Chaos Up Close – The New York Times
Joe and Debbie Faillace opened a sandwich shop in Phoenix called Old Station Subs 37 years ago. They planned to expand the business and eventually sell it for enough money to retire. Instead, the homelessness crisis in the United States disrupted their dreams.
The Faillaces are not homeless themselves. But one of the largest homeless encampments in the country, with 1,100 people, appeared a few blocks from the store. My colleague Eli Saslow spent dozens of hours with the Faillaces, their employees and their customers at Old Station, which has become a front row seat to the chaos. People from the camp often come into the restaurant, tell fantastic stories and ask for money. A bullet recently hit a nearby fence.
Unrest surrounds them, Eli reported in an article published this weekend about the fate of the Faillaces. People argue, fight, sell and use drugs, largely in broad daylight. Last year, the police were called an average of eight times a day within a kilometer of the restaurant. Hundreds of crimes were reported, including four homicides. The remains of a 20 to 24 week old fetus were burned and left by a dumpster in November.
Now Debbie wants to leave the neighborhood. But the Faillaces can’t find anyone to buy their restaurant, even though they have regularly reduced the price.
“The people who suffer the most in these situations are those who are now living homeless on the streets,” Eli told me. “But it is also true that the increase in the number of homeless people has had dramatic repercussions in all cities. This is Joe and Debbie’s shop, where just existing in this restaurant has become incredibly difficult, but so is every other business in this neighborhood.
How did it become such a big problem? The United States is building too little affordable housing, experts say. Rising rates of poverty, mental illness and addiction also play a role.
The resulting homelessness crisis reshaped life not only in Phoenix, but also in other American cities, where encampments grew and became more common. “I realize here lately that we’re living in fucking hell,” Joe said. “We, them, inside, outside. Who does it work for? When does it stop?”
Read Eli’s story here – his first for The New York Times since coming from The Washington Post, where he won a Pulitzer Prize for a series of compelling stories about hunger in the United States
Related: “I can do work that feels human to me.” Eli reflects on the time he spent telling this story.
War in Ukraine
Vladimir Putin has made surprise visits to two Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine, Crimea and the city of Mariupol, a gesture of defiance after an international court issued an arrest warrant for him.
The warrant cites the deportations of Ukrainian children by Russia. Moscow signaled that they would continue.
Russian troops are closing in on the Ukrainian town of Bakhmut, in part sending unarmed soldiers to near-certain death.
Banning TikTok would help, but what’s really needed is a comprehensive law to protect Americans’ data, Peter Harrell And Tim Wu to write.
Narendra Modi’s modernizing vision is pushing India forward, but his authoritarian side is pushing it back, Nicholas Kristoff argue.
As Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, Chaim Topol helped American Jews see themselves, Sarah Wildman writing.
Sunday’s question: Should the Federal Reserve slow its rate hike?
Continuing to raise interest rates to fight subdued inflation isn’t worth hurting workers and rewarding risk-taking banks, says Robert Kuttner of The American Prospect. The Silicon Valley Bank collapse was primarily a failure of management and regulation, counters Catherine Rampell of the Washington Post, and inflation remains too high to subside.
Wirecutter Tips: The best Bluetooth headphones.
Lives Lived: Lance Reddick was a prolific actor who played a police commander in “The Wire” and had leading roles in the “John Wick” movie franchise. He died at age 60.
THE SUNDAY TIMES MAGAZINE
On the cover: The toll of the war can be seen inside a Ukrainian psychiatric hospital.
Recommendation: Old wives’ tales have a subversive wisdom.
Eat: A cabbage can be the star vegetable.
Read the full issue.
THE WEEK AHEAD
China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, will travel to Russia tomorrow to meet Putin.
The Supreme Court hears Arizona v. Navajo Nation tomorrow. It stems from a maze of earlier cases, but focuses primarily on the water needs of the Navajo Nation and the Colorado River.
The Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins Wednesday in the United States.
The Federal Reserve will decide on Wednesday whether to raise interest rates further.
The TikTok CEO will testify before Congress on Thursday.
What to cook this week