While social workers continue to report tens of thousands living on the city's streets, under freeway overpasses, and on islands in the usually dry riverbed, the homeless exodus from the nation's second largest city has begun in earnest. The impetus is a "forced housing" movement designed to push those without shelter into newly-opened lodgings without their consent.
"We didn't ask for 'forced housing', and it really wasn't created for our benefit," said Tumbler, who has lived under the 9th street overpass for nearly a decade. "The real beneficiaries are the 'NOT-for-profit' foundations that sprang up after the city and county ponied up $2 billion to get us off the streets and into the space the NON-profits are creating with all that dough. So, when the cops drive us out of the riverbed - claiming it's unsafe - and head us toward the nearest homeless shelter, we just keep going to another burg that's more congenial."
The two-billion-dollar sales tax increase was pushed through in an election where both dailies, the Herald and the Tribune, in collusion with do-gooders, slumlords, contractors and labor, refused to run opposition op-eds. The measure barely passed.
After the election, Non-profits sprung up like weeds throughout the county, taking their share of the largess approved by the voters. As cops cleared out homeless encampments on Skid Row, a few of the indigents moved into the lodgings available to them. Most, however, began to search for other places to pitch a tent or sleeping bag.
Pointing to the folks in his underpass encampment, Tumbler told The Spoof: "All the huddled masses want is a place to breathe free. We had it here. But at the Non-profits where we would be forced to live, we ain't free. You can't do this, you can't do that. We won't accept 'forced housing'."
A moment later, a crew of cops arrived and began collecting shopping carts, tarps, cans of food... and ordering Tumbler and his compatriots to head for the nearest 'forced housing'. Most gathered up what they could... and headed in a different direction.