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difficulty for refugees seeking a new life. but in many places, local communities are welcoming refugees a and providingng much-needed support. if you'd like to share your thoughts on this episode and learn more about what you can do to help immigrants find a place to call home, please visit linktv.org/trustdocs. ♪
be poor in a rich country. in a single night in 2017, there were more than half a million homeless people in the u.s. how did it come to this? if you only work hard enough, and are willing to keep learning, you can achieve anything. or so says the american dream. in 2014, the average income in the states was $66,100, which sounds quite high. but if you look a little closer, for half of the country's adults -- so around 117 million people
-- that figure was actually just $16,600 a year. and that income has barely changed in the last 30 years. yet over the same period, the country's wewealthiest 1% has sn its disposable personal income rise dramatically. reporter: they sleep in tentnts- if they can affoford one, that . there are already some 58,000 homeless people in los angeles county, and that number is rising. the extent of the crisis is most apparent in downtown l.a. >> thank you for being love inside of each and every single one of us, and let's spread that today guys, love conquers all, we appreciate you father, we love you. in jesus' holy name, amen.
reporter: this christian ngo distributes food. some of the homeless receive state aid and food stamps, but it doesn't get them very far. irwin lives on $30 a month. he's originally from chicago, but came to l.a. for the warm winters. irwin: i just hope they start having temporary jobs so we can at least get day labor around here, so we can have money to do our hygiene things, maybe try to get in touch with our families, you know. reporter: further north in hollywood, summer has set up camp on a side street. the 33-year-old left utah to try her luck in california. now all she owns is a bicycle and a few other things. she's been living on the streets for a year and a half. summer: the things that i have come into contact with are -- well, a lot of people are, you know, out of prison or jail, and
a lot of people that l live on e streets are drug users. and, you know, they are great people, like, i have really learned a lot from them and made some really good connections, but it's not the safest environment. reporter: summer was able to get by for a while with a waitressing job, but when she lost it, she had to move out of her apartment. that's not an uncommon situation for many here. l.a. is expensive. an average 70 square meter apartment in hollywood costs over $2000 a month. rising rents are actually making the city more attractive, says brian folb. the businessman leases offices and apartments in hollywood. he's seen more and more entertrtainment t companies me into the area in recent years.
but folb also complains that the homeless make his customers nervous. brain: they don't feel comfortable going out on the street to do their business or go out to lunch h or to go shopping and so forth. so we're getting a lot of pushback from businesses and people that have opted to move into the area feeling that maybe they made a mistake and maybe they need to make a change. reporter: the l.a. homeless services authority provides shelters and other housing services for the city's homeless. but it faces an uphill battle. the authority's communications director says thatat's down toa lack of political will. tom: there is just not enough housing that people who are on the lower end of the socio-economic scalele -- and n some cases have no assets whatsoever -- can access.
and unfortunately, it's overwhelmed the other aspects of the system, shelter in particular, and rapid re-housing. reporter: in november of 2016, l.a. residents voted to raise property taxes, with proceeds going to help the city create more affordable housing. the goal is to build about 10,000 residential units over the next decade. but there are almost six times that many homeless in the county. we visit the midnight mission in downtown los angeles. joey: this is our program participant dining hall, so people that live here in our various programs will eat here. reporter: the organization has been around for a century, providing meals, shelters and rehab programs for the homeless. manager joey weinert believes that every person who lives on the streets should get help tailored to their individual needs. joey: housing is definitely very important. that's top of the list, of
course, but taking somebody off the street and just putting them in housing, i don't think it's necessarily the answer without having some kind of treatment to bring them to being able to be a productive member of society. reporter: she's grown all too familiar with life on the streets of hollywood. now, summer from utah no longer believes anyone really cares what happens to her. summer: once you're down, the system keeps you down. and they don't want -- they say they want to help you, but they legitimately don't. they want to get you out of their way. i mean, even the cops told me yesterday, they were like, we hate you guys being like out here like this, and seeing this on our streets. and i am like, then do something about it. reporter: the police regularly evict the homeless woman from
her makeshift home, writing her a ticket for setting up a tent on the street. so far, she hasn't been able to find an emergency shelter. the glittering lights of hollywood don't promise hope or help for peoeople like summer. and nights on the street are fraught with danger. for the homeless, life in the city of angels is a daily struggle just to survive. $7.67 trillion.. that's almost twice germany's gdp. right now, jeff bezos, the founder of online shopping retailer amazon, is the world's richest man. and that's thanks partly to the stock markets. bezos owns 16% of amazon's shares, and theivalulue skyrockengng. in t t first days of ts yeyear his estiteted weth incncased
