02-08-2023  5:52 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Oregon Governor Tina Kotek: Agency Leaders Used Jobs for Personal Gain

Kotek on Wednesday asked the board of commissioners of the state's marijuana and alcohol regulating authority to remove its executive director and other leaders

Arrest Made in Stolen Yacht Rescue, 'Goonies' Fish Incident

Oregon police called it a series of “really odd” events along the Pacific Northwest coast spanning 48 hours that concluded Friday night with the arrest of a Canadian man.

Portland Cop Fired for Leaking False Allegations Against City Commissioner Reinstated

Mayor Ted Wheeler fired Brian Hunzeker after he leaked a false complaint saying city Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty had been involved in a hit-and-run crash.

Hundreds of Portland City Workers on Strike for Better Pay

Workers represented by the union Laborers’ Local 483 have been without a contract since June. Negotiations over a new four-year deal broke down in December

NEWS BRIEFS

Open Call for PNW Emerging Artists

'Timescape' submissions due March 15 ...

Merkley Applauds President Biden’s 2023 State of the Union Address: America is Stronger When We Come Together to Lift Everyone Up

If there’s one takeaway tonight that will stick with me, it’s how much stronger our country can be when our leaders focus on...

Washington State Arts Commission and Department of Veteran Affairs Partner to Support Veterans Through the Arts

0,000 in grants will support arts programming across four Veteran Homes ...

The Black Business Association of Oregon Hires its First Communications Director

Previously, Sommer Martin was director of downtown marketing for the Portland Business Alliance ...

Allen Temple C.M.E. Church Announces Annual Unsung Heroes & Heroines Award Luncheon

The purpose of the award is to acknowledge and honor individuals and/or organizations who are unsung heroes/heroines who make a...

Court upholds Wash. residency requirement for pot industry

SEATTLE (AP) — A U.S. judge has upheld Washington's residency requirement for involvement in the state's legal cannabis industry — a decision at odds with a federal appeals court ruling concerning a similar requirement in Maine. A man who co-owns a chain of Washington cannabis...

Former Maui official gets 10 years for taking [scripts/homepage/home.php]M in bribes

HONOLULU (AP) — A former Maui County official was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in prison for accepting [scripts/homepage/home.php] million in bribes from a Honolulu businessman in one of the biggest bribery cases in Hawaii history. Stewart Olani Stant, who was a wastewater manager and the director of...

Missouri has 4 in double figures, beats South Carolina 83-74

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Kobe Brown scored 19 points to lead four in double figures as Missouri rolled past South Carolina 83-74 on Tuesday night. Missouri (18-6, 6-5 SEC), which rebounded from a 63-52 loss at Mississippi State, has won four of its last five games while South Carolina...

DeVries scores 32 as Drake downs Murray State 92-68

MURRAY, Ky. (AP) — Tucker DeVries' 32 points led Drake over Murray State 92-68 on Tuesday night. DeVries also contributed six rebounds for the Bulldogs (20-6, 11-4 Missouri Valley Conference). Roman Penn scored 18 points while going 7 of 12 and 4 of 5 from the free throw line, and...

OPINION

Updates That May Affect Your Tax Season

The IRS released a statement that taxpayers should brace themselves for small tax refunds due to no economic impact payments ...

Unaffordable Rental Costs Now Plague 44 Million People in Every State Economic Inequality Places Most Risk of Eviction on Blacks and the Poor

For the first time in more than two decades of research, every state now has renters who are nearing a financial breaking point in housing affordability. ...

The Beating and Murder of Mr. Tyre Nichols, A Black Man

Time to Abolish the Criminal Injustice System ...

It's Time to Irrigate the Fallow Ground of Minority Media Ownership

In 2023, one aspect of civil rights and racial justice that barely remains addressed is racial inclusion in media ownership. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Stella Jean quits Milan Fashion Week over lack of inclusion

MILAN (AP) — The only Black designer belonging to Italy’s fashion chamber withdrew Wednesday from this month’s Milan Fashion Week, alleging a lack of support for diversity and inclusion after the chamber “abandoned” a project to promote young designers of color working in Italy. ...

Arkansas Gov. Sanders slams Biden for 'woke fantasies'

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders painted a dystopian portrait of the country in her rebuttal to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address Tuesday night, leaning heavily into Republican culture war issues and accusing Biden of pursuing “woke fantasies.” ...

Douglas Emmett: Q4 Earnings Snapshot

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — Douglas Emmett Inc. (DEI) on Tuesday reported a key measure of profitability in its fourth quarter. The results did not meet Wall Street expectations. The Santa Monica, California-based real estate investment trust said it...

ENTERTAINMENT

Dudamel to become NY Philharmonic music director, leave LA

NEW YORK (AP) — Gustavo Dudamel will become music director of the New York Philharmonic for the 2026-27 season, ending a heralded tenure with the Los Angeles Philharmonic that began in 2009. The 42-year-old Venezuelan conductor agreed to a five-year contract as New York’s artistic...

U2's Bono, family of Tyre Nichols' among Jill Biden's guests

Rock star Bono, the family of Tyre Nichols and the 26-year-old who disarmed a gunman in last month’s Monterey Park, California, shooting were among the featured guests sitting alongside first lady Jill Biden at Tuesday's State of the Union address. The guests were invited “because...

The Oscar nominee that says a lot just with its title

NEW YORK (AP) — Long before a bemused Riz Ahmed read its name on Oscar nominations morning, the title of Pamela Ribon’s short film has tended to have an effect on those who hear it. Like when Ribon went to pick up her festival credential at SXSW in Austin, Texas, shortly before premiering her...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Will Ferrell, Alicia Silverstone star in Super Bowl ads

NEW YORK (AP) — The Super Bowl is advertising's biggest, glitziest stage. Big name advertisers...

Scoring King: James passes Abdul-Jabbar for NBA points mark

LeBron James got the first official statistic of his NBA career on a rebound. His next entry on the stat sheet was...

Primary care a hot target; CVS spends .6B on Oak Street

Big money is pouring into primary care clinics as the nation’s health care giants hunt for ways to cut costs by...

Danish queen to undergo 'major back surgery'

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II, whose half-century reign makes her Europe’s...

Blaze at US drone plant in Latvia; arson not suspected

HELSINKI (AP) — Firefighters worked for a second day Wednesday to fully extinguish a blaze at a U.S. company’s...

Live Updates | Turkey, Syria quake is deadliest since 2015

The catastrophic earthquake that razed thousands of buildings in Turkey and Syria became one of the deadliest...

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.

MLK Breakfast 2023

Photos from The Skanner Foundation's 37th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast.