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The latest news from Robert Johnson on Business Insider

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    When the U.S. Navy wants to haul a few hundred tons of troops, material, or gear from ship to shore sailors use the Landing Craft Utility (LCU) or the Landing Craft Air Cushioned (LCAC) vehicle, a hovercraft.

    The two vessels are vastly different, yet they both provide the backbone of missions ranging from humanitarian relief to a full-blown beach invasion. We got up-close and personal with both crafts and the units that operate them.

    The LCAC Hovercraft

    LCAC Assault Craft Unit Four Above And Beyond Little Creek Norfolk 30At nearly 90 feet long the LCAC is a massive hovercraft whose operator must peg himself by four limbs to a yoke, and two foot rudders. Operating in six dimensions, like a helicopter pilot, the enlisted LCAC Craftmaster careens across water and land like an air-hockey puck.

    The LCU Landing Craft

    lcu2

    The LCU is old-school in every sense, but its navigation and electronics gear are continually upgraded. These were the boats dropping off Vietnam draftees on the shores on the Han river in the early 1970s.

    LCUs drop off 125 tons of cargo and hit the beach at about 14 mph, while the LCAC slides in at more than 46 mph carrying up to 75 tons.

    It's no wonder the two units, which are right next door to each other at the joint Expeditionary Base in Little Creek-Fort Story, have a bit of a heated rivalry based off Aesop's Fable number 226: The Tortoise and The Hare.

    LCU Craftmaster Chief Petty Officer Bright of LCU Unit 2, told Business Insider,"It may take us a bit longer to get there compared to the LCACs, but you know what happened to the Hare. Slow and easy, is best."

    Business Insider visited both units in early July and went out on the water with an LCAC team over Norfolk Bay. Here's what the day was like and how the U.S. military delivers its troops and goods onto shores across the world.

    Pulling up to the Navy's East Coast Hovercraft Unit in Little Creek, Virgina leaves quite an impression.



    Their hovercraft speeds in carrying 60 tons of material or troops at speeds in excess of 40 mph, straight from the water onto the beach.



    Assault Craft Unit Four calls itself the East Coast Hoppers.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Williston North Dakjota

    Advancements in pulling oil out of shale changed North Dakota forever in 2008, and no place is that change more evident than the city of Williston.

    Like a modern-day gold rush, workers have flocked to Williston for work and paychecks that can't be found anyplace else in the U.S. The hours on the job here ensure that even a modest hourly wage can bring in $100,000 a year doing anything from working a rig to driving a truck.

    But this economic largesse comes with a cost as the population has doubled in size since 2010, residents have been forced from their homes by doubling rents, and a transient workforce shifts the city's focus.

    When Business Insider went to Williston in March of 2012 the city had accepted the challenge before it, and the amount of work it would take to grow. The following photos show Williston's progress since our visit last year.

    Williston, North Dakota has gone from a conservative farming community to the epicenter of a 21st century oil boom in just a handful of years.



    When Business Insider was in Williston in early 2012, Lonnie's Roadhouse Cafe was still where locals and over-the-road truckers alike gathered for breakfast and news of the day.



    The diner is where locals go to talk about what has happened to their town since technology thrust it onto the forefront of America's oil shale boom.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Oahu Homeless Tent City On Beach 48

    When the governor of Hawaii announced his plan this week to buy the state's homeless one-way tickets to the continental U.S., it was the latest in a series of efforts aimed at curbing the Aloha State's massive homeless problem.

    Low wages and high-priced housing have given Hawaii the third-largest homeless population per capita in the country. More than 7,500 people live on Oahu's streets and beaches, but a large number of them are native Hawaiians and they don't want to go anywhere.

    The native communities in Hawaii are often the poorest and border toxic landfills, chemical research facilities, and pesticide test crops. Waianae is Oahu's largest native community and has more homeless than anywhere else in the state.

    Business Insider visited Waianae in mid-July and toured the largest tent city there. The following photos offer a glimpse of what life is like for the homeless in Hawaii.

    More than 700,000 people visited Hawaii in June 2013 and spent $1.3 billion in one month alone.



    Twelve hundred people a day visited during the first half of 2013 and spent $2.6 million every 24 hours.



