The effect of California storm on homeless community


Rain pours onto a freeway in California, leaving the roads dangerous. Photo from: The LA Times

Kate Oller, Staff Writer

FROM DEC 26 TO JAN 17— The raging storm that has hit California left an indelible mark on the approximately 172,000 homeless people living in California state,

The extreme rainfall caused flooding in parts of California, which The National Weather Service labeled as “the most impressive storm since 2005.” 

Many homeless people around the country traveled to California for its sunny climate.

However, this storm leaves homeless people vulnerable to the harsh rain, with two already dead from fallen trees.

“I’ve just been paying attention to the wind, wondering which tree will crack next,” homeless citizen Jose Reyes said in an interview with the New York Times.

Nearly 70% of homeless people in California live in outdoor, public areas with  makeshift tents or vehicles as their shelters.

Homeless shelters can’t provide all the needs to the homeless at this time. Some people aren’t open to leaving their belongings behind or their pets that they wouldn’t dream of leaving behind, while others aren’t aware of shelters near them or feel unsafe.

“The city and the county have failed to meet people—to provide emergency shelter that actually meets people’s needs,” Talya Husbands-Hankin said in an interview with the New York Times. She runs Love and Justice, a homeless advocacy agency. 

Although the storms have calmed during mid Jan., CA is projected to have more storms through the winter months. Hopefully, systems are put in place to better prepare the homeless for the next wave of rain.