The Crisis: There is mass homelessness crisis in California, due to unsustainable costs of living, the lack of affordable housing, and the insufficiency of supports for undocumented people within the state. In LA, there are nearly 60,000 homeless people. In the Alameda County (San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland), homelessness has increased by 43% over the past 5 years.To put the crisis into perspective, in 1906 there was an earthquake in San Francisco, which is regarded as one of the worst earthquakes of all time, which killed 3,000 people and rendered 400,000 people homeless. Over a three year period, more people will die on the streets of LA than those that died in that earthquake. However, very few supports and resources are being offered to address the homelessness crisis in LA and San Francisco. There is an immigration crisis within the state as well, due to the lack of supports for undocumented people living in California. Their situation is made more difficult due to the language barrier, as the majority of undocumented people in California speak Spanish, and services in America, such as education, health care, employment, etc., are offered only in English. There has also been a significant spike in xenophobia and racism against Latinx communities within this state, which has further intensified the hardships faced by immigrants to California.
Urban Refuge is currently launching in San Jose and the surrounding areas of California with the help of the International Rescue Committee in San Jose. A new partnership with professors and researchers at UC Berkeley encourages an upcoming expansion to San Francisco and the larger Bay Area ahead of our launch on the ground in October.