AMERICA’S TENT CITIES FOR THE HOMELESS
Though the overall number of homeless people in the United States has been in a slow decline in recent years, homelessness has risen sharply in larger cities. More than 500,000 people were homeless in the United States at the end of last year, according to a report by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Many who find themselves living on the streets find a level of community and security in homeless encampments—whether the tent cities are sanctioned or unofficial. Gathered here are images of some of these tent cities, from Seattle, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., St. Louis, Las Cruces, and Honolulu.
Though residents say they enjoy the stability of the camps, they still live in uncertainty, as many cities have clamped down in recent years, carrying out evictions and tearing down the tents.
Stacie McDonough, 51, poses for a portrait by her tent at a homeless motorhome and tent encampment near LAX airport in Los Angeles, California, on October 26, 2015. McDonough is an army veteran with a college degree who was recently made homeless. While Los Angeles is grappling with a massive homelessness problem, Mayor Eric Garcetti has proposed spending $100 million to combat the problem in the sprawling metropolis but stopped short of declaring a state of emergency.
A general view of the unsanctioned homeless tent encampment
Nickelsville (lower left) in Seattle, Washington, on October 8, 2015
Matt Hannahs, 32, with his son Devin, outside their tent by a wood fire in Nickelsville homeless tent encampment in Seattle on October 13, 2015. “Devin doesn’t view this as a negative thing, I mean being a little boy and resilient he looks at it as an adventure. Just meeting new people and seeing new things its basically like camping. I’ve always been really grateful that there is some place where you can come and go as you choose and there is safety in numbers. It’s like a big family and we look out for each other,” Hannahs said
In Washington, D.C., Owen Makel, 65, who has been homeless for nearly 14 years and has lived at this camp for four months, sits by his tent between the Watergate and Whitehurst Freeway on November 16, 2015. “You have to understand this: We people as homeless have lives, just like you all have lives. We don’t want to be out on the street but we don’t have an alternative. People have no other place to go,” Makel said. On November 20, 2015, the residents were evicted from the area, according to local reports.