Shocking rise in homelessness in some of America's biggest cities

Published: 07th November 2017 12:11 PM  |   Last Updated: 07th November 2017 03:33 PM  

Homelessness is not a new issue to America's West Coast. But it's getting worse - much worse. On any given night, more than 105,000 people are sleeping unsheltered in some of the country's biggest and trendiest metropolises, driven there by soaring housing costs, rental vacancy rates that rival those in Manhattan and a booming tech economy that's leaving thousands behind. Another 63,000 are sleeping in shelters or transitional housing with no safety net. IN PIC: Homeless woman Christian McKenzie, a 29-year-old heroin addict and mother of a 7-year-old boy, settles down next to a wall in the Waterfront Park area in Seattle. | AP
San Diego now scrubs its sidewalks with bleach to counter a deadly hepatitis A outbreak that has spread to other cities and forced California to declare a state of emergency. IN PIC: Carrying plastic bags stuffed with his belongings, a homeless man, who declined to give his name, pauses on a sidewalk. | AP
The booming economy, fueled by the tech sector, and decades of under-building have led to an historic shortage of affordable housing. IN PIC: A man gets a meal from Food not Bombs, an advocacy group helping homeless people. | AP
The median rent in the San Jose metro area is USD 3,500 a month, yet the median wage is USD 12 an hour in food service and USD 19 an hour in health care support, an amount that won't even cover housing costs. The minimum annual salary needed to live comfortably in San Jose is USD 87,000, according to a study by personal finance website GoBankingRates. IN PIC: Delmi Ruiz, right, and her husband Benito Hernandez chat outside their RV where their family lives and sleeps. | AP
In Anaheim, home to Disneyland, 400 people sleep along a bike path in the shadow of Angel Stadium. IN PIC: Delmi Ruiz Hernandez, 4, top, plays outside of an RV where her family lives.
Dilapidated RVs line the eastern edge of Stanford University in Palo Alto, and officials in neighboring Mountain View have mapped out more than a dozen areas where campers tend to cluster. IN PIC: A man skates past a row of RVs where people live and sleep in the heart of silicon valley in Mountain View, California. | AP
Many cities and counties have seen a surge in the number of people living on the streets over the past two years. IN PIC: Ellen Tara James-Penney, a lecturer at San Jose State University, prepares her lesson plan inside the station wagon where she sleeps. | AP
It has upended the stereotypical view of people out on the streets as unemployed: They are retail clerks, plumbers, janitors - even teachers - who go to work, sleep where they can and buy gym memberships for a place to shower. IN PIC: Ellen Tara James-Penney, right, a lecturer at San Jose State University, talks with a student at the end of her English class on the university's campus in San Jose. | AP
Counts taken earlier this year show 168,000 homeless people in California, Oregon and Washington - 20,000 more than were counted just two years ago. IN PIC: Albert Brown III, who works as a security officer, goes through the trunk of his car in San Carlos, California. | AP
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