By Peter Cutler
Sedona News (June 17, 2021) I know it is seemingly a different topic, but I would also like to write something about the homeless situation in Sedona, especially about those who are working here full time and still living in their cars after more than a year because they cannot find affordable housing.
I have some solutions I would like to suggest that people seem to resonate with.
Much of it is a solution to the serious problem of corporations and wealthy investors buying up houses in Sedona and turning them into Air B&Bs. It is decimating neighborhoods like mine on Birch Blvd.
As you know up until 5 or 6 years ago the people who worked here rented rooms in shared houses for rents they could afford.
There were always rooms available and this helped to create a strong community and wonderful neighborhoods. Within the last 5 years almost all of those became Air B&Bs at over 4 times the rents.
This has had a devastating effect on the neighborhoods. Birch had its first home invasion/break-in yesterday. The first ever, but I think the way things are going it will not be the last.
Neighbors here all look after each other and are wonderful neighbors, friendly and helpful.
But now 50% of the houses are Air B&Bs and it only took 5 years for this to happen. I get emails and calls from realtors every week asking me to sell my house because there are more investors than houses now.
I know there are different opinions and agendas around this. Those with investments in Air B&Bs say, “Suck it up or leave. Stop complaining. This is progress. We can do what we want and there is nothing you can do about it.”
But they are wrong. There is. The city of Sedona could sue the state for the Air B&B law showing plenty of cause and damages.
It is the responsibility of town governance to take care of their citizens, not only those who are profiting from this. So far they have not. They say there is nothing they can do, but this is clearly not true.
The corporatization of Sedona is not helping the quality of life. It never does.
There are plenty of promises and in every place I’ve seen they never come to pass. The only recourse for those suffering from companies dumping toxic chemicals in their drinking water has been the courts and they have been successful.
The same thing can be true for the Air B&B issues affecting not just Sedona but popular tourist destinations all over the world. Right now it’s still full steam ahead.
This has become one of the most serious issues Sedona has ever faced and it’s not going to get better until people do something. It doesn’t seem we can rely on the town management and elected officials in their current status.
Too true. People are living out of their cars in Sedona. So sad. We are supposed to be a giving and loving city. It’s so sad watching them begging on corners and wandering about.
A couple of years ago, I was totally sucked in by a very nice homeless couple. I had hired them to clean up my home and yard and over the course of a few months we became friends – even to the point that I would sometimes let them stay in the guest house or park their RV in my driveway overnight.
As I got to know this couple better, I found out they left their 5 kids in Colorado because they “were called to Sedona.” The eldest child was 14, the youngest was 4. I was absolutely shocked that someone would purposely quit a well-paying job and chose to be homeless in Sedona while leaving their family with older family members because they felt they “were called” here.
My husband got job interviews for both husband and wife in industries they had worked before. We bought them new clothes for the interviews and loan them our car so they would not be late. They never showed up for the job interview. When I asked them why they failed to show up, they said, “we don’t want anyone to tell us what to do.”
This is when we began to distance ourselves from this couple. Meanwhile, just before COVID hit, my husband and I had a small party on New Year’s. When I went to my liquor cabinet, I noticed that all the bottles of booze were empty, except maybe a shot or two in each. I flashed back to the wife of the couple who always showed up to clean house with a big gulp cup. Apparently she poured the contents of one bottle after another into this cup – stealing liquor. I wish she would have just asked – because had she done so, I would have just given her a bottle or two. But after that I knew I could no longer trust her.
My husband complained of missing tools and missing clothes. That’s when we cut all ties knowing that this couple could not be trusted – and that they were alcoholic and addicts. Unfortunately, I recommended this couple to a friend and my friend complained of missing items and shoddy work, saying they showed up high, then worked for an hour or two and demanded $25/hr leaving work unfinished.
A friend of mine was recovering from cancer surgery and called a local homeless group to hire someone to help her — as a sign of goodwill toward someone down and out. A homeless guy was recommended and promptly showed up — helped her for about two weeks, while staying rent-free in her guest quarters. This guy had free reign of her property and for a while, everything seemed to be working out well. But one day when my friend had returned from the doctor, she found that her hired hand had left – taking her MacBook Pro computer, bike, jewelry, cash, and other things of value, and pain medications. She was unable to get those medications refilled due to draconian laws, and she had no money to buy groceries or pay bills. My friend contacted the woman at the homeless group who had referred this guy, but the woman said that she would not disclose where he was because “she didn’t want him to get into trouble.”
I could go on and on with stories about the homeless in the area — most have addiction issues and prey upon the kindness of the citizens here. In our neighborhood too, we are locking our doors as the vagrancy in the streets grows as the more and more “homeless resources” are made available by city government.
I have seen vans full of homeless come into town where they are dropped off at grocery stores and shopping centers to panhandle and beg for money. I have even pulled over and offered a few a job, but they always refuse because they don’t want to work – they just want money to feed their addictions.
