Monday, January 30, 2017


L. Rafael Reif
To the members of the MIT community,
For those of you who have been following the developments at MIT since Friday, I was hoping to write to you today with some uplifting news. Yet, as I write, we continue to push hard to bring back to MIT those members of our community, including two undergraduates, who were barred from the US because of the January 27 Executive Order on immigration. We are working personally with all the affected individuals we are aware of. If you know of other students, faculty or staff who are directly affected, please inform us immediately so we can try to help:
Over and over since the order was issued, I have been moved by the outpouring of support from hundreds across our community. I could not be more proud, and I am certain that you join me in thanking everyone inside and outside of MIT whose extraordinary efforts have helped us address this difficult situation. We hope we can welcome everyone back to MIT very soon.

MIT, the nation and the world
I found the events of the past few days deeply disturbing. The difficulty we have encountered in seeking to help the individuals from our community heightens our overall sense of concern. I would like to reflect on the situation we find ourselves in, as an institution and as a country.

MIT is profoundly American. The Institute was founded deliberately to accelerate the nation’s industrial revolution. With classic American ingenuity and drive, our graduates have invented fundamental technologies, launched new industries and created millions of American jobs. Our history of national service stretches back to World War I; especially through the work of Lincoln Lab, we are engaged every day in keeping America safe. We embody the American passion for boldness, big ideas, hard work and hands-on problem-solving. Our students come to us from every faith, culture and background and from all fifty states. And, like other institutions rooted in science and engineering, we are proud that, for many of our students, MIT supplies their ladder to the middle class, and sometimes beyond. We are as American as the flag on the Moon.

At the same time, and without the slightest sense of contradiction, MIT is profoundly global. Like the United States, and thanks to the United States, MIT gains tremendous strength by being a magnet for talent from around the world. More than 40% of our faculty, 40% of our graduate students and 10% of our undergraduates are international. Faculty, students, post-docs and staff from 134 other nations join us here because they love our mission, our values and our community. And – as I have – a great many stay in this country for life, repaying the American promise of freedom with their energy and their ideas. Together, through teaching, research, and innovation, MIT’s magnificently global, absolutely American community pursues its mission of service to the nation and the world.

What the moment demands of us
The Executive Order on Friday appeared to me a stunning violation of our deepest American values, the values of a nation of immigrants: fairness, equality, openness, generosity, courage. The Statue of Liberty is the “Mother of Exiles”; how can we slam the door on desperate refugees? Religious liberty is a founding American value; how can our government discriminate against people of any religion? In a nation made rich by immigrants, why would we signal to the world that we no longer welcome new talent? In a nation of laws, how can we reject students and others who have established legal rights to be here? And if we accept this injustice, where will it end? Which group will be singled out for suspicion tomorrow?

On Sunday, many members of our campus community joined a protest in Boston to make plain their rejection of these policies and their support for our Muslim friends and colleagues. As an immigrant and the child of refugees, I join them, with deep feeling, in believing that the policies announced Friday tear at the very fabric of our society.

I encourage anyone who shares that view to work constructively to improve the situation. Institutionally, though we may not be vocal in every instance, you can be confident we are paying attention; as we strive to protect our community, sustain our mission and advance our shared values, we will speak and act when and where we judge we can be most effective.

Yet I would like us to think seriously about the fact that both within the MIT community and the nation at large, there are people of goodwill who see the measures in the Executive Order as a reasonable path to make the country safer. We would all like our nation to be safe. I am convinced that the Executive Order will make us less safe. Yet all of us, across the spectrum of opinion, are Americans.

In this heated moment, I urge every one of us to avoid with all our might the forces that are driving America into two camps. If we love America, and if we believe in America, we cannot allow those divisions to grow worse. We need to imagine a shared future together, if we hope to have one. I am certain our community can help work on this great problem, too, by starting right here at home.


L. Rafael Reif


Saturday, September 24, 2016


The latest news is that the “Board” Thursday night by a vote of 4-0 decided the vote on Bylaw Changes would be “delayed”.  So presumably they will not count the Bylaws Amendment ballots they so assiduously made.  Or they could even throw them into the trash!  Who knows what these folks would do?

