Rural youth homelessness, according to government records, is on the rise in California. The California Department of Education (DOE) reports that the while the number of homeless young people increased 20 percent statewide from 2014 to 2016, the rate of young homeless people in many rural areas jumped more significantly.
On a sunny fall day, Santos Obedoza approaches a fire hydrant on the Upper Lake Rancheria here in Northern California. With wrench in hand, he gingerly begins turning the hydrant’s lock and valve to open and flush them. In minutes, the water gushes across the road.
In a recent housing study, researchers say that California lawmakers need to allow for more homebuilding, particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area. In Sonoma County, the need for affordable housing is particularly acute but, some say, residents living in the mostly rural county are uneasy with more people moving to and living in the region.