I have been out Rd 525 and 89B to see boondockers and vacationing families camp next to tweakers and drunks. I hiked Secret Canyon recently and the amount of trash and human feces was enough to turn my stomach.
Meanwhile, the pretend president has opened the borders and hundreds of thousands are being welcomed in and given homes, clothing and food stamps. Meanwhile, our veterans can’t even get a doctor’s appointment. Meanwhile, hard working citizens can’t find an affordable place to live.
First we must restrict handouts and encourage the homeless to seek help for their addictions. Secondly, we must close the borders and begin work programs for those homeless who wish to work and better themselves. Next is to offer education programs to help transition homeless into valuable members of society.
These things can be done without infringing on property rights of homeowners. Sedona needs to change Airbnb rental rules to allow only those Airbnbs where the homeowner is present on the property. I know one guy who has 6 rental properties that he rents out as Airbnbs. Subletting rental properties by non-home owners should not be allowed, period. I see homes being built as home-hotels. Again, this practice should only be allowed if the homeowner will also be ON property. Lastly. the city should have a program to help first time home buyers purchase for 2% down and be open to only those working in Sedona who would otherwise be unable to afford a home.
But stop coddling the homeless. The majority are addicts, manipulators, and users.
I would not say the majority. I do know people who are working full time and living in cars. One did just find a room for rent and I am very happy for that. And I am sorry for your experiences. Like everyone else, people who are homeless are a mixed bag. They are not all the same. I had a lot of experience with homeless in the city. Some are mentally ill, some are alcoholics and drug addicts. Some simply had bad fortune.
The situation in Sedona has changed dramatically from even five years ago. When I moved here ten years ago, there were multiple rooms for rent in people’s houses that were very affordable. That’s how I lived for the first 4 years. Over the past five years, most of those affordable room rents are gone, replaced primarily by Air B&Bs at 4 or 5 times the rent. it has created the perfect storm.
That’s a fantastic FICTION spectacular story ypu came up with…… Keep the hits coming JB!! lol
Just COVID vaxxx the homeless. That should do it. In about 2 years there will be no more homeless and more homes will open up for those awake enough to see it’s a bioweapon = and a perfect killing machine.
Response to JB
Homeless – Limit what you do for homeless – don’t take them home
Some cities (not ours) encourage buying vouchers for them for food, not liquor
“pretend president” We do not have a “pretend president” we have a president – President Joe Biden. All because the other guy keeps saying he won, he did not. He let over 60 courts look at the “evidence” of fraud and irregularities. He won one (1) case. The law and order former president does not believe in the law when it differs from his perceived reality. He does not believe in order either. The bragging former president is backtracking on taking credit for the January 6th Insurrection. So much for a former president who just said he supports democracy. Brag, blame, lie – that is a lie. He does not support democracy.
Border – The border has always been there during every presidential tenure. So why is it now the current real president’s problem? Every president will do something. Will this president do enough and what is enough? I don’t know. What did the last president do or want to do? Answer – build a wall at the Mexicans’ expense (as announced during the 2016 inauguration and during his campaign). How did that work out? It didn’t. A few hundred miles were built – most of which was actually rebuilt because many portions were walls that were already there. And Mexico did not pay for it. We did.
How is it living in a world of your own?
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner distance themselves from the former President and his constant complaints
CNN reporter: Jared and Ivanka have made a calculated decision
(CNN)With each passing day away from Washington, former President Donald Trump’s grievances continue unabated. And those complaints appear to be driving away two of the people who were closest to him during his White House tenure: his daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
Sometimes the former President complains for several hours about the “stolen” 2020 election. Other times, his frustrations emerge in fits and starts — more likely when he is discussing his hopeful return to national politics. And while he often has a rotating audience of cheering listeners, the gap between Trump and his daughter and son-in-law grows wider by the week, according to 12 former Trump White House officials, former administration officials, family friends, acquaintances and members of Trump’s team who spoke with CNN about changes to the former President’s current inner circle.
A large part of the reason for the separation is Trump’s constant harping on the past and his inability to move on. The former President has also started to question the role that Kushner — one of the few people who were able to stay close to Trump throughout his two presidential campaigns and White House tenure — has played in his presidential legacy.
Ivanka Trump has also struggled to undo the entanglements caused by the years at her father’s side in the White House, as she seeks a less complicated life for her family, according to two acquaintances.
They described her as having to walk a fine line between embracing her father and distancing herself from his election lies.
JB Sedona’s world suddenly shriveled into a dismal state ever since the Jan. 6th boil. The demise is rolling downhill at an ever faster pace. Trump’s period of self serving happiness is past history. It was a sickly time in an otherwise excellent great American history.
It is a new day. Realism returned.
Can’t have a decent conversation with a closed mind.
Cognitive dissonance is a scary thing.
Closed mind like you JB ????? Listen to CNN’s reporting as was just posted above by Mr. Johnson that Evanka and Jared want no part of your dasperate buddy DJT.
