people in vacant apartments and hotels, two billion in aid to local governments and 1.74 75 billion to build affordable homes. behind each of those numbers and figures is a person each individual experiencing. homelessness has their own story, and we thought it was important to listen. photojournalists tony heidrick and chandler landed introduce us to robbie petticoat. i wake
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up. okay, hop up. it depends on the day you want some water? it's usually some variety of, like kind of having your like leap into action kind of thing. this is the big shoe. hard data occurs every day. uh many. really bella. so today i'm i'm getting up. i'm going to get a cup of coffee once i the mushiness is over a little bit. i can decide what i'm going to do. bella, there you go. i've been on the street for about nine years total now. i grew up poor and it was my big fear that i would be on the street. i worked from the time i was 11, you know, and i am and i felt that the crabs and it wasn't my doing it all you know it was, but once i was through those cracks, you know i hit free fall and i sure did stupid to keep myself down. ha ha. people like me. i don't get food stamps so i've rely on white boxes and these food bags and stuff. or dump string. you dive into some really foul stuff and
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find in search of the golden goose. but when you find like that secret spot like you know that restaurant it's like, has a you know $120 steaks and then you realize that they're throwing out eight of them every night that are pre cooked and you know, to go boxes because they, you know, have these uber orders that aren't filled. you know that's it. you keep that to yourself. the truth of it is that you know, i think homelessness gets associated with crime a lot more than what we do actually do. i think we're very careful not to do i mean, most of us are very careful not to break the. the law like you know, somebody's cold and they still sleeping bag. it's not. they're not scaling sleeping bags or just taking a sleeping bag because they don't want to freeze to death. right thank you. lifelong you are truly the best and only outreach team that does anything in berkeley. i'm lucky. i've got resources in the community. and i'm uh, i'm a member of the community. i've been here for a long time, and i know a lot of people so. if i never desperate i've got people that you met with sydney that i can be like. hey, i haven't eaten. thank you. yeah people stop giving people more
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leery of contact. i think that people may feel compassion, but i think they're really stand off. do i think i'm ever going to get off the street? um no, i don't money is not everything and, uh, we're not. we're not just enjoying a multi million dollar view out here for free and free rent and all this kind of stuff. uh the majority of us want to be off the streets. you guys have no idea how hard it is just to get through a day, you know, just literally physically pick up your and move it around all day long every single day. just talk to people. you'd be surprised at what we do, you know? so what are the clear contributing factors for our homelessness numbers? and what are the possible solutions to answer those questions? i spoke to dark dr margo cochell, the director of ucsf center for vulnerable populations. is that we have a disproportionate amount of homelessness. despite what people think it's not the
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trends of people moved to california because it's such a great place to be homeless. that is a persistent myth, and it's wrong. the reason we have such a crisis in california is for one reason and one reason only. we have an enormous shortage of housing for our lowest income household, in fact, were the second worst state in the nation on that statistics. we have only 24 units of housing. that's available and affordable for every 100 extremely long come household. that means we are and cool one billion units short of affordable housing. it's like that crew game, a cruel version of the game of musical chairs that you might have played a child. we have 100 households competed for 24 units. of course, some of them are going to spill out into homelessness.ut it actually the federal government that has the most power to end this crisis over nine, for
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instance, right now only one in four households that meet the very strict criteria to meet housing assistant get it. they just isn't enough. the federal government could decide tomorrow to change that so that everyone who qualifies receives it and it would be a game changer in homelessness. it was music to my ears to hear secretary fudge stand up there and say that the federal government recognizes this problem investment problem and it's going to follow the evidence. one of the things that has america said, is that the solutions are going to focus on are those backed by evidence that permanent housing. um offered draw housing first, um, mechanism which means that we do not demand sobriety. we do not demand you know, enrollment in mental health treatment. we start with the housing doesn't mean housing. only there's services are very much offered, but it means that you do not make unreasonable the manta people before they enter into housing as we move
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towards long term solutions, like how is america and other projects? how important is it that we look at this through an equity frame? black communities are over, represented by a factor of three or four. nationally it's worse than san francisco in san francisco. less than 5% of the population identifies it's fun and 37% of those who are home with you. wave cannot solve this problem. colorblind policies we need to grapple head on with the racism that led to this. what are the long term solutions? is there a long term solution so that we may not just house people but keep them? howard we actually had the housing staff. and then appropriately offered services to support people to maintain their housing. we've got great evidence that we can 60 what we've lacked all this time. it's not the evidence, but the political will get. it's a way