    Hawaii's almost 8 million visitors spent more than $14 billion in 2012 and visited Oahu more than any other island.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Oracle Team USA America's Cup AC72 Sailboat San Francisco Bay 2013 20When Larry Ellison won the America's Cup in 2010 and chose San Francisco to host this year's race, he predicted the event would bring more than $1 billion to the city

    That prediction looks to have been wildly optimistic.

    This year's race has only four teams able to compete against Ellison's expensive new boats. Along with lawsuits, crashes, cheatingdisgruntled sponsors and the death of a well respected sailor — the crowds are not arriving as hoped.

    The city may actually be forced to pay $20 million in additional security and beefed up infrastructure, while protesters don't feel they should pay for something so few people enjoy.

    None of that changes the fact these boats are changing the way people travel across the water, and technology like this is what Silicon Valley is famous for.

    Regardless of the choppy controversy surrounding Team Oracle and the America's Cup this year we wanted to get up-close and personal, and that's exactly what we did when we spent a day with Ellison's sailing team watching how they operate their incredible boats.

    Everyone on Larry Ellison's 2013 America's Cup crew must pass their boss' 2010 trophy-winning USA 17 boat to get into the building.



    Even crew workouts are performed beneath the sail from the boat outside. The focus here is on winning September's upcoming race and little else.



    Designed specifically for this year's race, two new America's Cup 72 (AC72) boats sit on their carriages farther back into the 1,000-foot-long warehouse.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    CIWS Phalanx

    It wasn't long before Business Insider visited the Barry in late 2012 that the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer sat off Libya, launching 55 Tomahawk cruise missiles to suppress the county's air defense system during Operation Odyssey Dawn.

    Senior U.S. officials told NBC News that a strike on Syria, which would include the Barry, could happen as soon as Thursday, August 29, 2013.

    When we visited, the ship was preparing for its major five-year inspection before a Mediterranean deployment. None of the crew we spoke with last fall suspected they'd be sailing off Syria's coast right now, contemplating an attack on that country's military units allegedly responsible for an August 21 chemical attack on Syrian citizens. But there they are.

    The Navy invited Business Insider for a weekend of tests off the Atlantic in late 2012 onboard the USS Barry. The Navy arrived at 5 a.m. to put us on this water taxi by 7:00.



    After an hour of heaving seas and whipping saltwater spray, the 505-foot Arleigh Burke-class destroyer came into sight idling off the Virginia seaboard.



    At this point some visiting physicists realized how we'd be getting aboard.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Silicon Valley Homeless 2

    With about 180 beds, the Boccardo Regional Reception Center is the largest homeless shelter in the Silicon Valley. And with more than 7,000 people sleeping on the streets of San Jose every night, the need for it is dire.

    Boccardo doesn't just want to provide a bed for a night; its focus is on fighting homelessness through an array of services like assisting with mental illness, addiction, unemployment, transportation, and help securing long-term housing.

    Business Insider was invited inside the shelter to see how it all comes together, and to get an idea of what it's like to actually live in and use centers like this.

    Funded by local philanthropist James "Jim" Boccardo, the shelter serves everyone who needs its services: All first-timers are guaranteed shelter.



    Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, staff assist an endless flow of Silicon Valley's homeless.



    It was designed to look more like an apartment complex than a typical homeless shelter. Guests are provided toiletries and meals, and there is even a medical clinic on site offering basic screening, primary care, immunizations and even dental care.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Silicon Valley Homeless Encampment The Jungle San Jose  12

    The Jungle is the largest of many Silicon Valley homeless encampments, and the 65 acres bordering Coyote Creek in San Jose can be home to up to 175 people at a time.

    It is the largest homeless encampment in the continental United States. 

    From kids to convicts to moms and dads and the mentally ill, The Jungle is a desperate mix of people out of whatever options they might have once had.

    When Business Insider visited The Jungle over the course of a week in mid-July the city was getting ready to clear the homeless out again after they had just settled back in from a previous eviction.

    It's a back-and-forth with no easy answers as Silicon Valley's cost of living increases, but the jobs and affordable housing needed to keep its poorest residents inside and off the streets remains unseen.

    Welcome to the Jungle, the largest homeless camp in the Silicon Valley and continental United States.



    Business Insider visited The Jungle several times in mid-July to talk to the people who live here and see what their lives are like.



    The conditions here are deplorable.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    California's Silicon Valley is justifiably celebrated as the center of America's innovation economy.

