The Suburbs are the New Face of Bay Area Homelessness
The Bay Area has been experiencing a shift in where the homeless population lives. Sadly, it is almost common to see homeless people in large metropolitan cities, but seeing homeless people in the suburbs is something new and unexpected. Surprisingly, poverty has been growing faster in the suburbs than in cities across the United States. The suburbs have not been prepared to handle the influx of homeless people and the homeless population seems to be moving inland. Rena Frantz, a homeless woman living in a field near downtown Antioch, CA, states:
Every night we’d go to bed going, ‘God, there are so many people who would love to be where we’re at right now.’ I mean it sucks because you stink and you’re hungry, but at least where we live, it could be worse.
In a survey last year, Antioch residents said homelessness was a top issue after crime and violence. Particularly in Antioch, the absence of sufficient social services is a big problem as well as a lack of jobs and transportation services. The only service center in the city closed down last year on March 2016. One of the reasons that the service center closed was because the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development cut funding for multiservice centers a couple of years ago, which meant that the service center in Antioch was losing money due to a lack of funding. There needs to be more service centers in suburban areas to help out the migrating homeless population and better service centers in large cities to avoid homeless people moving to the suburbs.