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to bring homeless people off the streets successfully, who otherwise wouldn't come off the streets and it's got a lot of longer term potential. coming up a closer look at a program born during the pandemic to get unsheltered people into rooms of their own. show you more about project home key
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okay? this is an order of magnitude and investment into transforming the homeless crisis in the state of california that was governor newsom back in may, announcing the state's investment to address homelessness, but no doubt there are challenges. the state auditor has been critical of the handling of the situation, including most recently concluding federal relief funds. we're not properly distributed to benefit the on house population. a new program has already gotten thousands of homeless people off the streets in california, including here in the bay area. it's called home key, where individuals, counties have the
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money to buy hotels and motels and convert them into housing. ktvu is. rob roth visited one former motel on the peninsula and spoke with a resident there. it was once just in inexpensive motel in redwood city. now one of the rooms is home to gerald sawyer. actually it's more than a home. it's a lifeline. this place here, man. be totally honest with you really saved my life. sawyer's previous home was a broken down ford taurus, which he lived out of for two years, parking it in san francisco or daly city. his possessions were whatever he could fit into the back seat. nice people was bringing lunches. because i was so embarrassed to like, uh, get outside the car from that shower. and, yeah, this is my bathroom here. no. sawyer has his own shower and a bed and a door that closes and locks like beverly hills, right? he is one of about 70 homeless people staying at this old motel under a new federally funded program
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called home key. it's a way to bring homeless people off the streets. successfully who otherwise wouldn't come off the streets and it's got a lot of longer term potential part. sharlow is head of samaritan house and nonprofit organization that provides homeless services in san mateo county samaritan has been managing the converted motels since it opened last march. it's a very viable part of the solution to the homelessness problem. san mateo county bought the motel with home key funds. other bay area counties have taken similar steps, buying up old motels, hotels or other buildings and filling them with people on the streets. the privacy also helps keep covid from spreading. so far more than 8000 homeless people in california have taken part. it's not a place where you're coming to party and hang out. there is true work being done here on a daily basis with our case managers focused on. on making sure these clients are actively working on getting employment, increasing their income removing their barriers and getting to housing samaritan house is hoping to
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operate another similar facility in san mateo county sometime within the next few months, gerald sawyer says his health has improved and he has a part time job coming here, man. it's like and kind of. kind of find yourself in redwood city. rob roth, ktvu fox two news. the state has also launched a new program called clean california, in short, more than $1 billion, is being invested over the next few years to collect trash cleanup and transform spaces along highways, local roads and transit centres. ultimately the hope is to work with caltrans to hire more than 10,000 positions over the next three years to be part of the project. cleaning up our streets is obviously the first big step greg. that's what we that's the start for this, but what we ultimately want to do is transform a lot of our public spaces, so to go from just a cleaning effort to places that we can beautify. to
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create places that people can feel a sense of pride of that we can fully transform is ultimately a big part of the goal. months into the program. caltrans says several clean up events have been held in more than 500. job offers have been made. even with millions spent on homelessness. there's still a cry among those who can't even afford to put food on the table. major nonprofits have widely relied on donations to help bridge that gap. our investigative reporter brooks jarocz joins us now with a look at this massive effort. while some government money and programs work to battle hunger, food banks are highly relied upon, especially since the pandemic, so let's look at how far your money goes here versus somewhere else. check it out. a loaf of bread costs $4.59 in san francisco. compare that to $3.33 in chicago and about three bucks in houston. no doubt you're paying a premium for food. let's take one dozen eggs 3 49 in the big city, but over on the east coast in the big apple, they cost just $2.33. and down in miami, a
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dollar 51. many of those in need say it's their first time receiving help from a food bank. and here's why a gallon of milk is 2 34 in san francisco. that's compared to a dollar 83 in denver and 1 57 in phoenix. all of that extra cost has created a network of helping hands to keep people from starving. packing up produce. it's a huge amount into 1000 bucks is it's overwhelming. at times, it typically happens three times a day. right here. it's second harvest food bank of silicon valley, where the demand for food has reached new heights. to me it's heartbreaking. it's really heartbreaking that we have such an. enriched area and we have got families that are in so much need for food, some on the brink of homelessness with desperation, so high volunteers are racing to feed the growing