Whether this board vote was legal is another matter because only four board members were there and Board President Mohammed Soriano-Bilal and Board Secretary Renita Mason weren’t even around. The vote did not have a quorum and that wasn’t even a formal board meeting and the Bylaw delay vote not on the agenda.  Those folks did it all on the fly.

The reason for the delay was that Freedom West attorney Julian Davis couldn’t explain the Bylaw Changes in an understandable manner, according to attendees.  I don't think Julian Davis told the board members about the legality of the "vote".  But to most attendees either they didn't realize it or that legality made no difference.

Also the Freedom West Office said the voting instruction for the vote on Saturday 9/24/16 had a little mistake.  The ballots are NOT to be dropped in the office until 3pm.  The Office will close at 2pm.  But people could drop their ballots at the Rec Hall from 2-3pm.  Let’s hope the office manager put a notice on its front door to inform shareholders of that change because my previous election experience is that many people drop their ballots in the last minutes.

Still Working for You Even Though Got Evicted by the Bilal Gang,
(I still get the info)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


Tonight and tomorrow night Mohammed Bilal brings someone over to convince you for his Bylaws Changes.  They are going to do a perverted song and dance to all of us.  Don’t believe them and don’t fall for his traps because we knew nothing about it and with no deep understanding on what he’s doing.  He’s trying to tell us things and to sell us a proposition we should not accept on the surface.  Moreover, we all need to find out what he actually had done to us the past three years.

So make sure he and his closest lackeys cannot get back on the board again.  He had abused his power and acting like a tyrant all these times.  They told us we should stay on course, his course pushing us over the cliff and relinquish our rights as Freedom West shareholders that is.  The consequence of him around wielding power over us would be irreversible.  Make sure he’s out!!  We cannot afford to have a second Bilal to sink us, as his father Rafiq almost did to us with that corrupt board long time ago.

I made out a flyer to be posted at  Distribute them and tell people go vote them out.  Remember, make sure your ballots are in Friday inside the office, or else you have to bring it Saturday morning between 9am and 3:00pm when your weekend already planned out.
Don’t allow them treat us like suckers before it’s too late.  Vote you must before Mohammed Bilal tell those who have knives over our throat that we voluntarily agreed on what he asked of us.  We must take our power back.

Still Hanging On.  Your Friendly Neighborhood.
David Tse

REMEMBER, vote EVERYONE ELSE except Mohammed Soriano-Bilal, Renita Mason, Gideon Tesfaye, and Thomas Ruffin.  Make sure you mark NINE boxes.  Click for images of ballot markings.




Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Last Friday I talked to Mohammed Soriano-Bilal’s lawyer Julian Davis and he really scared me, made me afraid to say things I normally dared to say and afraid to tell you all the bad things done by Bilal and his Gang.  They care only for themselves.

They can use official powers to fraudulently evict me from my apartment but they cannot prevent me from recommend how you should vote.

So in this election, don’t vote for Thomas Ruffin, Gideon Tesfaye, Mohammed Soriano-Bilal, and Renita Mason.  They are proven BAD NEWS for Freedom West - Greedy, Toady, Secretive, and Mean.  Together with their board lackeys they will abuse all of us, not just me.  Just mark your ballots this way:

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


Hi Freedom West Shareholders,

Mark “No” on the Bylaws Amendment ballot

Vote for: Mattie Scott, William Yi, Samuel Shamonda, Heang Paik, Haddis Alemayehu, Eva Coverson, Rosie Bennett, Curtis Oler, and Yvonne Webb

Make sure the Crooked Three of Mohammed Bilal, Gideon Tesfaye, and Renita Mason never touch the Freedom West Board ever again (as well as their lackey Thomas Ruffins).  I will tell you how crooked they are in my blog but for the time being, just my recommendations.

Click for my reasons.

