07-18-2024  3:54 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather

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NORTHWEST NEWS

Money From Washington's Landmark Climate Law Will Help Tribes Face Rising Seas, Climate Change

Tens of millions of dollars raised by a landmark climate law in Washington state will go to Native American tribes that are at risk from climate change and rising sea levels to help them move to higher ground, install solar panels, buy electric vehicles and restore wetlands. The Quinault Indian Tribe on the Olympic Peninsula is getting million to help relocate its two main villages to higher ground, away from the tsunami zone and persistent flooding.

The Top Draft Pick of the Mariners Pitches Lefty and Righty. Jurrangelo Cijntje Wants to Keep It Up

Cijntje threw right-handed to lefties more often in 2024 but said it was because of discomfort in his left side. The Mariners say they want Cijntje to decide how to proceed as a righty and/or lefty as a pro. He says he wants to continue pitching from both sides.

Wildfire Risk Rises as Western States Dry out Amid Ongoing Heat Wave Baking Most of the US

Blazes are burning in Oregon, where the governor issued an emergency authorization allowing additional firefighting resources to be deployed. More than 142 million people around the U.S. were under heat alerts Wednesday, especially across the West, where dozens of locations tied or broke heat records.

Forum Explores Dangerous Intersection of Brain Injury and Law Enforcement

The Portland Committee on Community-Engaged Policing hosted event with medical, legal and first-hand perspectives.

NEWS BRIEFS

UNCF Celebrating 80 Years of Transforming Lives

The UNCF Each One Teach One Luncheon is Sunday, July 21, 2-5 p.m., Hyatt Regency at the Oregon Convention Center. ...

Interstate Bridge Replacement Program Awarded $1.499 Billion

Federal support again demonstrates multimodal replacement of the Interstate Bridge is a national priority ...

Echohawk Selected for Small Business Regulatory Fairness Board

Indigenous woman and executive leader of Snoqualmie-owned enterprise to serve on national board advancing regulatory fairness and...

HUD Reaches Settlement to Ensure Equal Opportunity in the Appraisal Profession

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that it has entered into an historic Conciliation...

HUD Expands Program to Help Homeowners Repair Homes

The newly updated Federal Housing Administration Program will assist families looking for affordable financing to repair, purchase, or...

Oregon authorities recover body of award-winning chef who drowned in river accident

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — Oregon authorities said Wednesday that they have recovered the body of award-winning chef Naomi Pomeroy following her drowning in a river accident. The Benton County Sheriff's Office said it located her body Wednesday morning in the Willamette River between...

Aging bridges in 16 states will be improved or replaced with the help of B in federal funding

Dozens of aging bridges in 16 states will be replaced or improved with the help of billion in federal grants announced Wednesday by President Joe Biden's administration, the latest beneficiaries of a massive infrastructure law. The projects range from coast to coast, with the...

Missouri governor says new public aid plan in the works for Chiefs, Royals stadiums

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said Thursday that he expects the state to put together an aid plan by the end of the year to try to keep the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals from being lured across state lines to new stadiums in Kansas. Missouri's renewed efforts...

Kansas governor signs bills enabling effort to entice Chiefs and Royals with new stadiums

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas' governor signed legislation Friday enabling the state to lure the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs and Major League Baseball's Royals away from neighboring Missouri by helping the teams pay for new stadiums. Gov. Laura Kelly's action came three days...

OPINION

The 900-Page Guide to Snuffing Out American Democracy

What if there was a blueprint for a future presidential administration to unilaterally lay waste to our constitutional order and turn America from a democracy into an autocracy in one fell swoop? That is what one far-right think tank and its contributors...

SCOTUS Decision Seizes Power to Decide Federal Regulations: Hard-Fought Consumer Victories Now at Risk

For Black and Latino Americans, this power-grab by the court throws into doubt and potentially weakens current agency rules that sought to bring us closer to the nation’s promises of freedom and justice for all. In two particular areas – fair housing and...

Minding the Debate: What’s Happening to Our Brains During Election Season

The June 27 presidential debate is the real start of the election season, when more Americans start to pay attention. It’s when partisan rhetoric runs hot and emotions run high. It’s also a chance for us, as members of a democratic republic. How? By...