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need. that's why i do it with passion. i'll half million people served every single month since the start of the pandemic. we have not seen a great decline with no signs of slowing. tracy weatherby advocates for children and families to get nutritious food for free, leveraging government programs to make sure they have access to healthy meals. food is the first place that people can economize. they have to pay the rent. they have to do the child care so they can work, she says. most who rely on second harvest are working people and 57% of clients say they have $100 or less in their savings. threatening their livelihood. food is the one place where we can help relieve people's budgets so that hopefully they can keep those other aspects of their lives. working properly. many californians needed help even before the pandemic, one in five considered food insecure that's eight million people statewide. i know that my grandma. she does depend on them. michelle lee volunteers
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and says seniors like her grandmother's see each box. as a lifeline, otherwise unable to find food. it is dangerous for her to go out and depend emmick and go shopping. so getting these foods. for freeze like really nice for her helping make ends meet. what she gets each week goes out just as fast as it comes in. this is one of our four warehouses to pull it all off roughly 200 volunteers a day at this san jose warehouse alone alongside groups like the national guard and conservation corps give their time packing, stacking and wrapping. it's really fulfilling such a great satisfaction to help others and you kind of see how what you do go far in the community. you get to see what you do and how far reaches knowing without all of this, he would have more people on the streets. the kids, all right? yeah, i don't know. i mean, that, to me is almost incomprehensible. if this was
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not happening, how would you support this? many people in the bay area, which is why three dozen tractor trailers are rolling on each week. a mission to deliver and serve. so we expect that this need will continue for the foreseeable future, keeping families from going hungry. in san jose brooks jarocz ktvu, fox two news. as part of the new budget, california has taken a huge step to stamp out child hunger by becoming the first state to offer free school meals for every child. that means 6.2 million public school children have the option to eat school meals for free, regardless of their family's income as the bay area and the nation's saw a drastic increase in child hunger over the pandemic, having kids back in school and all fed is a sign of progress for parents and volunteers. about 16% of seniors, for example, in san francisco, live below the federal poverty line, which is about $13,000 a year. coming up
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after the break keeping our most vulnerable population housed the staggering statistics about seniors in poverty. stay with okay?
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fixed income cost of housing medicine help. those are just some of the issues facing our seniors nationwide. 9% of seniors live in poverty in california the metrics are worse 10% live in poverty here but in the bay area. that number rises to 14% based on the federal poverty level. the cost of living has just outstripped the benefits that average benefit for social
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security. in california. it's about $18,000 a year. um and so that's about $1500 a month, and i think anyone who is wrenching or living in the bay area can tell you that it's impossible to live on that amount of some kind of subsidy. earth, additional support from family or somebody when you consider those situations how at risk are seniors in california. of becoming on housed and facing other consequences or other outcomes. i think seniors in california in the various specifically are extremely hot, have extremely high risk of experiencing homelessness. and that's because the cost of living is so high here. so um, about 16% of seniors, for example, in san francisco live below the federal poverty line, which is about $13,000 a year, so you're basically making about $1000 a month. there's nowhere to run in san francisco that would allow you to live on $1000 a month to not be on house unless you are receiving a subsidy, or you have a very long term rental unit. with
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some red control protection, but even there, you know it creeps up slowly and eventually it just gets to the point where people are paying 70 80 90% of their rent on excuse me 90% of their income on rest. how can we prevent those situations where we see them become on house or face other outcomes? how do we help them? are there solutions here about 70% of all seniors spend more on medications that is allowed under the medicare benefits? and so all of these seniors are are struggling with the cost of medication. additionally there's the cost of just living life. you know if you're not able to take care of yourself anymore need to pay someone to come and help you, but you're not able to do that. if you're living off of the 1015 $100 a month, the cost is just simply too hot, and what happens is you're not able to care for yourself, and it's very hard for you to maintain living independently. um and then finally, you know, we just really need to address housing that would be an increase in subsidized housing for seniors.
