In Too Close to the Edge, Susan Dunlap used the now defunct Rainbow Village as part of the plot of her book. Rainbow village was a sanctioned camp for homeless people with RV’s. It really was located in a beautiful spot with views across the bay. It was Berkeley’s attempt to help the homeless.
After a murder, and complaints from neighboring businesses, the tenants at Rainbow Village were evicted and the encampment closed. In my visit there, we did spot a few people here and there living in their cars, but the motorhomes and trailers were gone.
Berkeley, like many cities in California, is facing an affordable housing crisis. Cheap rent just doesn’t exist anymore. The flop houses like those described in Dunlap’s books just don’t exist. There are a myriad of reasons that can cause someone to be homeless, but not being able to find someplace affordable is a major one. Tent cities pop up, generating complaints that force action, vacated only to pop up again.