California Homeless People Found Living In Deep Caves Stocked With Drugs

In a clear example of California's homelessness crisis, authorities found caves along the Tuolumne River where people had been living. These 20-foot-deep underground dwellings, reached by makeshift stairs, were filled with makeshift furniture and personal belongings, revealing the desperate measures some take for shelter. Located near Modesto, the caves were cleared over the weekend by police and volunteers from local homeless outreach organizations. Authorities expressed concern about safety risks from unstable structures and potential flooding from the nearby river.

"This particular area has been plagued by vagrancy and illegal camps, which have raised concerns due to the fact that these camps were actually caves dug into the riverbanks," the Modesto Police Department said in a statement.

"During the operation on Saturday, a total of 7,600 lbs of trash, as well as two truckloads and a trailer of garbage, were successfully removed from the area," the police department said.

While details about the number of people and the length of their stay are still emerging, the discovery highlights the dire need for affordable housing and support services for the state's growing homeless population.

The Modesto Police Department confirmed they are working with Pathways to Hope and other agencies to connect the former cave dwellers with resources and find them safer accommodations. However, officials acknowledge this is just one instance of a widespread problem.

California currently faces a severe housing shortage, with skyrocketing rental costs pushing more people onto the streets.

According to CNN, California has spent a stunning $17.5 billion trying to combat homelessness over just four years. But, in the same time frame, from 2018 to 2022, the state's homeless population actually grew. Half of all Americans living outside on the streets, federal data shows, live in California.

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