10-19-2019  10:37 pm   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Washington State to Vote on Affirmative Action Referendum

More than two decades after voters banned affirmative action, the question of whether one's minority status should be considered in state employment, contracting, colleges admissions is back on the ballot

Merkley Introduces Legislation that Protects Access to Health Care for Those Who Cannot Afford Bail

Under current law, individuals in custody who have not been convicted of a crime are denied Medicare, Medicaid, and veterans’ benefits

New County Hire Aims to Build Trust, Transparency Between Community and Public Safety Officials

Leneice Rice will serve as a liaison focused on documenting and reporting feedback from a community whose faith in law enforcement has been tested

Hank Willis Thomas Exhibit Opens at Portland Art Museum

One of the most important conceptual artists of our time, his works examine the representation of race and the politics of visual culture

NEWS BRIEFS

GFO Offers African Americans Help in Solving Family Mysteries

The Genealogical Forum of Oregon is holding an African American Special Interest Group Saturday, Oct. 19 ...

Third Annual NAMC-WA Gala Features Leader on Minority Business Development

The topic of the Washington Chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors' event was 'Community and Collaboration' ...

Building Bridges Event Aims to Strengthen Trust Between Communities

The 4th Annual Building Bridges of Understanding in Our Communities: Confronting Hate will be held in Tigard on...

The Black Man Project Kicks Off National Tour in Seattle

The first in a series of interactive conversations focused on Black men and vulnerability takes place in Seattle on October 25 ...

Protesters Rally in Ashland to Demand 'Impeach Trump Now'

Activists are rallying in Ashland Sunday Oct, 13 to demand impeachment proceedings ...

Video shows coach disarming, embracing Oregon student

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Authorities have released a video that shows part of a former Oregon football star's successful effort to disarm a student who brought a shotgun to a Portland high school.The video released Friday by the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office shows Keanon Lowe and...

Parents guilty of starving 5-year-old daughter to death

BEND, Ore. (AP) — A jury has convicted a Redmond couple of starving their 5-year-old adopted daughter to death.The Bulletin reports by unanimous jury verdicts Friday after a weekslong trial, Sacora Horn-Garcia and Estevan Garcia were found guilty of murder by abuse and criminal...

Vaughn scores twice, Vandy upsets No. 22 Missouri 21-14

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Derek Mason wants it known he's the best coach for the Vanderbilt Commodores.Riley Neal came off the bench and threw a 21-yard touchdown to Cam Johnson with 8:57 left, and Vanderbilt upset No. 22 Missouri 21-14 on Saturday with a stifling defensive...

No. 22 Missouri heads to Vandy, 1st road trip since opener

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Missouri coach Barry Odom knows only too well the dangers of going on the road and how a few mistakes can prove very costly.While some of his players my not remember that stunning loss at Wyoming to open this season, Odom hasn't forgotten."We're going to treat it just...

OPINION

Atatiana Jefferson, Killed by Police Officer in Her Own Home

Atatiana Jefferson, a biology graduate who worked in the pharmaceutical industry and was contemplating becoming a doctor, lived a life of purpose that mattered ...

“Hell No!” That Is My Message to Those Who Would Divide Us 

Upon release from the South African jail, Nelson Mandela told UAW Local 600 members “It is you who have made the United States of America a superpower, a leader of the world" ...

Rep. Janelle Bynum Issues Response to the Latest Statement from Clackamas Town Center

State legislator questions official response after daughter questioned for ‘loitering’ in parking lot ...

Why Would HUD Gut Its Own Disparate Impact Rule?

"You can’t expand housing rights by limiting civil protections. The ’D’ in HUD doesn’t stand for ‘Discrimination’" ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

New Emmett Till marker dedicated to replace vandalized sign

GLENDORA, Miss. (AP) — A new bulletproof memorial to Emmett Till was dedicated Saturday in Mississippi after previous historical markers were repeatedly vandalized.The brutal slaying of the 14-year-old black teenager helped spur the civil rights movement more than 60 years ago.The...

Parents sue Virginia school district over racist 2017 video

HENRICO, Va. (AP) — The parents of a Virginia student who say their son was assaulted and bullied by his middle school football teammates in an incident captured on video two years ago are suing the school system.The video, which showed football players simulating sex acts on black students...

Team abandons FA Cup qualifier after racial abuse

LONDON (AP) — An FA Cup qualifier between Haringey Borough and Yeovil was abandoned Saturday when the home team walked off the field after one of its players was racially abused.Haringey, a London-based non-league club, walked off in the 64th minute after claims its Cameroonian goalkeeper...

ENTERTAINMENT

Adam Lambert: Happy to see more LGBTQ artists find success

NEW YORK (AP) — Adam Lambert, who rose on the music scene as the runner-up on "America Idol" in 2009, says he's happy to see more mainstream LGBTQ artists find major success."I think it's less taboo to be queer in the music industry now because there's so many cases you can point to like,...

Jane Fonda returns to civil disobedience for climate change

WASHINGTON (AP) — Inspired by the climate activism of a Swedish teenager, Jane Fonda says she's returning to civil disobedience nearly a half-century after she was last arrested at a protest.Fonda, known for her opposition to the Vietnam War, was one of 17 climate protesters arrested Friday...

Naomi Wolf and publisher part ways amid delay of new book

NEW YORK (AP) — Naomi Wolf and her U.S. publisher have split up amid a dispute over her latest book, "Outrages."Wolf and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announced separately Friday that they had "mutually and amicably agreed to part company" and that Houghton would not be releasing "Outrages."...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Altuve's HR in 9th sends Astros to World Series over Yankees

HOUSTON (AP) — Jose Altuve, the 5-foot-6 driving force of Houston, delivered a swing that will play in...

In many parts of Mexico, government ceded battle to cartels

EL AGUAJE, Mexico (AP) — The Mexican city of Culiacan lived under drug cartel terror for 12 hours as gang...

Impeachment inquiry puts spotlight on Perry, who shunned it

WASHINGTON (AP) — Long after more flamboyant colleagues flamed out of President Donald Trump's favor amid...

The Latest: Syria Kurds say they will withdraw from border

BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on Turkey's invasion of northern Syria (all times local):11:15 p.m.A senior Syrian...

South Sudan opposition leader returns to meet with president

JUBA, South Sudan (AP) — South Sudan opposition leader Riek Machar returned to the country Saturday to meet...

Ethiopia's Nobel-winning leader launches million-copy book

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Ethiopia's Nobel Peace Prize-winning prime minister is launching a book of his...

McMenamins
By 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.

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