Your Friendly Neighborhood,
David Tse

In this election Mohammed Bilal had manipulated the slate of prospective candidates in such a way to consolidate his control of Freedom West in order to drag us into the gutter for his own personal benefits.  Since I'm not around to organize, whoever managed to sign up is what we have.  When we have 13 people running for a whopping 9 open seats.  We don’t really have much choice.  Instead of choosing the best, we are reduced to get rid of the four worst.

As bad a situation for Freedom West now on board governance, we must make sure the hard core Bilal Racket members cannot get into the board again.  They are the worst.

For sure I know three rotten apples in that list:  Mohammed Soriano-Bilal, Gideon Tesfaye, and Renita Mason, all three have personal and financial interests to continue Bilal’s dictatorial rule.  All have skeletons in their closets not to be shown in the open.  They must stick together to save their own skins.  They are the rotten cores.

The final and fourth one to avoid would be Thomas Ruffins, himself entered into Freedom West under questionable circumstances.  He is known to be Bilal’s lackey who admitted not interested in doing anything besides letting Mohammed Bilal and Renita Mason running the show.

While it may be tempting for me to stop this farce of an election because of its illegality, doing so would continue the rules of the present Bilal Board to continue to run Freedom West they way he pleases while the court process runs its course, which means a long long time.  This would allow Bilal and his lackey friend Freedom West lawyer Julian Davis run us to the ground so that their developer masters could take us over in 18 months when the $9 Million loan come due.  They will fight me tooth and nail while enriching themselves with legal fees paid from the Freedom West coffer (Didn’t they just raised your rent?).  We must have a new board next month to set us on a more sustainable path and to rid of unnecessary lawsuits between Freedom West and me.

So this must be the way we should mark the board ballot, vote everyone else except Bilal, Tesfaye, Mason, and Ruffins.  We must eliminate these four if Freedom West were to have any chance to survive.  We will not allow Mohammed Bilal follow the footsteps of his father on screwing up Freedom West again.  More on his father at later.

So here are the people I like everyone to mark for:  Mattie Scott, William Yi, Samuel Shamonda, Heang Paik, Haddis Alemayehu, Eva Coverson, Rosie Bennett, Curtis Oler, and Yvonne Webb.

While this new board may not bring us salvation, at least they won’t take us to destruction.  Mohammed Bilal and his lackeys are the fifth column from the rich and powerful to take over Freedom West.  They will thank them much for their invaluable service and the Bilal Gang will be well-rewarded.  Voting for these nine candidates could at least ensure the traitorous Mohammed Soriano-Bilal, City Hall, and Downtown interests can’t treat the rest of us like dirt again.  Get rid of the corrupt and dictatorial Bilal Racket!!

Monday, September 12, 2016


Mohammed Soriano-Bilal thinks we are naive and can be easily taken advantage of
Most of these Candidates belongs to the Bilal Gang.  However you marked, Bilal will win.
The Freedom West Election is coming fast on our heels.  Vote!  But don’t let Mohammed Soriano-Bilal and his fraudsters take away your ownership of Freedom West Homes.  Don't let him take advantage of many among us of our laziness to vote or our propensity to procrastinate.  Reject his Bylaws Changes wholesale and do not recognize this fraudulent election set up by him and his conspirators.  You must vote.  BUT NOT YET!  After all, you need to know why I ask you to reject Soriano-Bilal and his Gang as well as his proposals.

If you are passive and let them have their ways without voting, we will be forced into a corner which we can never recover.  Mohammed Bilal had it all planned out.  This man thinks he can have a free reign over Freedom West after viciously getting rid of me.  He thinks he will get no one to monitor his under-the-table tricks and shenanigans.  Well, he’s wrong and I’m alive and well and care as much about Freedom West as I always had been.