State of the Nation’s Housing 2024: The Cost of the American Dream Jumped 47 Percent Since 2020

Only 1 in 7 renters can afford homeownership, homelessness at an all-time high ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

New Mexico governor cites 'dangerous intersection' of crime and homelessness, wants lawmakers to act

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Citing what she calls the “dangerous intersection” of crime and homelessness, New Mexico's governor is calling on lawmakers to address stubbornly high crime rates as they convene Thursday for a special legislative session. In issuing her proclamation, Gov....

City council vote could enable a new Tampa Bay Rays ballpark — and the old site's transformation

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A key city council vote Thursday on a major redevelopment project in St. Petersburg could pave the way to give baseball's Tampa Bay Rays a new ballpark, which would guarantee the team stays for at least 30 years. The .5 billion project, supporters say,...

John Deere ends support of 'social or cultural awareness' events, distances from inclusion efforts

NEW YORK (AP) — Farm equipment maker John Deere says it will no longer sponsor “social or cultural awareness” events, becoming the latest major U.S. company to distance itself from diversity and inclusion measures after being targeted by conservative backlash. In a statement...

ENTERTAINMENT

NBA agrees to terms on a record 11-year, billion media rights deal, AP source says

The NBA has agreed to terms on its new media deals, a record 11-year agreement worth billion that would assure player salaries will continue rising for the foreseeable future and one that will surely change how some viewers access the game for years to come. A person familiar with...

On anniversary of Frida Kahlo's death, her art's spirituality keeps fans engaged around the globe

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Frida Kahlo had no religious affiliation. Why, then, did the Mexican artist depict several religious symbols in the paintings she produced until her death on July 13, 1954? “Frida conveyed the power of each individual,” said art researcher and curator Ximena...

Celebrity birthdays for the week of July 21-27

Celebrity birthdays for the week of July 21-27: July 21: Actor Leigh Lawson (“Tess”) is 81. Singer Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) is 76. Cartoonist Garry Trudeau (“Doonesbury”) is 76. Actor Jamey Sheridan (“Homeland”) is 73. Singer-guitarist Eric Bazilian of The Hooters is 71....

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

China investigators suspect construction work caused fire that killed 16 people in shopping mall

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese investigators suspect construction work sparked a fire that caused 16 deaths in a...

Hundreds attend vigil for man killed at Trump rally in Pennsylvania before visitation Thursday

SARVER, Pa. (AP) — Hundreds of people who gathered to remember the former fire chief fatally shot at a weekend...

The Latest | Israeli minister's visit to Jerusalem holy site puts pressure on cease-fire talks

A leading far-right figure in the Israeli government visited Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site on Thursday, a...

Student protesters vow 'complete shutdown' in Bangladesh as clashes continue

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Police clashed Thursday with student protesters attempting to impose a “complete...

Pacific island leaders agree to enhance Japan's role in the region amid growing China influence

TOKYO (AP) — Leaders of 18 Pacific island nations and areas agreed to an enhanced role of Japan in the region's...

In landmark verdict, South Korea's top court recognizes some rights for same-sex couples

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea’s top court ruled Thursday that same-sex couples are eligible to receive...

By The Skanner News | The Skanner News

By Peter Schurmann, New America Media

SAN FRANCISCO – At 18, Valerie Klinker was kicked out of her grandmother's house in San Francisco's Fillmore District. Despite being without a roof, alternating from parks to cars to SROs, Klinker says she never identified as homeless, a fact that, in the eyes of the city, made her all but invisible.

Indeed, advocates for homeless people here say there is a growing number of young African Americans who, like Klinker, are becoming homeless as the ongoing recession and nationwide trend of urban black flight erodes access to traditional safety nets. It's a trend, they add, that's happening largely under the city's radar.

"Today, 55 percent of [our clients] are black, compared to 1998, when that number stood at about 15-20 percent," said Rob Gitin, director of At the Crossroads (ATC). The outreach program, based in San Francisco's Mission District, primarily serves transitional age youth (TAY) between the ages of 18-24, too old for foster care but too young for many of the city's homeless programs.

Falling Through the Cracks

Coming from historically poorer neighborhoods in the city or from communities across the bay, such as Oakland and Richmond, many young people shy away from identifying as homeless, Gitin explained.

"But if you ask them where they're spending the night," he noted, "most couldn't say." In large part that's because the people they once relied on, such as family or friends, are no longer in a position to help, or just aren't there anymore.

According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, the recession has inordinately affected blacks and Latinos. African Americans have seen a widening of the income gap compared to whites from 11 percent in 2004 to 20 percent in 2009. U.S. Census figures for 2010, meanwhile, show that San Francisco's black population has plummeted from 12 percent to just over three percent, mirroring trends nationwide.

