10-24-2021  4:32 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Portland-Based Footwear Designer Plans to Reopen the Only HBCU in Michigan

Dr. D'Wayne Edwards, a Portland-based designer, announced his plans to reopen the Lewis College of Business, the defunct HBCU in Detroit. 

$2.1M Penalty for Roofing Company Over Emission Violations

Malarkey Roofing Products was penalized after the company disclosed it may have been emitting a large amount of formaldehyde, a suspected carcinogen, since 2009.

Tool for Police Reform Rarely Used by Local Prosecutors

Brady Lists flag officers whose credibility is in question due to misconduct – a designation that must be shared with defense attorneys. Defense attorneys, public defenders, civil rights groups and some prosecutors are calling for an increased use of the lists.

Portland Parks & Recreation’s Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center (IFCC) Proposed as a Center for Black Arts and Culture

Feasibility Study for community-led vision moving forward thanks to Parks Local Option Levy

NEWS BRIEFS

Bootcamp for Prep Cooks Supplies Ingredients for Entry Into Food Service Career

Individuals interested in starting a career in food service have an exciting new choice – Prep Cook Bootcamp ...

WA BLM Demands Resignation of Criminally-charged Sheriff Troyer

"He is being charged with two crimes: false reporting and making a false statement when he said that newspaper deliverer Sedrick...

'A Dangerous Time': Portland Sees Record Homicides

Unlike previous years, more bystanders are being caught in the crossfire — from people mourning at vigils and sitting in cars to...

State Agency Inadvertently Releases Employees Vaccine Status

Oregon’s central administrative agency inadvertently released the COVID-19 vaccination status of more than 40,000 state employees to...

Simple Safety Tips for Trick-or-Treating After Fauci Greenlighted Halloween 2021

Halloween 2020 brought creative ways to trick or treat while minimizing the spread of infection (

Oregon State researcher suspected of sex crimes in Virginia

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon State University faculty researcher has been arrested on suspicion of sex crimes allegedly committed in Virginia. The Corvallis Gazette-Times reports that 66-year-old Brett Tyler was booked into Benton County Jail on Thursday, Oct. 7. ...

Transgender council member likely first in Washington state

ABERDEEN, Wash. (AP) — A crowd is pouring into a parking lot on Broadway Street in Aberdeen. People in booths are hawking homemade goods. There’s rainbow flags. Tweens with kitchen-sink dye jobs. Old folks and strollers. Everyone is cheering for the drag performers...

No. 21 Texas A&M runs over Missouri, 35-14

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher warned his team all week that it couldn’t afford a letdown after its upset of top-ranked Alabama. His message got through, as the 21st-ranked Aggies buried Missouri early in a 35-14 victory Saturday. “We preached it,...

No. 21 Texas A&M heads to Mizzou after 'Bama upset win

No. 21 Texas A&M (4-2, 1-2 SEC) at Missouri (3-3, 0-2), Saturday at noon EDT (SEC Network). Line: Texas A&M by 9 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Series record: Texas A&M leads 8-7. WHAT’S AT STAKE? ...

OPINION

How Food Became the Perfect Beachhead for Gentrification

What could be the downside of fresh veggies, homemade empanadas and a pop-up restaurant specializing in banh mis? ...

Homelessness, Houselessness in the Richest Country in the World: An Uncommon Logic

When and why did the United States of America chose the wealth of a few over the health, wealth, and well-being of so many ...

American Business Leaders Step Up to Fight Inequities in the South

With COVID-19 still an omnipresent concern and the country’s recovery still very much in jeopardy, individuals, families, and communities are struggling to deal with issues that have only been exacerbated by the pandemic. ...

Waters Statement on 20th Anniversary of September 11 Attacks

Twenty years ago today, our nation suffered devastating terrorist attacks on our soil and against our people that wholly and completely changed the world as we knew it. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Oklahoma lawmaker criticized for Asian American comment

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A Republican Oklahoma state senator is drawing criticism for referring to Asian Americans as “yellow families” during a legislative committee meeting on racial inequity. Sen. Dave Rader of Tulsa made the comment Wednesday to Oklahoma Policy Institute...

'Widespread' racial harassment found at Utah school district

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A federal civil rights investigation released Thursday found widespread racial harassment of Black and Asian American students at a Utah school district, including hundreds of documented uses of the N-word and other racial epithets over the last five years. ...

Oklahoma St. coach Gundy agrees to perpetual 5-year deal

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy has agreed to a new contract that will keep him on a perpetual five-year deal at his alma mater. The OSU/A&M Board of Regents has approved the recommendation from Oklahoma State president Dr. Kayse Shrum and Oklahoma State athletic director...

ENTERTAINMENT

In memoir, Katie Couric writes of feeling betrayed by Lauer

NEW YORK (AP) — On a summer day in the Hamptons last year, Katie Couric and her husband, John Molner, went out for a walk and saw a familiar white jeep drive by with Matt Lauer at the wheel. No waves, no hellos. Couric writes in her new memoir, “Going There,” that she...

Review: 'Ron's Gone Wrong' has the movie code all jumbled

There's a clear message in the new film “Ron’s Gone Wrong” and that message is to stop watching films like “Ron’s Gone Wrong.” A derivative tale about a middle schooler and his quirky computer sidekick, the animated film seems to want to preach we should all...

Caro exhibit 'Turn the Page' is a window into his world

NEW YORK (AP) — Days shy of his 86th birthday, Robert A. Caro has reached the point where his own life is a piece of history. The New-York Historical Society has established a permanent exhibit dedicated to Caro, winner of two Pulitzer Prizes and many other honors for his epic...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Is there a constitutional right to food? Mainers to decide

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Depending on whom you ask, Maine’s proposed “right to food” constitutional...

Obama sharply criticizes Youngkin in Va. governor's race

RICHMOND, Va (AP) — Former President Barack Obama offered a sharp rebuke of the Republican candidate for...

Vaccine mandates create conflict with defiant workers

BATH, Maine (AP) — Josh “Chevy” Chevalier is a third-generation shipbuilder who hasn't missed a day of work...

Norway intel agency: Kongsberg-type attack will happen again

HELSINKI (AP) — Norway’s domestic intelligence agency says that such attacks as the one in the town of...

Harrison Ford reunited with lost credit card in Sicily

MILAN (AP) — Harrison Ford lost his credit card during a stay in a beach town near Palermo,...

Russian COVID spike persists, setting new death record

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia is reporting a record high number of coronavirus infections and COVID-19 deaths as the...

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.

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