He set up two propaganda sessions to “get you understand” why he wants you to vote for his Bylaws changes.  If you go and listen to their concocted twist, don’t believe whatever they said because they were meant to mislead and defraud, not to empower you and make you understand.  Don’t fall for his sweet words and reasons because he and his City-Hall/Developer lawyer who schemed out these “Bylaw Amendments” behind closed doors were out to screw us all for their own personal and financial interests.  Don’t go for the words of his paid Wordmeister, Daniel English, who’ll try to get you to hand over your co-op rights to empower and enrich Mohammed Bilal, City Hall and downtown friends, and the Freedom West Bilal Racket members.  Don’t fall for the words of his lackeys, people like Darryl Stitt, Gideon Tesfaye, and Renita Mason, because they are in it for the fraud all together.

Bilal set up an election come September 24.  Like always, I will advise on how you could mark those two ballot sheets.  Don’t send them in yet because Bilal is taking advantage of our ignorance.  All Freedom West shareholders should vote but not the way Bilal wanted you to mark for him.  So leave those ballots blank for the time being.

In the following days I will write about the racket set up by Mohammed Bilal, about how they play in the election, what they are trying to do, and why you must not trust them.  I also will tell you what happened prior to and at the Superior Court trial during which the Bilal racket managed to lie and wrongfully evict me, and committed virulent frauds on you as well.  It will make for good reading.

I’m sorry that I’d been out for so long because I had to deal with the existential threats Mohammed Bilal and his henchmen set on me personally all these times and dealing with the troubles and damages they inflicted.  But I cannot leave this election to Bilal’s machination because we have a set deadline and I must act on it promptly for your benefits and protection.

I can’t quit on you.  So I’m back.  Spread the words for me because you MUST, for the good of yourself, for the good of your family, and for the goods of our community.  DON’T FALL FOR THE BILAL TRAP!! 

Your Freedom West Board Director in Exile,
David Tse
In spite of the above, at this point, my preference for how you mark would be (and if for something happened to me and you couldn't get more guidance) the below.

For the Bylaws Vote, it should be
Absolutely "NO".  Would not change on my part
Fold and put into the Amendment envelope and seal

Then mark the board members ballot this way
The horizontally-crossed ones had either committed frauds as board members or I have reservations about their prejudice and personal integrity short of me talking with them.  But you don't need to cross out their names.
A BIG "X" ACROSS THE ENTIRE LIST WOULD DO.  However, if you write my name "David Tse" on the top or bottom, your emotional support would be much appreciated.  :)

Fold ballot sheet and put into the Board Ballot envelope and seal

And put both in the Main Envelope

Make sure you put down your name, address, and "Signature".  Then put this stuffed main envelope into the ballot box at the office.  Why you mark this way?  The election inspector Jean Yaste would just say the board ballot is defective but she has still has to count them.

And that's the point, the number of defective ballots indicates the number of Freedom West shareholders who believe this election is inherently rigged for Mohammed Soriano-Bilal to formally grab power and further commit his already planned fraud on us (more on that later) and we won't stand for it.  Without me around, he managed to stack up the majority of the candidate list with his lackeys who had committed frauds with him (a majority of board members) or are too weak to challenge him in any ways.  Bilal will win however you mark the ballot the normal way.

By putting in "defective" ballots your vote counts much more than anything else.  It shows Freedom West is rejecting his style of dictatorship over us the last three years, rejecting his lies and viciousness, and rejecting those who are in league with him.  We are rejecting whatever group of people he managed to get sitting in front of you in those "board meetings" because they get no effective competitions during the election and those are the people who are stacking against the rest of us.  They were losers in the last election.  We don't recognize them because as I will show later, Bilal and his gang is putting out a fake and defective election to allow him and his gang to suck money out of us, to destroy us, all for their personal benefits.  Nobody in Freedom West should stand for it.