    Some of the most beloved and successful companies in the world are located there, built by generations of entrepreneurs, investors, and engineers who have used their immense talents to change the world.

    And yet, despite Silicon Valley's remarkable wealth, talent, and inventions, the Valley has also failed to meet all of its residents' most basic needs, starting with food and shelter. The Valley, in fact, is home to the largest homeless camp in the continental United States, which is located in a middle-class neighborhood in San Jose.

    In Silicon Valley, the gap between a company like Google and a vast homeless camp like "The Jungle" is called The Great Divide.

    Business Insider went to Silicon Valley and San Francisco last month to learn more about The Great Divide.

    We were surprised every step of the way by the courage of those on the streets and the generosity of individuals and corporations throughout Silicon Valley.

    The infographic below is followed by some photos that show just how close to home this problem hits. jungle graphic07 copyedited

    Silicon Valley is best known for good jobs ...



    ... great education ...



    ... sprawling homes ...



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    When Ed was discharged from the Army in 1975 he had a difficult time finding his place in civilian life. Only after spending time in prison did he find his way here to the Boccardo Regional Reception Center in San Jose and finally put his life back on the right track.

    "My youngest granddaughter told me I'm not doing anything and I should be in school," Ed says. "So I'm taking business classes at a community college while I work my way out of here."

    The room Ed shares with another veteran is unlike the rest of the shelter: The pair can come and go as they please, and the room opens onto a manicured courtyard with a patio set, weight bench, garden, and a gated wall that only vets and staff  have a key to open.

    "This has been home for nearly two years," Ed says. "But I'm ready to move on. No way I could have done this without the help they've given me."

    He nods at the two women from the shelter providing us the tour. They smile and shake their heads. "No Ed," one of them says. "This was all you."

    Ed was in the Vietnam conflict during his stint in the Army and was discharged nearly 40 years ago.

    San Jose Silicon Valley Homeless Profile Photographs 40

    The Department of Veterans Affairs provides EHC Lifebuilders in San Jose with funds for rooms like this for Ed and other vets for up to two years.

    San Jose Silicon Valley Homeless Profile Photographs 41

    The vets are assigned case workers who help them outline their goals, find employment, and prepare for the future.

    San Jose Silicon Valley Homeless Profile Photographs 45

    Ed gave his granddaughter some money to go to a concert and the girl picked up this patch for him while she was there. "I can't wait to have a place of my own for my family to visit," he says.

    San Jose Silicon Valley Homeless Profile Photographs 47

    See our full report on the Silicon Valley homeless problem.

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    Mama red Silicon Valley's Homeless Encampment The Jungle 2

    When Mama Red lost her Felton, Calif., flower shop 18 years ago, all of her savings went with it. She ended up homeless when she turned to California's shelter network and hated it.

    "Living in shelters is like being in jail," she told Business Insider in mid-July. When we visited her in San Jose's homeless encampment called "The Jungle," the smell of rotting flesh saturated the air. "It's a raccoon," she said, pointing to a shopping cart behind her.

    The list of shelter rules drove Mama Red to sleep briefly behind a gas station and from there to a freeway ramp. Five years ago she moved into The Jungle and says she has no regrets.

    With the stench of a rotting raccoon in the shopping cart behind her, Mama Red explains how she lost her floral business 18 years ago. She chose to live on the streets instead of a shelter.



    She's been living in The Jungle for five years. Her pregnant daughter had been staying with her but was picked up by police for a drug violation.



    Red fought to hold onto this spot after police came in and swept the camp clean last April.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    InnVision Shelter Network Single Moms 1

    Cecilia and Carol live at an InnVision shelter in San Jose, California. The shelter is intended for families on a lower rung of the transitional housing ladder, but they ended up here after a fire forced them out of the shelter for women and kids they were living in.

    Their new InnVision shelter is designed as one of the first steps into the shelter system and its rules are meant to help move people along to "next step" shelters like the one Cecilia and Carol were forced out of due to a fire.

    "We are the homeless, homeless," Cecilia says, straightening the neckline of her bright pink shirt.

    [Click here to read about the Vietnam Vet who pulled it together at a shelter]

    InnVision Shelter Network Single Moms 1 2

    Both mothers hold down jobs.

