Hundreds of people are forced to set camp in the Mojave desert in response to the current housing crisis in Los Angeles County, VICE News reports.
Over 200 people have been asked to leave the city limits for the open desert, where they often end up struggling with extreme heat, temperature swings, and lack of food and water.
Individuals and groups of trailers without homes have relocated on unincorporated land beyond Lancaster City, north of Los Angeles, where they have been told by members of law enforcement they will not be “messed with” and have their camps ransacked or removed.
Unsheltered people who live in tents within the city limits are often “swept off the streets, and out of sight”, and make up for around 1% of the population in Lancaster. They are often considered as if they were criminals on the sole basis of being unhoused.
Reportedly, law enforcement officials regurarly crack down on homelessness by banning people from camping in certain spots within the city, giving citations for “loitering”, dismantling existing camps and destroying unhoused people’s tents and personal belongings. Those affected have to leave the city limits in order to avoid harassment.
The current average rent for an apartment in Lancaster City is around $1.771, but prices have been rising sharply as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic and present economy, with the number of people unable to afford housing increasing year by year.
Homelessness in America has been growing at an alarming rate ever since 2016, with the number of Americans living without homes, in shelters or on the street rising and including people of every race, ethnicity, gender, and age group.
Those who were forced to settle in the Mojave desert are not satisfied with their living conditions, reporting feelings of being secluded from the city, having difficulties getting access to food and drinks, and not being able to seek a job in order to get back on their feet.
Some individuals have reportedly spent over eight years living in such conditions and many of them rely heavily on the aid of volunteers who drive to the desert to bring them food and water.
Documentary: Living Homeless in the Desert
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