What is also important is that you should attend the vote counting on that Saturday because without me around to photograph and to document Bilal's fraud.  He and his Gang would do the same things to lie to everyone else as he tried to sell out and defraud us on the Renovate/Redevelop vote thinking he would get away with lies.  He'll write the City, HUD, the developers, and whomever he wants to bring into his evil scheme Freedom West shareholders had approved his Bylaws Amendments and overwhelming voted for his sell-out candidates including himself.  Why would they care about you when they have lots to gain themselves?  We have to show these people are illegitimate and we don't want them to represent us.  Our "Defective Ballots" will show the extent of our rejection of this Bilal fraud.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

(7/7) A Dialogue on Gentrification

Managing Community Change: A Dialogue on Gentrification
Moderator Katherine O’Regan and three panel participants sit behind a table in front of a background with the PD&R logo.
Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research Katherine O'Regan moderates a panel discussion of gentrification with participants Derek Hyra, Colvin Grannum, and Gil Kelley.
Gentrification is a form of neighborhood change that occurs when higher-income groups move into low-income neighborhoods, increasing the demand for housing and driving up prices. First defined more than fifty years ago, it currently affects many American metropolitan areas. Market pressures associated with gentrification have the potential to force longtime residents with low incomes to move out, challenging communities that want to create or retain economic diversity. On April 11, 2016, HUD Secretary Julián Castro spoke at the Office of Policy Development and Research’s Quarterly Update, which focused on how gentrifying neighborhoods can manage change in ways that keep communities inclusive, affordable, dynamic, and diverse. Castro highlighted HUD’s Prosperity Playbook initiative, which equips community planners with critical tools for creating shared opportunity for everyone. HUD also promotes inclusive growth through community development block grants, the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, and the newly launched National Housing Trust Fund. Castro’s remarks were followed by a panel discussion composed of researchers and practitioners who discussed the nature of gentrification; its impact on communities; and strategies to promote inclusive, sustainable change.
Gentrification and Its Implications
Gentrification is a sensitive and complex issue that sometimes generates heated debate in both public discourse and research. Although many assume that gentrification entails the wholesale displacement of vulnerable and low-income minority residents by high-income nonminority populations, this is not always the case, said Katherine O’Regan, HUD Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research. Gentrifying neighborhoods change, but that does not necessarily mean wholesale population change. Data indicate that between 2000 and 2014, gentrifying areas experienced large relative gains in income and even more dramatic changes in racial makeup, often with large relative gains in the nonminority population. In terms of displacement, however, population turnover in gentrifying neighborhoods is no greater than that in other low-income neighborhoods. The large relative gains in income observed in gentrifying neighborhoods may result not from the displacement of low-income residents but rather from an influx of higher-income individuals while lower-income residents remain.
Given the nature of this change, researchers must examine the impact of gentrification on low-income residents who stay. According to Derek Hyra, associate professor in the Department of Public Administration and Policy at American University, studies suggest that gentrification has the potential to bring benefits to low-income populations such as job growth and better access to jobs, role models, and greater political strength. On the negative side, gentrification can result in the political displacement of lower-income residents, with newcomers taking over civic associations and asking for things established residents don’t want, such as bike lanes and dog parks. Gentrification can also cause large relative increases in rental costs that make housing unaffordable for low-income residents. In this context, gentrifying neighborhoods present urban planners with both opportunities and challenges for the creation of diverse communities in which prosperity is shared.
Maintaining Diversity in Neighborhoods
According to Hyra, the preservation of existing affordable housing for low-income residents is a key strategy in maintaining diversity. Low-income housing tax credits, New Markets Tax Credits, and continued investment in viable public housing are all ways to promote affordable housing. Acquisition of building sites by city governments for the future development of affordable housing is another strategy suggested by Gil Kelley, director of citywide planning for San Francisco. Noting that redevelopment involves public-private partnerships, Hyra asserted that planners should ask developers whether they can maximize profit while still helping low-income populations. He pointed out, for example, that developers might find that inclusionary zoning that preserves neighborhood diversity or “authenticity” and makes them more desirable places to live can increase profit margins.