    Cecilia works at an orthodontist's office, and while they provided her braces, they do not offer full-time work or benefits. Carol works nights at a local grocery store and stays with her two kids during the day. She walks 25 minutes along a poorly lit commercial street back to the shelter at midnight after catching the bus "home."

    Neither woman can take their kids out to dinner because curfew is 6:00 p.m. and watching movies or enjoying family time is tough with open living areas and the general commotion. Cecilia says it's most difficult on her 16-year-old daughter who dreams of becoming a pediatrician.

    "There are only so many things she can tell the kids at school; so many excuses she can make about why she can't go places or have them over. It's hard," Cecilia says, dabbing the corner of her eye with a tissue.

    SEE ALSO: Our full coverage of Silicon Valley's homeless

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    Dee had been out of prison for just 17 days when we met him at the Coyote Creek camp site he shared with long-time Silicon Valley homeless resident, GiGi. With the previous 16 years of his life spent in a California prison, Dee faces the next three years on parole with more uncertainty than ever.

    To meet the conditions of his release, Dee has to attend a series of weekly appointments including regular pursuit of employment. He was given $200 "gate money" when he was released and spent most of that on a set of clothes and a bus ticket.

    He has no money left and has to attend appointments with his parole officer to keep from getting "violated," which would put him back behind bars for at least another 12 months. The next year he'd have to try all over again.

    When Dee expressed his frustration at walking miles every day to find lunch, make appointments, and find work while still looking for a place to live, his parole officer said: "Go live in the creek. We got parolees there."

    Dee was in prison for 16 years and had been living here with GiGi less than two weeks when Business Insider met him in mid-July.

    Silicon Valley Prison Parolee Homeless 5

    Dee faces three years of supervised parole where he must make a series of weekly appointments with no money, no place to live, no transportation, and no cell phone. 

    Silicon Valley Prison Parolee Homeless 4Dee receives food stamps, or a CalFresh benefit card, that allows him to purchase about $200 in food a month. He's applying for general assistance and looks forward to the ~$150 that will provide him each month.

    Silicon Valley Prison Parolee Homeless 3

    Dee was temporarily living with GiGi, providing protection from GiGi's last boyfriend. In exchange, Gigi was teaching Dee the ins and outs of living in a homeless tent city. She moved into an apartment in early August, leaving Dee to fend for himself.

    Silicon Valley Prison Parolee Homeless 2

    Dee has family in Arkansas with whom he could stay, but California correctional officials refuse to initiate a transfer to a state without Dee first securing employment.

    Silicon Valley Prison Parolee Homeless 1

    "I miss one appointment, I'm violated," Dee says.

    "I have contact with the police, I'm violated."

    Dee continues, "What happens when the police sweep through here and clear us out? I'll tell you what, I'll be right back in prison. Just a matter of time."

    Silicon Valley Homeless San Jose Santa Clara San Francisco Counties 35

    Click here to read about "The Jungle" homeless camp in San Jose.

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    Latisha enjoyed a career in the medical field for years. When cutbacks forced her hours down, she lost her home and fell into life on the streets.

    She talked with Business Insider in mid-July, sitting by her tent in "The Jungle," an immense Silicon Valley homeless camp. The Jungle is dangerous and the nearest conveniences like running water and restrooms are more than a mile away.

    The embarrassment of being homeless sometimes keeps people from seeking help, and it's no different for Latisha, who prefers the hardship over telling her family what has happened to her life. 

    "I come from a very educated family," Latisha says. "One of my brothers is an engineer and the other is a doctor. I just couldn't bear the shame of them knowing about this."

    She gestures toward her tent and the small knickknacks she has hung on the tree shadowing her camp. 

    "Someday I'll get another job, get on with my life and my family will never know," she says.

    Latisha's been homeless for 13 years and as she speaks there's little doubt that her family's ignorance — and her dignity — may be the only things she has left that mean anything to her at all.

    Good shoes are a must in The Jungle. The hike in can be treacherous, and hauling heavy bottles filled with drinking water is a chore that never ends.

    San Jose Silicon Valley Homeless Profile Photographs 74

    Latisha didn't feel her camp was neat enough to allow many pictures of it when we were there. But the things strung about the camp's perimeter shows her struggle to maintain some sort of normalcy.

    San Jose Silicon Valley Homeless Profile Photographs 75

    She uses a tree like one might use a bookshelf, to display items important to her like the "Smile God loves you" placard.

