As of last year, there were 130,000 homeless people living in California.
The problem has become so severe that tourism is down in major cities including Los Angeles and San Francisco, and residents, like Novak, are shuttering businesses and selling their homes.
While the direct cause of the crisis is difficult to trace, it is due in large part to the swelling of property prices thanks to Silicon Valley and L.A. combined with a shortage of affordable options or outreach.
It has led to tent cities popping up across the state, often in expensive neighborhoods, because the homeless population simply has nowhere else to go.
Los Angeles – 36,000 homeless
A worrying report last year by the L.A. Times found that the city’s homeless population had gone up by 75 percent in the last six years.
It was due in large part to a huge number of residents losing homes and then struggling to compete with younger house-hunters who could afford more than them.
The count earlier this year for the city’s homeless population was 36,000 which marked a six percent increase on 2018.
Three quarters of that number are unsheltered, living on the street.
San Francisco – 8,011 homeless
In San Francisco, a city with a population of 884,363, nearly 10 percent is homeless at 8,011.
The majority (5,000) are living on the street.
San Francisco’s problem has been among the most documented and one of the most unsettling symptoms of it is the vast amount of human waste scattered around the city.
The excretion problem, coupled with the growing number of discarded, dirty needles, has also led to health scares.
Sacramento – 5,570 homeless
Over the last two years, the rate of homelessness has risen in Sacramento by 19 percent.
More than a tenth of that number, 688, were children, and 70 percent were living without shelter.