"That stable aunt is no longer capable of providing for these people," said Ivan Alomar, who grew up in the Mission District and has worked as a counselor with ATC for six years. As a result, he said, a growing number end up without a roof over their head, homeless in all but name and invisible to city residents and service providers.

"It's possible the count missed them," acknowledges Noelle Simmons, referring to the city's biennial tally of those who are homeless, required of all jurisdictions that receive federal funding for homeless services.

Simmons, deputy director of policy and planning with San Francisco's Human Services Agency (HSA), which is responsible for tracking the city's homeless population, said volunteers simply identify those who are visibly homeless on the street, or are staying in shelters.

And that is a problem, said Alomar, who observed that most young blacks struggling to keep a roof over their heads "don't look homeless" and "don't use the word homeless" to describe their situation.

The latest count from January 2011, put San Francisco's homeless population at around 6,400, a slight decline from two years ago. Four in 10 were black, compared with one-third, who were white, and only one in eight, who were Latino. Simmons noted, however, that the large proportion of homeless African Americans here consisted of males between ages of 35 and 51, well beyond the TAY range.

Fewer Resources

"White kids have known stability, while Hispanics can rely on the support of family," explained Alomar. But he added that in the black community, becoming homeless is simply moving "from one form of instability to another."

Klinker, now a video editor and reporter with New America Media, said her grandmother kicked her out of the house on the suspicion that she'd gotten involved with drugs. Her mother wasn't around to care for her.

"I remember walking by people's doors in the SROs and seeing the occupants masturbating or shooting up," she recalled, referring to the single-room occupancy hotels common in low-income areas.

Despite her situation, Klinker, who now lives with her two kids and partner in the city's Hunters Point area, said she hid her homelessness from those she knew. "I didn't want pity," she stated, adding that she tried to keep up her appearance.

"There's a hell of 'em out there, and they look like me," Klinker emphasized, gesturing to her crisp hoodie top, jeans and sneakers, standard fare for most youth here.

Simmons said that while HSA is the city's main social service agency, it deals mainly with adults and families, leaving it to private organizations to care for youth in situations such as the one Klinker experienced.

But according to Amy Lemley, these organizations are "MIA in the advocacy arena."

Lemley is policy director with the John Burton Foundation, which, through its Homeless Youth Capacity Building Project, is looking to bolster the organizational and fundraising capabilities of the state's homeless youth service providers.

"In California, 5,000 kids age out of foster care every year," she said, adding that out of this number, 30 percent are African American. "They are being discharged from a system that does not have the resources to plan well for their transition," she noted, adding that the 20 percent unemployment rate for 16 to 24 year olds is the "highest since the state began keeping track."

Nevertheless, she said, there are fewer resources now for homeless TAY youth than there ever were before, and many in the homeless-advocacy field see the programs that are out there as "second rate."

The result, said Lemley, is that "almost no public funding" goes to these providers.

Youth "Growing More Desperate"

"It's a trend we've seen over the last couple of years," said Toby Eastman of Larkin Street Youth Services, speaking of the rise in homeless African American youth. Like Gitin and Lemley, Eastman said that the most pressing need for many of these individuals is stable housing.

But Eastman stressed that San Francisco has a "huge bottleneck" of those applying for transitional housing with a waiting list of 70 young people at Larkin. The latest transitional units recently opened in the city's downtown Tenderloin District. They are targeted to providing housing for youth with severe mental health issues.

In San Francisco's Bayview district, Aliya Sheriff is a therapist at 3rd Street Youth Center and Clinic, which provides local youth with medical and behavioral health services. Although not focused on homeless youth, she said that in recent years she's seen a "higher need for places to live" among her patients. Some have tried to pool resources in order to rent a place together, she said.

Sheriff also noted that as the recession economy increasingly taxes family resources, many youth are "becoming more desperate." Stress, sleeplessness and anxiety are on the rise, she said, as Bayview youth wrestle with questions about whether to "go to school, or go look for a job."

Crime is another option -- whether drugs or prostitution -- for making ends meet in a city where being homeless can often cost as much as staying housed. A night in an SRO usually runs around $60, Gitin points out, while constantly having to eat out for lack of a kitchen inflates what is an already high cost of living. For nights without a roof, he says, there's the local Carl's Jr. -- or a long bus ride with no particular stop.

New America Media's Donny Lumpkins contributed to this article.