    San Jose Silicon Valley Homeless Profile Photographs 73

    Click here to see our full coverage on homelessness in the Silicon Valley.

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    Life in California's Silicon Valley homeless encampment, “The Jungle,” is difficult on the best of days, but for women the challenges are especially daunting: Rapes are not uncommon.

    To better protect themselves, Patricia, 36, and Giggles, 55, live together in a shelter they've dug beneath the California scrub land.

    Though the effort provides them with some peace of mind, it is shelters like this that confound city officials who look at "entrenchment" as a thornier issue in the overall homeless problem plaguing Silicon Valley. The county sweeps The Jungle clean every few months and fills shelters like this in, but residents are hauling the dirt out again even before squad cars leave the scene.

    When we met Patricia and Giggles in mid-July, Patricia had just gotten back from raiding a dumpster for scrap metal and Giggles was doing some housekeeping. 

    Here's how they live.

    Giggles has been homeless for most of her life since she was 18 and says she has lived with a series of abusive men in between.

    Giggles San Jose Homeless Camp The Jungle 1

    Patricia has been homeless since she was 25 and earns money by selling scrap metal.

    Giggles San Jose Homeless Camp The Jungle 1 4

    The two of them built this underground shelter to offer some safety and security against attacks and theft.

    Giggles San Jose Homeless Camp The Jungle 1 3

    They wash their clothes here by the creek down the bank from their camp.

    Giggles San Jose Homeless Camp The Jungle 1 8

    Here, Giggles rakes up small pieces of trash around her walkway. While neither of them have been in homes for some time, they do their best to keep their camp clean. Giggles San Jose Homeless Camp The Jungle 1 6

    CLICK HERE to read more of Business Insider's reporting on the Silicon Valley homeless.

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    San Jose Silicon Valley Homeless Profile Photographs 57It's impossible to ignore the role drug abuse plays in contributing to Silicon Valley's more than 7,000 homeless residents. Sue worked at Hewlett Packard before a methamphetamine addiction tore her life apart and left her on the streets.

    She was only three classes shy of her undergraduate degree when she lost everything. It was only after being arrested and spending time in jail that she put her life back together and found the help she needed.

    Today, Sue shares a home donated to Silicon Valley shelter network InnVision with three other women, and is polishing her coding skills in the hope of landing a new job.

    She opened her home to Business Insider in mid-July and told us, "This is the happiest I've ever been."

    It wasn't long ago that Sue worked for HP in Silicon Valley making nearly six figures a year before a drug addiction tore her life apart and left her on the streets.



    Today she lives in a nice home in a quiet neighborhood. The residence was a private donation by the InnVision shelter network. InnVision provides homes to women making their way off the streets and back into society.



    The four-bedroom home is spacious.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Dan is homeless in Silicon Valley. When Dan's unemployment compensation ran out four years ago he managed to stay indoors by going room-to-room at the homes of friends and family until finding himself on the street in 2011.

    Business Insider met Dan in mid-July when a government medical team led us to his camp along a stretch of Coyote Creek in San Jose on a routine health visit.

    The camp backs up to a community garden and major thoroughfare, and despite the close proximity to residents, Dan says local law enforcement leaves the couple dozen homeless people here alone.

    "The police don't bother us," he says through a mouthful of granola bar given to him by a nurse. "And I really appreciate it."

    Dan gets by on $147 a month in general assistance and has no idea how he'll get off the street and back into a home. "I'd love to get housing," he tells us. "Man a hot shower ... yeah that'd be nice. Why can't the government get me a room?"

    Check out how Dan lives below, and click here for more on the Silicon Valley Homelessness.

    Dan lost his home in 2009 when his unemployment benefits ran out and he's been homeless for two years.

    San Jose Silicon Valley Homeless Profile Photographs 31

    This is Dan's camp along Coyote Creek in San Jose. Only steps away is a community garden and residential neighborhood.

    Coyote Creek Homeless San Jose 6

    The difference between the residents sleeping a few hundred feet away and where Troy sleeps is immense.

    Coyote Creek Homeless San Jose 4

    The medical team visiting Dan try to keep the homeless as healthy as possible, but taking care of yourself out here isn't easy.

    Coyote Creek Homeless San Jose 5

    The people here have a rapport with the medical team they have with no one else we've seen. Their concern is apparent and Dan is clearly enjoying this week's visit.