Promoting homeownership among moderate-income residents is another vital element in ensuring that neighborhoods remain stable and diverse. As Colvin W. Grannum, president and chief executive officer of the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, pointed out, moderate-income homeownership in the Bedford-Stuyvesant community historically has served as an important vehicle for upward mobility. Today, however, the needs of moderate-income residents tend to be ignored, and they often have the least amount of protection from the effects of gentrification. Rising home values result in increased property taxes, which could potentially force out many longtime homeowners who would otherwise wish to remain. Grannum stated that moderate-income homeowners also face harassment from speculators and “deed theft,” in which new deeds are forged and properties are stolen from unsuspecting homeowners.
Kelley, acknowledging the need to promote affordable housing, advocated taking a broader approach to neighborhood stabilization efforts. He asserted that in San Francisco, where gentrification has in fact caused the wholesale displacement of low- and middle- income residents, the city simply cannot build or subsidize enough housing units to meet demand, and a regionwide solution that takes an integrated approach to preserving manufacturing jobs, access to transit, and working with schools is necessary. HUD’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule is potentially ideal for dealing with gentrifying neighborhoods because it requires meaningful engagement with communities and the requirement to think regionally, said O’Regan.
Building a Sense of Community
Although retaining low- and middle-income residents in neighborhoods is crucial for diversity, the benefits of gentrification can be realized only through the meaningful interaction of newcomers and existing populations and shared prosperity. As Hyra observed, however, micro-level segregation in the social fabric of gentrifying neighborhoods is an important obstacle to community-building efforts. Policymakers and community organizations can overcome micro-level segregation in a number of ways. Grannum cited the Restoration Corporation’s community-building efforts in Bedford-Stuyvesant through programs in the arts, including theater performances, music festivals, and an art gallery, that attract a diverse audience and maintain a sense of “welcomeness” for the African-American community. Grannum also stressed the importance of investing in neighborhood anchors such as schools and recreational facilities that can serve as vehicles for uniting the community. Hyra advocated the use of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program funds for promoting community-building activities. Preserving the interests of low-income small businesses is another important community-building strategy, stated Hyra. Extending U.S. Small Business Administration loans to small mom-and-pop stores allows them to stay in place and reap the benefits of income growth in their communities.
Resistance to change also inhibits the creation of inclusive communities. According to Grannum, established low-income residents often distrust planners and disagree with their arguments that change will bring improvements. This distrust is rooted in past urban planning efforts which did not take the interests of low- or moderate-income minority groups into account. These residents sometimes oppose change because they believe that it will not improve their communities or that it will only benefit higher-income populations. One way to meet this resistance, suggested Grannum, is to actively promote the economic benefits of programs such as shared bicycle use among low-income residents so that they embrace rather than shun the new programs. Another way is to show residents how amenities and improvements can benefit low-income populations. Churches, for example, might develop affordable housing on the underutilized land they own if they realized that developing it would benefit existing low-income community residents.
A Place for All
Gentrification presents both challenges and opportunities for planners. As Castro observed, “[T]here is no single red-button policy to push” to address gentrification’s many complexities. Smart policies that can take advantage of HUD tools such as AFFH and CDBG, however, can begin to capture the gains that change brings and create, as emphasized by O’Regan, “equitable gentrification.” If urban planners can revitalize without reshaping the identity of neighborhoods, Castro’s stated hope “that the American Dream is within reach for everyone living in our cities” can be realized.

