STOCKTON, CA - Though there is room at the Stockton Homeless Shelter each night, the number of people living outside has risen. On Church Street in Stockton, several tents and other structures are the preferred choice of habitat.
"There's too many people [in the shelter]. It's way too crowded," said Michael Brown, who's been homeless for nearly 10 years.
Shelter director John Reynolds said it's not unusual for people to choose the streets, rather than stay in the shelter.
"In there it's kind of tight. You're probably two feet from the next guy, while out here you have more room. If you have all the comforts of home in the tent, you can't blame them," said Reynolds.
It's not legal to live on sidewalks in the City of Stockton, but police spokesman Pete Smith said the department only responds when complaints are filed, and there haven't been any complaints. Smith also said, due to budget cuts, available officers are generally working on more serious calls.
The homeless choose to live along Church Street, under Interstate Five, because it's just around the corner from Stockton's homeless assistance facility, St. Mary's Interfaith.
By Tim Daly, firstname.lastname@example.org