Amazing stupidity on your part. Do you think we believe you any more ? But then most of us have brains and are skilled in using them.
Prion diseases will kill billions. Spike proteins are prions. Its going to be horrific.
The COVID vaccine is a death sentence. Prove me wrong.
Archie, we don’t have to prove you wrong. You do it so well all by yourself.
In case some believe Archie Mendez they need to know the basis for his negative claim is speculation and not valid testing. That from Dr. Fauci a respected scientist and no falsehood monger.
John from the real world.
I guess it is obvious, reading many of the comments, that the education of our history as a nation has sorely been missed out on, at least by a large number of people. When I was in school we had Civics courses and were challenged even by our English teachers to write essays on our Unalienable Rights. Sadly, these areas are not so available in our school systems these days and the result is that a lot of people have absolutely no idea of the difference between the President/CEO of United States Corporation and the President of the Constitutional United States as a Republic. They are indeed different, and by all reports, the United States Corp. actually may have ended in 1999 and is reportedlly bankrupt as of 2018.
But please, don’t take my word for anything as I, too, could be mis-informed. Do your own research. This is the root of the claims that Joe Biden is a pretend president. When you start looking into the real history and watch how it all came about – you will then look at public media like CNN (as has been mentioned here in comments) in a somewhat different light. I have researched a lot and still see that there is a whole lot more to be learned about our narrative history.
There are those in our community who know and understand the laws and structures in place here in Sedona and our state a whole lot better than I. I appreciate the possibility of solutions that come from these areas – as they can lead me into my own research / search for truth / validity of possibility, etc.
As stated, many come to homelessness by various routes and kindness is sometimes met with disappointment. Our lives have been conditioned and programmed in so many ways that it is easy to see how some fall prey and get trapped in harmful addictions (not only of the chemical drug kind).
Our community is made up of diversity – and it is this that may help us to find viable solutions. Some needs are in the moment and some are for down the road.
When looking out at the larger picture – I see that what is white often is portrayed as black and what is black is often portrayed as white. The colors are meerly a way of showing opposites and not meant to indicate anything other than that.
We must cultivate discernment for ourselves – to find that which makes sense to us and not to be so easily lead by the emotional comments that are thrown around more as a way of desperately holding on to one’s own narrative (cognitive dissonance).
BTW – it is not only those tagged as homeless who may at times stick their hands in the cookie jar and steal – that is a common practice among bankers and other professions who until these days of awakening have previously been held in high regard by the masses. Labeling is a dangerous thing.
Individuals have an inate moral compass, however there are many more ways that it can be manipulated these days. It is up to each of us to find our own innate truth and not to give up that higher power to anyone outside of ourselves – whether they appear to be a source of so-called news or a person who may just be afraid and therefore not coming from a point of balance that supports clear thinking.
We are all free to believe whatever we want – just know, when expressing opinions openly in forums like this, and the data unfolding daily reveals a different picture … it may be time for each to re-examine everything we thought you knew. Step by step … unraveling the falses narratives that were layered for various reasons … the truth will set each of us free.
As to the possible solution to the B&B problems in our community – as presented by article author Peter Cutler – I will take that information and look further into it’s plausibility. Thank you, Peter.
Thank you, Suzanne. It is always wise to question all of our beliefs.
As to the B&Bs, I know many people who cannot find places to live in Sedona where 5 years ago they could. In fact, renting rooms in someone’s house was common and plentiful. I did it myself for the first five years I was here before I bought my current home.
Today 50% of the homes on my street (Birch Blvd.) are Air B&Bs that the house owner does not live in. It changes the quality of the neighborhood and it is a wonderful neighborhood. It’s still 50% and not 100%.
Real estate corporations as well as individual investors are buying up every house they can get because the Air B&B profit is very high. It is a better investment than the stock market. Although these corporations and investors are making a very high profit, the town of Sedona and its neighborhoods are paying a very high price.
Where there were many rooms available for very affordable rents in shared homes, now they are extremely hard to find. So far the town’s minimal and ineffective solutions have been to suggest but not require developers include some affordable units with rents that are actually far from affordable for most of the people who work here. That’s not going to help.
I believe the town could have and still can sue the state of Arizona and the Governor for the Air B&B law that stripped the town of any control. I find it hard to imagine they would not win. There is ample cause and verifiable documented damages. Most of us living here are very aware of this.
Many people who work here and live in their cars are victims of exactly this. The damage to our neighborhood and communities is another price we pay.
The Air B&Bs do attract more tourists for the 2 or 3 days they stay. Many are already booked a year in advance. Those who make their living off these tourists support the Air B&Bs and put pressure on the town to keep and increase them. That is most likely why the town has not sued and probably will not unless new people are elected who care about the citizens of the town, the town, its communities, and the land itself. So far that is clearly not the case. As in most cases in our country and government money takes a priority over life. In fact, in America, the two are often confused.