Friday, June 3, 2016

(6/2) I'm Officially Homeless Just Like These Folks

I'm so busy packing things and cleaning up my apartment that I have no time to write anything on this blog.  So I might as well post this article from the New York Time on the graying of homelessness.  I'm a baby boomer just like these folks.  I could related to the man names Horace Allong in the article.  Yes, I do have a tent.  The only difference between me and them is that I become homeless because I'm fighting for your interests and that Mohammed Soriano-Bilal is fighting for Downtown's interest.  Of course, I have no drug problems.  But as time goes on, I could develop mental problems as these tent residents had develop over time.  That's why I'm saying this Mohammed Bilal man is a real viper.

I don't know what those heartless people on the Freedom West "Board" were thinking when they think it's funny to vote away my membership from Freedom West.  I really think they do have some kind of sadistic streak in them for them to to do something like this.  Freedom West folks, if these Bilal Creeps can be sadistic to me, they have no qualm to be sadistic to you as well.  Watch out!!

Right now they are ready to increase your rent, with nothing concrete to establish their reasons.  They'll gradually squeeze you until you choke.

Homeless Dave

Old and on the Street: The Graying of America’s Homeless

June 1, 2016
LOS ANGELES — They lean unsteadily on canes and walkers, or roll along the sidewalks of Skid Row here in beat-up wheelchairs, past soiled sleeping bags, swaying tents and piles of garbage. They wander the streets in tattered winter coats, even in the warmth of spring. They worry about the illnesses of age and how they will approach death without the help of children who long ago drifted from their lives.
“It’s hard when you get older,” said Ken Sylvas, 65, who has struggled with alcoholism and has not worked since he was fired in 2001 from a meatpacking job. “I’m in this wheelchair. I had a seizure and was in a convalescent home for two months. I just ride the bus back and forth all night.”
The homeless in America are getting old.
There were 306,000 people over 50 living on the streets in 2014, the most recent data available, a 20 percent jump since 2007, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. They now make up 31 percent of the nation’s homeless population.
The demographic shift is mirrored by a noticeable but not as sharp increase among homeless people ages 18 to 30, many who entered the job market during the Great Recession. They make up 24 percent of the homeless population. Like the baby boomers, these young people came of age during an economic downturn, confronting a tight housing and job market. Many of them are former foster children or runaways, or were victims of abuse at home.
Sources: Dennis P. Culhane, University of Pennsylvania; U.S. Census Bureau Decennial Census Special
By The New York Times
Sources: Dennis P. Culhane, University of Pennsylvania; U.S. Census Bureau Decennial Census Special
But it is the emergence of an older homeless population that is creating daunting challenges for social service agencies and governments already struggling with this crisis of poverty. “Baby boomers have health and vulnerability issues that are hard to tend to while living in the streets,” said Alice Callaghan, an Episcopal priest who has spent 35 years working with the homeless in Los Angeles.
Many older homeless people have been on the streets for almost a generation, analysts say, a legacy of the recessions of the late 1970s and early 1980s, federal housing cutbacks and an epidemic of crack cocaine. They bring with them a complicated history that may include a journey from prison to mental health clinic to rehabilitation center and back to the sidewalks.
Some are more recent arrivals and have been forced — at a time of life when some people their age are debating whether to retire to Arizona or to Florida — to learn the ways of homelessness after losing jobs in the latest economic downturn. And there are some on a fixed income who cannot afford the rent in places like Los Angeles, which has a vacancy rate of less than 3 percent.
Homeless men lined up for food being given out this month in downtown Los Angeles. Many of the nation’s poor have long flocked to Skid Row, drawn by a year-round temperate climate and a cluster of missions and clinics.
Monica Almeida/The New York Times
Homeless men lined up for food being given out this month in downtown Los Angeles. Many of the nation’s poor have long flocked to Skid Row, drawn by a year-round temperate climate and a cluster of missions and clinics.
Horace Allong, 60, said he could not afford a one-room apartment and lives in a tent on Crocker Street. Allong, who divorced his wife and left New Orleans for Los Angeles two years ago, said he lost his wallet and all of his identification two weeks after he arrived and has not been able to find a job.
“It’s the first time I’ve been on the streets, so I’m learning,” he said. “There’s nothing like Skid Row. Skid Row is another world.”
The problems with homelessness are hardly uniform across the country. The national homeless population declined by 2 percent from 2014 to 2015, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Renewal. Some communities — including Phoenix and Las Vegas — have declared outright victory in eliminating homelessness among veterans, a top goal of the White House.
