Step 2: Documenting Bushvilles

Welcome to America in decline:
"They are tagging us because we are homeless," she said, staring at her orange wristband. "It feels like a concentration camp."
We need to set out to document these atrocities in as much detail as we can. Are there any places like this near you:

Bushville, Ontario, California:
"Is a campground the solution to the problem of homelessness? The California City of Ontario thinks so."

Bushville, Los Angeles, California:
"Tent cities have sprung up outside Los Angeles as people lose their homes in the mortgage crisis."


"Large, often confused, crowds formed ragged lines behind police barricades where officers handed out color-coded wristbands. Blue meant they were from Ontario and could remain. Orange indicated they had to provide more proof to avoid ejection, and white meant they had a week to leave.

Pattie Barnes, 47, who had her motor home towed away last week, shook with anger.

"They are tagging us because we are homeless," she said, staring at her orange wristband. "It feels like a concentration camp.""

Welcome to free market America:
"It feels like a concentration camp."

Bushville, Sacremento, California:
"Some 300 people call a tent city in Sacramento home, including Tracy Vaughan, who moved to the city with her husband six months ago.

Via the AP, No Job - No Home:

As many as 1200 homeless?
"Some nearby homeowners have reportedly complained about the tent cities, but Sacramento's new mayor, former NBA star Kevin Johnson, has suggested that the tent cities might provide a temporary solution to the lack of shelter. As many as 1,200 people may be living in these tent cities, according to the local ABC 7 News."

Bushville, Reno, Nevada:
"A few tents cropped up hard by the railroad tracks, pitched by men left with nowhere to go once the emergency winter shelter closed for the summer.

Then others appeared — people who had lost their jobs to the ailing economy, or newcomers who had moved to Reno for work and discovered no one was hiring.

Within weeks, more than 150 people were living in tents big and small, barely a foot apart in a patch of dirt slated to be a parking lot for a campus of shelters Reno is building for its homeless population. Like many other cities, Reno has found itself with a "tent city" — an encampment of people who had nowhere else to go.

From Seattle to Athens, Ga., homeless advocacy groups and city agencies are reporting the most visible rise in homeless encampments in a generation."

Bushville, Santa Barbara, California:
"The relatively tony city of Santa Barbara has given over a parking lot to people who sleep in cars and vans."

Bushville, Fresno, California:
"authorities in Fresno are trying to manage several proliferating tent cities, including an encampment where people have made shelters out of scrap wood."

America the Beautiful:
3rd world shantytowns.

Bushville, Athens, Georgia:
"Wayne Hill packed up his meager belongings last week and moved his home deeper into the woods.

Hill's red tent and neighboring homes had inched too close to the nearby highway, and police told him to move.

"We've asked them to move back off the road a little bit," Athens-Clarke police Maj. Carter Greene said. "It seemed they were encroaching on Lexington Road."


But Tent City limits slowly crept downhill, so now people look up from Lexington Road and a perimeter off-ramp to see campsites and junk piles."
Can you just imagine the horror of having to actually see the homeless?

Bushville, Seattle, Washington:
(Note: there are several - 5 or 6 - of them in Seattle)
"Activists point to the annual One Night Count as evidence that not enough shelter beds exist. During the count of the homeless in Seattle and other parts of King County on Jan. 25, volunteers counted 2,631 people sleeping in cars and trucks, doorways and parks and under highways, or walking around or riding buses to stay warm in freezing temperatures. When comparing similar areas counted a year ago, the number of homeless increased 15 percent.

An additional 2,515 people spent the night in emergency shelters, with 3,293 more in transitional housing, for a total of 8,439 homeless people."

Bushville, Nashville, Tennessee:
"To its credit, Nashville recognizes that there is a problem with the "system" and, as the community slowly works towards correcting these problems, understands that there is at least a temporary need for the existence of homeless encampments.

To its discredit, Nashville is currently engaged in dismantling Tent City, the largest (the population fluctuates wildly at times, but is consistently around 50) and oldest (in existence since the mid 1980s) homeless camp in the area, which is slated to close June 1, 2009; sooner if outreach workers are able to find housing for the remaining residents."

Bushville, Chatanooga, Tennessee:
"The demolition of Tent City left many of Chattanooga's homeless without a place to live.

But not so for one lucky man.

For the first time in six years Richard Waldrep has a home to call his own.

Waldrep has spent the last several years on the streets, for the last few months he called "Tent City" home.

But, now that home has been destroyed.

Due to safety concerns and liability issues Norfolk Southern Railroad bulldozed the property leaving Waldrep and almost 30 others to find another place to live. "

Bushville, St. Petersburg, Florida:
"Police officers with box cutters showed up where St. Pete's tent city residents had moved and set up. The cops slashed their tents to the ground as residents watched in shock. Now one homeless group is moving to label St. Petersburg as the 'meanest city in the nation.' Video by Tina May."

The police destroying the few meager belongings left to these homeless people. Is that what the mandate of police officers is supposed to include today? What happened to serve and protect?