by $6 billio do bililonaires simply wk harder than n the rest of f us? >> ty y work hard. they don't wait for others to give them something, they get busy themselves. that's why the rich keep getting richer. reporter: if you believe the statistics shown on this so-called wealth clock, private wealth is increasing by 1 billllion euros a daday -- net n germany alonone. that sounds a bit abstract. even more abstract than this timepiece, the purpose of which is less to tell the time than to let the wearer flash their wealth. but is it really true that the rich are getting richer? it's not something rich people like to talk about. but someone who manages their wealth ought to know. i find an asset manager in the heart of berlin. i figure the job of an asset manager is to increase their clients' wealth. christian neuhaus soon puts me straight on ththat. his main t task is to prpreservs
clients' weaealth. ok, bubut are the rich getting richer? christian: yes, insofar as wealthy people have access to better asset management solutions and services, and get more professional advice thahn most. that lays the foundation for building up wealth on the assets side of the balance sheet. reporter: building up wealth -- so that's what you call it when the rich get richer. but the suitcase full of money is outdated. wealth thesese days looks different.t. try visiting any major car sw.w. luxury cars arare getting fast, more luxurious, and ever more expensive. and yet their sales are increasi worldwide >> you could buy one for two million euros. reporter: great news for car dealers. >> conspicuous spending has been frowned upon, but it's very resilient. new markets are opening up and
people seem to have the appetite to keep buying bigger, more expensive cars. reporter: so on the positive side, there at least seem to be more and more rich people getting richer. how do researchers explain this huge increase in the personal wealth of an ever growing elite? michael: there's been a series of political decisions over recent decades, regarding taxation, and that's brought huhuge benefits for r the weal. i think k that's the main fact. and we're not just talkiking abt individual ince e tax, but a ao a corporation tax that puts far less of a burden on companies. and in most industrialized countries, that has led to a significant increase of income and wealth at the very top. reporter: ththe makersrs of luy goods have to come up with ever wackier ideas to get their hands on customers' dollars. two mumultimilliononaires, whod originally agreed to an interview, changed their minds when they heard precisely what
it was about. but a third, thomas wiedling, was still willing to talk to me. he donated half his inheritance to a foundation that aims to end wealth disparity. my first question -- what do you do with a billion euros? thomas: alall i know is that is far beyond what any human being, reregardless of who they are, n ever need or use. reporter: : wiedling describes s own lifestyle as modest. he works as a literary agent and is just glad that he and his family don't have to worry about their old age. he sees tax evasion by the super rich as a key factor in global poverty. thomas: we're talking about vast sums of money. eliminating that would free up money for ththe common good. that would be a start. reporter: wiedling would also like to see higher rates of inheritance tax. but many big corporate dynasties
claim that would ruin them. michael: when it comes to inheritance tax in germany, i've been told by well-known corporate attorneys who work for these companies that an inheritance tax of 15% would be no problemem at all for any of these corporations. reporter: so if yoyou inherit 0 billion euros, you'd pay 15 billion euros ininto public coffers. but what goes on in the hes s of ththe sur-richch? don't theyey eventually lose thr appetite for status symbols? and at what stage can they even be classed as rich? christian: you're rich w when u can fifinance your lififestyled expenditure through income from your assets, even after taxes, fees, and inflationary adjustment. then you are genuinely rich. reporter: so how m much do you really need to finance your lifestyle?
10,000 a month perhaps? or maybe a million? host: much wealth is inherited, which of course helps to keep the rich, rich. but what about social mobility in wealthy countries? are the poor destined to remain poor? we head now to britain, where the social divide from birth onwards is becoming ever wider. concerns a about debt mean tht families often struggle to get their children the education that could pull them out of poverty. reporter: it's 7:30. time to get ready for school. but in this salford household in northern england, it's no easy feat. sloane warbrick and her big family live on around 200 pounds, almost $280, per week.
that's all they have for bills and food, but at least their rent is covered. sloane: with six kids, it's hectic, it's mad, it's crazy. got to make sure everyone has their school bags, school books, reading books, p.e. kits. it's not even time to leave yet, that's when it gets fun. reporter: sloane's children go to four different schools. the family lives solely on state welfare benefits, and so having a car is out of the question. sloane's partner kevin has provided some relief. he's currently out of a job. still, sloane has faced worse. sloane: when my ex-husband left me with the six children, everything, no money, coming in. and it was a case of, okay, i'll go withohout food. i will l live on toast a and ce so my kidsds can have that canf beans s or they can have that
little bit extra pasta. so yeah, we do make sacrifices. reporter: sloane's experience is not unique. almost a third of all children in this area live in poverty. that means their household income is less than 60% of the annual british median income. over the past five years, the number of people living in poverty in the u.k. has risen. children's charities say that increasing living costs and cuts in state benefits have left many families without sufficient support. sloane's children have become used to doing without. shelby: i like my room as it is, but sometimes, i'd rather have my own room. i like being surrounded by them, just not all the time. reporter: : but the lalack f privacy is jusust a small probl. zak remembers when his father left and his mum was forced to go to a food bank.
