Homelessness is an issue that’s affecting virtually every part of the United States, but it’s nowhere quite as prevalent as in the state of California.
Streets in LA and San Francisco are full of tents, poop, and drug addicts as the homeless create shelter wherever they can.
But in Gavin Newsom’s California, Americans are becoming modern day cavemen.
Homeless encampment found in caves
A group of homeless people were recently found living inside fully furnished underground caves along the banks of a river 20 feet below street level.
The people were removed from a total of eight caves found along the banks of the Tuolumne River in Modesto, California.
When the police arrived, they emptied the caves of the people’s belongings, which included furniture and approximately 7,600 pounds of trash — enough to fill two trucks and a trailer.
Some of the caves had broken floor tiles, a homemade fireplace with a chimney, and walls decorated with murals.
“This particular area has been plagued by vagrancy and illegal camps, which have raised concerns due to the fact that these camps were actually caves dug into the riverbanks,” said the Modesto Police Department.
The discovery came as the city of Los Angeles conducts its annual homeless count, trying to get a more accurate picture of how many homeless people live in the city.
Last year, close to 75,500 people were found sleeping on the streets of Los Angeles County on any given night.
The people living in the caves had carved their own homemade stairs directly into the hillside that led to the living areas.
Resident Tracy Rojas told CBS that the caves had to be emptied for safety reasons: “If one of these were to collapse, it would be devastating. The whole thing would come down and go into the water.”
She added that the caves were “a hazard for not only the people who are living there but the people who are walking up there.”
Many of the caves the police discovered were fully furnished with bedding, food, and a makeshift mantelpiece along with drugs and weapons, according to a statement from Rojas.
“You can see the hooks on the wall where they had bottles and stuff hanging down. I think there needs to be more emphasis on the homeless. They are at the point where you can see they are desperate,” she said.
California is at a tipping point
While the discovery of the caves is shocking, it’s not the first time that police have had to go and clear them out.
According to volunteer Chris Guptill, “It’s already been proven that people will dig these out, so I don’t think filling them in with any material would work. We really don’t have a known solution on how to deal with it.”
Over 6,000 volunteers with the Homeless Services Authority are conducting a three-day count of homeless people in Los Angeles to determine how many people are unhoused and what type of health or physical health services they need.
LA County has witnessed a nine-percent rise in homelessness since 2022, and the problem has increased by 80 percent in the city of Los Angeles alone since 2015.
California has approximately one-third of all its homeless people in Los Angeles County, with other areas like San Jose, San Fransisco, and Oakland not far behind.
Five of California’s major metropolitan areas were featured in the top 10 of America’s worst-hit cities list for homelessness.
Informed American will keep you up-to-date on any developments to this ongoing story.