A former encampment. Fresno officials have dismantled three shantytowns.
Credit Kirk Siegler / NPR
Cinnamon, as she's called, serves as the de facto "mayor" of a homeless encampment of an estimated 60 people near Fresno's downtown. It's not a place for children, she says, but overall, as a single woman, she feels safe there.
Any day now, Fresno plans to raze a large homeless encampment that's grown up near downtown. The poor, farm-dependent city in California's Central Valley has one of the highest per capita homeless populations in the country.
In recent weeks, city officials there have dismantled three other sprawling shantytowns. The moves have displaced hundreds of people and sparked controversy.
Underneath Highway 180
Fresno is one of the poorest places in America. One in 4 people here live below the poverty line, and the recession only made things worse.