Do you know of any of these tent cities or Bushvilles near you that the media has yet to disclose of? If you do... Links, photos, and videos need to be added to our own archives in order to document the widespread disaster that is a very result of this failed Bush economy and the free-market run amok.

Arthur Delaney at the HuffPo is attempting to document these stories. We should all be doing our part to identify these places:
There are reports of tent cities popping up across the country as unemployment rises in a worsening economy. The biggest and highest-profile shantytown is in Sacramento, where hundreds of newly-homeless tent residents are cooking soup in old coffee cans.

We want to know where else this is happening.

HuffPost readers: Is there a tent city near you? Have you noticed a newly-formed community of people living together in improvised housing in a public space? Email us! Send any information you've got (or pictures) to submissions+homeless@huffingtonpost.com.

Sacramento's KCRA reported this week that city officials plan to shut the tent city down:

While this is a good idea - documenting where they exist is really only Step 2 because it is an idea without a real humane purpose.

Rather than just documenting these stories, perhaps we should try to solve the problems? In some of these Bushvilles there are already people working to help fix the problems as both short term and long term solutions are needed.

In Portland, Oregon, many in the community are providing the elbow grease to make their tent city, Dignity Village, more livable for the short term and more effective at helping the people get back to work:
Many more community's across the country, have looked to us for answers to help the homeless population that is growing bigger each year. When People come out to visit us , they are amazed at what we have set up and how we help the 50 to 60 homeless people that live here at any given time, a stepping stone effect that gives each person living here a chance to help themselves regain a new start to gain main stream living again.

All of this comes from donations from viewers and visitors that help to support our goals.

Dignity Village has been working this way since 2001 and long before Bushvilles started popping up. I imagine that they are probably experiencing a huge surge in people needing their help as the economy has collapsed over the last few months.

The right did not solve the problem of Hoovervilles, but the left did with the bold and visionary leadership of FDR. Many on the right would like nothing more than to ignore Bushvilles because it exposes the reality of their political ideology taken to extremes.

We can and will solve the problem of Bushvilles.

I am no community organizer, but I imagine that we need to take these steps first:

1. Identify the major problem - done

2. Identify where it exists - ?

3. Identify problems that are more local to each area - ?

4. Get to work solving the short term problems on a local area needs basis - ?

5. Get to work solving the long term problems on a local area needs basis - ?

Are any of you up to a real challenge?

Are any of you interested in beginning Step 2 and starting to document as many of these tent cities and Bushvilles as we can? Searching for links, getting out in the streets and photographing and videoing these places AND, more importantly, documenting the problems they face so we can try to find real solutions would be no small undertaking.


Commander Zaius said...

I'll keep an eye open in my area. I have heard one brief story on the national news about these tent cities. Lots of stuff on the Octo-mom, shipwrecked NFL players, and lots of outrage on stem cells from the right wingnuts.
I guess it will take a modern day still born baby Joad to get anyones attention.

Connecticut Man1 said...

I am really interested in seeing how many of these people can find across the US. And how many of them are "new". And, of course, finding solutions to the problem - instead of having the police harassing them.

Distributorcap said...

conn --

i am afraid we are at the tip of an iceberg. the entire congress is Nero fiddling as Rome is burning...

i am seeing more homeless pop up in the subways of the city again --- a direct cause of economic strife

i used to think religion would tear us apart - now i think it is class warfare

Connecticut Man1 said...

"i used to think religion would tear us apart - now i think it is class warfare"

Many of the faux religious are a big part of the class war. And they are involved in it on a world wide scale. Look at "The Family" and their profitable crusading partnerships with despots and tyrants, and other groups like the Palin family church (and many other churches) with their "seven mountain" ties where their goal is to subvert government by controlling big businesses, media, etc.. Pure Dominionism.


" * Is The Family really a loose-knit "Fellowship of Independant Christian Missionaries" like they claim, or is it closer to a high-control secretive religious sect?
* Is it really true The Family has never been found guilty in a court of law?
* Why did The Children of God fake a disbanding and resurface as The Family of Love?
* Are members of The Family Cult truthful and up-front and do they tell you the whole story?
* At what point could what they do be considered scamming?

No white-washing:

Unlike the spin on the official homepage of The Family, our mission is to bring you honest, truthful, accurate, complete and contextual information about The Family cult—also known as The Children of God, The Family International, The Family of Love, The Family and various pseudonyms; which now operates internationally as a collection of charitable organizations under the umbrella of the FCF (Family Care Foundation)."


"The Seven Thrones of Your Soul Part 1 and 2: [1. Career 2. Bank account 3. Mind 4. Relationship 5. Worship 6. Entertainment 7. Tongue. Each throne relates to the 7 mountains so that the Church can take control over the world and become the great mountain, I am guessing they will claim that this mountain is the one spoken of in Daniel. Yet Daniel is clear that the mountain is made out of no hands and without human agency.]"

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