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and also, we see, particularly for example, in san francisco, the department of aging and disability services, for example, has a local subsidy, and it works similar to the federal subsidy. and for a few $100 a month it can help singers live in their housing. and a lot of jurisdictions nationwide are using this, um this method of locally local subsidies to help people stay in their house and just to drop that housing costs a little bit to enable them to maintain their housing and not experience hummus. we've heard a lot about the cost of housing and its role in the homelessness crisis. so we asked what can $500,000 by you in the bay area and different parts of the country. ktvu sal castaneda takes us on a real estate tour. it's nothing new barea housing prices encouraging people to weigh their options when it comes to buying a home outside the region or the state. many people say they just can't afford to compete for the limited inventory. and then there are the inevitable bidding wars. i think it's been
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normal for some time in terms of affordability in the bay area has been. really tough on households looking to buy a home for the last decade in 2011, the median home price for an existing home in the bay area was $460,000. 10 years later, it's 1.3 million based on those numbers. buying a home for $500,000 seems next to impossible here, but plenty of bay area people are doing it somewhere else. my name is nicole jones and my husband and i bought a home in florida. for $500,000 nicole jones says she and her husband found a nice single family home near tampa, which gave them what the bay area couldn't in terms of price. my husband and i, we looked for homes in the bay area for probably about four years. we were living in oakland at the time, we pretty much knew oakland was out of the question as much as we loved it. in this pleasant suburb about 25 miles outside the city centre. jones
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and her husband purchased a 1700 square foot home with three bedrooms and two bathrooms on nearly a quarter acre of land. in the bay area. this 1000 square foot, three bedroom, one bath home in richmond was listed for $500,000 and ended up selling for 650,000. this 900 square foot three bed. one bath home in richmond was listed originally for 488,000 and sold for 511,800 miles away in kansas city. this 4600 square foot house with five bedrooms and five bathrooms in moving ready condition sold for $403,000 in austin, texas, this 1400 square foot house with three bedrooms and two baths. on a large lot is listed for $499,000. in boise, idaho. this 2200 square foot home is listed for 499,000 with 2.5 baths in a residential track neighborhood. back here in the bay area. even
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the list price isn't what you'll most likely buy it for the san francisco bay area leads the country in homes sold over the asking price. 7.5% of homes sold for 30% or more above the first list price in the first quarter of 2021, according to online real estate marketplace zillow. as much as stories of people leaving or becoming common. real estate experts don't think this trend will have any measurable effect on prices here. realtor jennifer jones of the grub company says for everyone leaving. someone is right there to snatch up that home. yes, very true. it's like a parking space. the pandemic has started a smaller exodus within the bay area to what i've seen in my in my experience is people coming from san francisco to the east bay looking for that for the space for the yards for more room to work from home, have that extra space. so we're seeing a lot of that. nicole jones says that here but couldn't we're working so hard? we're doing this hustle. and
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yet we can't buy anything and we're almost in our mid thirties. so while many say they could never think of leaving the bay area, others say it's a matter of quality of life. and for them, that quality of life is better somewhere else. in oakland, sal castaneda ktvu, fox two news. that's our show for today. thanks for watching the cost of california. you can watch all four episodes online. be good to each other. have a good day.t leaving rebecca behind. so if i can't get her rv running well, they're just going to have to tell both of us. despite facing threats of getting towed. some rv owners insist they will not leave the community they've created in berkeley. good evening. i'm greg lee. and for andre senior tonight, the city of berkley has given dozens of rv owners until this wednesday to relocate. off


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