    Coyote Creek Homeless San Jose 3

    What's the most difficult part of being homeless?

    Coyote Creek Homeless San Jose 1

    "Homelessness has everything to do with intergalactic travel," Dan tells us, a fantasy that provides him a mental escape from the harsh realities he lives in.

    Coyote Creek Homeless San Jose 2

    Click here to see just how big of a problem Silicon Valley faces.

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    San Jose Silicon Valley Homeless Profile Photographs 2When GiGi was 14 years old, the IRS unearthed a small discrepancy in the accounts of her parents' small party supply store in downtown Palo Alto.

    See the photos »

    A small error with her mom's accounting left the family with $7,000 in missed taxes, penalties, and fees — the equivalent of nearly $20,000 in today's dollars — that sent the store down a path from which it was unable to recover.

    While her parents lost their business, what GiGi lost was arguably much worse.

    She'd been IQ tested a few years before the IRS came into her parents' life and scored well above genius level. Her parents were supportive, and working together they saw GiGi graduate high school with honors at 14 and get accepted to Stanford.

    With the scholarship money, grants, and loans against the collateral from her family's store would provide, GiGi prepared herself to launch into the world with everything she had. Unfortunately, with the IRS lien on the store and penalties piling up as her parents struggled to pay, GiGi never got the money she needed to make Stanford a reality.

    The closest she ever got to Stanford after that was sleeping on the San Jose Number 22 bus as it plied its way from Palo Alo to San Jose, then back again; a run it makes 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, which earned it the designation Hotel 22 from the areas homeless.

    When GiGi was done telling Business Insider her story, she broke out a bent cigarette and said: "I don't need a handout, but I really could use a hand up."

    GiGi has been on and off the streets since her family lost their business to the IRS when she was a teenager.



    She's lived in tents with abusive men, and throughout it all she says her dog Tara is the only thing that gave her reason to keep going.



    When we visited GiGi, she lived in this camp on Coyote Creek with a man named Dee who was just out of prison.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Silicon Valley Mansion In The Hills Santa Clara County Homelessness 1 3

    Silicon Valley has a serious homeless problem, despite the fact that the Valley is home to some of the richest zip codes in the nation.

    Over the past eight years the U.S. watched its homeless population decline by more than 130,000 people.

    That's a nearly 17 percent drop that flies in the face of Silicon valley's 8 percent increase in its homeless population over the last two years.

    Click here to see the photos »

    Not including San Francisco — which has a serious homeless problem of its own — the Silicon Valley stretches through the Santa Clara Valley down from Redwood City, through Palo Alto, Mountain View, and San Jose.

    What is causing the trend-bucking homelessness problem in the area? In addition to the rising cost of housing and lack of adequately paying jobs, we found that mental illness and substance abuse are problems in the Valley's homeless community like elsewhere in the country. Forty percent of the country's homeless suffer from substance abuse or mental illness and though the National Alliance on Mental Illness calls California's mentally ill housing the "gold standard," the state cut its mental health budget by 21 percent from 2009 to 2012. 

    "It's a perfect storm of homelessness," San Jose's Housing 1000's Jennifer Loving told Business Insider referring to the budget cuts, lack of allocated housing, recession-era tax breaks in the county, a lack of adequately paying jobs, a growing wealth gap, and rising home prices for sales and rentals.

    Barry Swenson Builders told Business Insider that Silicon Valley's residents can expect a 1,000-square-foot "tear down" home to sell for more than a million dollars. Then there's the rental market. A two-bedroom rental at the low end of the $1,800 to $4,800 market, can be tough to find. The apartments that do come to market often receive hundreds of applicants.

    Barry Swenson Builders also said it had more than 600 applications for a 29-unit complex they were building in Mountain View, just south of Palo Alto. Rental prices went from an all-time 2009 low to the highest-priced market in the U.S. in 2013.

    It is no wonder that in the midst of this collection of wealth and crazy real estate there is a serious problem with homelessness. More than 7,600 people are sleeping homeless on any given night in the Valley. In Palo Alto — ground zero for Silicon Valley wealth — the city council has made clear the 157 homeless have worn out their welcome.

    How homelessness is dealt with varies from city to city but is no less of an issue in each. Palo Alto has a robust police force and the city just passed legislation outlawing people from sleeping in their cars. The city also just imposed restrictions keeping homeless people from sleeping at the one place in town that has public showers. That center was just blocks from Larry Page's home.

