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Monday, June 16, 2008 12:29 AM

Tent City, U.S.A.

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In the wake of the housing crash, "tent cities" have been springing up in several places in California. The story is not that new. However, it has not received much mainstream press. Therefore, many are unaware this is even happening.

The quality of some of the videos is not that good. Two of the better ones are from international writers. By the way, if you have not yet seen any of these, you may be in for a shock. Let's take a look.

View Of America's Tent City, California Location Not Disclosed

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Tent City, Ontario California

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Ontario's homeless enclave becomes regional haven

ONTARIO - Nobody knows the exact population of Tent City, but the area has swelled beyond expectations.

The dusty, undeveloped city-owned parcel at Cucamonga Avenue and Jefferson Street is filled with tents, campers and makeshift shelters.

"It took on a life of its own," Mayor Paul Leon said. "It didn't occur to us it would grow to this size this fast, which reflects the need." The area, just west of L.A./Ontario International Airport, was created in July as a haven for the city's homeless. It has grown to include 300 to 400 people from throughout the region.

"It's growing and it's growing," said Carlos Villalobos, a Tent City resident the past four months. "And I haven't seen nobody leave." Villalobos said the encampment is popular because police, for the most part, leave people there alone. Police would typically harass homeless sleeping on the streets, he said. The city also provides water and bathrooms, and picks up trash. Churches regularly provide food, Villalobos said.

Ontario was lauded by some people for giving its homeless a place to stay, rather than chasing them out of town or ignoring them. But some Ontario residents are upset about the arrangement. "I understand something needs to be done for these people, but I don't think the answer is Tent City," said Antoinette Hernandez, a 30-year resident. "You're just asking for sickness, violence or other problems."

Eviction From Tent City, Ontario

Police "color coded" residents with wristbands in Ontario to decide who could stay and who had to leave, as noted in 'Ontario residents only' at Tent City

Officials begin thinning out the encampment, saying the city can provide space only for those who once lived there and can prove it.

Dozens of Ontario police and code enforcement officers descended upon the homeless encampment known as Tent City early Monday, separating those who could stay from those to be evicted.

Large, often confused, crowds formed ragged lines behind police barricades where officers handed out color-coded wristbands. Blue meant they were from Ontario and could remain. Orange indicated they had to provide more proof to avoid ejection, and white meant they had a week to leave.

Pattie Barnes, 47, who had her motor home towed away last week, shook with anger.

"They are tagging us because we are homeless," she said, staring at her orange wristband. "It feels like a concentration camp."

Even before the large-scale action Monday, police last week moved out parolees and towed about 20 dilapidated motor homes. A list of safety rules, including one banning pets, has been posted. The city says there is a threat of dog bites and possible disease from the animals.

The no-pet order caused widespread anger and tears Monday as some homeless people said they could not imagine life without their dogs. Many have three or four and vowed to leave Tent City before giving the dogs up.
Tent Cities Spring Up In Los Angeles

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Sacramento Homeless Upset Over Tent City Eviction

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Tent City Undisclosed Southern California Location

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Two garden hoses and six outhouses for 350+ people. The music on this one is particularly depressing.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock
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