But homelessness is rising in big cities where gentrification is on the march and housing costs are rising, like Los Angeles, New York, Honolulu and San Francisco. Los Angeles reported a 5.7 percent increase in its homeless population last year, the second year in a row it had recorded a jump. More than 20 percent of the nation’s homeless lived in California last year, according to the housing agency.
An older man sleeping on a sidewalk on Skid Row in April. Many older homeless people have been on the streets for almost a generation, analysts say.
Monica Almeida/The New York Times
An older man sleeping on a sidewalk on Skid Row in April. Many older homeless people have been on the streets for almost a generation, analysts say.
Across Southern California, the homeless live in tent encampments clustered on corners from Venice to the San Fernando Valley, and in communities sprouting under highway overpasses or in the dry bed of the Los Angeles River. Their sleeping bags and piles of belongings line sidewalks on Santa Monica Boulevard.
Along with these visible signs of homelessness come complaints about aggressive panhandling, public urination and disorderly conduct, as well as a rise in drug dealing and petty crimes.
“There is a sense out there that some communities are seeing a new visible homeless problem that they have not seen in many years,” said Dennis P. Culhane, a professor of social policy at the University of Pennsylvania.
Beleaguered officials in Los Angeles, Seattle and Hawaii have declared states of emergency, rolling out measures to combat homelessness and pledging to increase spending on low-cost housing. Honolulu has imposed a prohibition on sitting or lying on sidewalks in the neighborhood of Waikiki. San Francisco has cleared out some encampments, only for them to sprout up in other parts of the city. Seattle has tried to create designated tent camps that are overseen by social service agencies.
Sylvia Welker, 70, was evicted about five years ago from her home in Lancaster, Calif. She spends her days riding around the streets of Skid Row.
Monica Almeida/The New York Times
Sylvia Welker, 70, was evicted about five years ago from her home in Lancaster, Calif. She spends her days riding around the streets of Skid Row.
The aging of the homeless population is on display in cities large and small, but perhaps in no place more than here on Skid Row, a grid of blocks just southeast of the vibrant economic center of downtown Los Angeles, where many of the nation’s poor have long flocked, drawn by a year-round temperate climate and a cluster of missions and clinics.
Outside the Hippie Kitchen, which feeds the homeless of Skid Row three mornings a week, the line stretched half a block up Sixth Street on a recent day, a graying gathering of men and women waiting for a breakfast of beans and salad.
Kin Crawford, 59, said he had fallen out of the job market long ago as he battled alcohol and drug addiction. “Right now, I’m sleeping in someone’s garage,” he said. “My biggest challenge out here? Access to a bathroom. It’s really crazy. That and finding a place to keep your stuff.”
This is a fluid population, defying precise count or categorization. Some might enjoy a stretch of stability, holding down a job for a while or finding a spare bed with a friend. But more than anything, these are men and women who, as they enter old age, have settled into patterns they seem unwilling, or unable, to break.
“We are seeing people who have been on the street year after year after year,” said Jerry Jones, the director of public policy at the Inner City Law Center in Los Angeles.
Sylvas said the lines at the Hippie Kitchen were growing longer, and there were more tents on the sidewalks. “It’s getting worse,” he said. “You can see it. A lot more old ones.”
A homeless encampment under the Harbor Freeway overpass south of downtown Los Angeles. Along with visible signs of homelessness come community complaints, as well as a rise in drug dealing and petty crimes.
Monica Almeida/The New York Times
A homeless encampment under the Harbor Freeway overpass south of downtown Los Angeles. Along with visible signs of homelessness come community complaints, as well as a rise in drug dealing and petty crimes.
The challenges faced by older people have forced advocates for the homeless and government agencies to reconsider what kinds of services they need: It is not just a meal, a roof and rehabilitation anymore.
Glen Fox, 75, who has been homeless off and on for years, lives in a tent next to the Harbor Freeway. The average life span for a homeless person living on the street is 64 years.
Monica Almeida/The New York Times
Glen Fox, 75, who has been homeless off and on for years, lives in a tent next to the Harbor Freeway. The average life span for a homeless person living on the street is 64 years.
“The programs for baby boomers are designed to address longstanding programs — mental health, substance abuse,” said Benjamin Henwood, an assistant professor at the University of Southern California School of Social Work. “But they are not designed to address the problems of aging, and that is a big problem for homeless treatment in the years ahead.”