    In San Jose, hundreds of police officers have quit for higher-paying  jobs. A lack of police presence combined with open land along creeks and trails has made San Jose a go-to destination for many of Silicon Valley's homeless. 

    Business Insider spent a week in mid-July visiting the Valley, talking to government workers, volunteers, non-profits, and the homeless residents themselves. We also spent a day on San Francisco Bay with Larry Ellison's Team Oracle to see what a pair of $10 million sailboats can really do. The contrast was stark.

    These photos and this series take a close look at the homelessness problem in the Silicon Valley, including profiles of former coders who lived on the streets, Vietnam Vets,working mothers who can't afford rent, and the people and organizations who are trying to affect change. 

    We looked more at the homeless issues in the South Bay compared to San Francisco, as the homeless problem in San Francisco proper is already a well-documented problem. 

    Author's note: In response to offers of assistance and requests for local information, contact Jennifer Loving at Housing 1000. The organization works closely with public and private agencies throughout the Santa Clara Valley.

    The Santa Clara Valley in Northern California is home to some of the largest tech companies in the world ...



    But Silicon Valley's per capita homeless population rivals any area in the nation.



    People live well here, as this Mount Hamilton home overlooking the Valley shows.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Troy The Jungle 3

    Walking the 65-acre homeless encampment called “The Jungle” in Silicon Valley with an outreach team of former homeless workers opens up a lot of doors — but not Troy's.

    Troy was reclined in a folding chair behind a green five-foot privacy screen when Business Insider met him in mid-July. He agreed to speak with us, but declined to let us into his camp.

    The outreach team asked Troy if he was interested in putting his name on the list for subsidized housing and he shook his head. “Nah,” he said, “This is the first time I haven't had a mortgage in my life. I'm good.”  

    Troy explained he'd lost his carpentry job nearly four years ago and finally settled here. His carpentry skills explained the elaborate fencing, shower and makeshift hut with a hinged door standing behind him.

    We weren't talking long when Troy said he'd had enough and told us to check out his treehouse 30-feet up in a tree behind us. “Climb it,” he said laughing. When we didn't reply, he continued: “It's there to stay. I'm a carpenter for Christ's Sake.”

    The Jungle in San Jose is filled with elaborate shelters and camps, but Troy's compound was unlike anything else around.



    Following the path and reading the screen, it was clear Troy had suffered some trespassers and was doing all he could to enforce some personal security.



    The farther we walked the more instructions there were. The police had swept the camp four months before so everything here had been built since then.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Downtown Streets Team 55 1

    Silicon Valley's homeless aren't completely without resources.

    The Downtown Streets Team (DST) helps homeless people get off the streets by putting them to work and allowing them to become self-sufficient.

    DST is a great example of the good that can happen when tech insiders turn their attention to a problem.

    Chris Richardson is DST's program director and is the first to admit he's an unlikely homeless advocate. "I grew up pretty privileged and didn't get much exposure to this," he says swinging his arm around at The Jungle where up to 175 homeless people live at any given time. "But my mom had a vision and we're doing what we can to make it a reality."

    Chris' mom, Eileen Richardson, was the first CEO of Napster and is a venture capitalist who volunteered with the homeless and realized it was a problem with a solution. Chris explains the family approach: "We come down to these camps three times a week and work with residents picking up trash and hauling out debris." 

    "In return," Chris says, the homeless "get food [and] housing vouchers and [access to] services that allow them to work their way into housing and back into society." The Streets Team members work in the camps and on the streets of Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, San Jose, and San Rafael. 

    DST's board includes prominent Stanford University officials and the Palo Alto Chief of Police. Chris tells us that their "participants earn everything they get from our organization. We're not a charity and that makes a huge difference to donors and to the people they help." 

    Chris Richardson coordinates teams of homeless "employees" throughout four Silicon Valley Cities to sweep streets, pick up trash, and perform janitorial work and other services in return for food vouchers and other necessities.



    DST members meet here at "The Jungle" three times a week where they haul away thousands of pounds of trash. The Jungle alone can generate several hundred pounds of trash per day, so there is always work.



    Because many members are, or were, homeless themselves, they command respect out here where the disconnect between those trying to help and those needing help can often be immense.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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