zak: i thought the world was going toto end because i thohot we were going to have nothing to live on and no electric or anything. so now i'm used to it, so now i know what to do. sloane: you know, some people can just stick their kids into grammar schools or privatete schools because they can afford to. but t then obviously on a w income, we just get by, simple as that. we get by and we deal withth i. we b build a resilience. reporter: sloane hasn't built that resilience alone. her neighbors have also been there for her. everery week they come togethero talk about their problems. it helelps them deal w with the realalitieof povertyty. pete: poverty by definition is isolation.
it i is the stripping away ofa person's ability to join into a society. thatat can be in a very physicl way in that people can't join in and participate in life e in te ways that they would like or they need to, but also thehe is a shshame engendered b by povy which people c c self-isololat. sloane: knowing these people have got my back, obviously, it's a sense of security, it's a sense e of belonging. and, yeah, that's all i'm going to say about that, it's a sense of belonging. reporter: sloane also volunteers at a food bank. brian lengden has come to pick up some basic supplies. delays to benefit payments a ad changes to the u.k.'s benefit system have seen a rise in referrals to food banks,
according to anti-poverty charity the trussell trust. at this food bank, numbers have gone up. brian: i'm just struggling, just not enough in the house after paying rent and electric and all the other billlls. i don't have virgin, i don't hahave any luxuries, i don't owa phone, at home or on me. so, it's b basic, and ththat'sw you'veve got to survive.e. sloane: i've been in this situation. i've had nothing. and i wawant to know that i cn makeke a difference and d make people feel welcomed. reporter: with a little help from kevin, sloane is trying to give her children a structured upbringing. they eat dinner together every day at 5:00. and there are set bed times. sloane: the goal for my children is not to be in poverty, not to be in debt, and to be happy and
not struggling. reporter: at the same time, she knows it will be hard for her children to break out of a cycle that has trapped so many in britain. host: who owns and profits from a nation's agricicultural area? across the globe, transnational companies and foreign governments are busy leasing, or snapping them up. yet over 1.5 billion people depend on the land that they and their fafamilies have enen cucultivating fofor generatio. our reporter katja dohne went to peru, and witnessed d the effes such conflflicts can havave on l peoplele. katja: we've come to ucayali, an area inside peru's amazon rainforest thas been b bly hit by deforestation. robert guiuiamaraes is o on hiy to visisit an indigegenous
commununity. they can onlnly be reacheded by boat. guiamares heads up t fedetionon onative communiti inin this part of peru. herew w up ia villllaghere. but t doesn'tome backften, as is becomeoo dangeus. robert: i ceivived lot of atath thats. they left a meagage iny housus saying if i posesed eir activitities again, ththey'd br not t see me in ththe villagage. i bebelieve i'm inin great dan. katja: he oppoposes the large-scale deforestatn n in his reon. and that has earnened him some powerful enenemies. he n never comes h here alone . ththis time he's's wh staff f m the organization proetica, t te peperuvian arm o of transparey inteternational. they visitit santa clarara e uchunya. residents here have come under pressure from companies looking to set up cocoa and palm oil plantations. the viagage chiecalllls evyone
to meeting to discuss e latest delopment ththey're takingng legal actioo try to stop new palm oil plantations opening nearby. carlos: we never thought that we would d ve such problemsithh transnatatnal companans. katjtja: on the otother side oe river, largege areas of forest have already been stripped and replaced with oil palms. no one has access to the area. we couldn't even film with a drone. as soon as we got near the plantation, the signal was disrupted. village life has changed. in the past, residents lived from fishing and hunting. now all the larger animals have disappeared,d, and there a are r birds, t too. stead, they've had an invasion ofosququitoe more e th ever before. their trtraditional waway of e has become impossible. cacarlos: livive fr the l lan frfrom hunting, , fishing, froe reurces that thehe jungle has so offer. an indigenenous people w witht land just t doesn't make any sense.
katja: now the village wants to have 20,000 hectares turned into legally protected ancestral territory. but the ininitiative hasas ead them deaeath threats.. the danger is very real. just a few months ago, six farmers were found shot to death. so far, no one has been held accountable for their murders. but how do these lge corporations get their hands on thousands of hectares land seeminglovernight? the antiti-corruption n grop proetica h has examined d the d deals and documented tir ndings.. now, staff from proetica havae cocome to informrm local resid. magalyly: we wanted d to highlt one e thing, namelely, the coconnection betetween deforestatioion, the illegegal e in land, a and corruptioion amt locaoffificial therere have long been rumorors about ththis, but there e wast enough evidedence to be abablo say defininitively, yes,s,t's true.. katjtja: they gaththered all e
available documents and carrdd ounumemerous interviviews. many of f the deals rereachedn this regegion are linknked to h entrepreneur dninis mea. he is now beininvestiged by state precutors. thmelka grp compans have stripped3,000 heares of rainforerest to make w way form oil and d cocoa plantatations. theyere e help by cocorrt local poliliticians, whoho invalidadated existingng lad righghts, effectively taki t te laland fm its s owrs. we've come to pucallpa, the capital of the region, where we're meeting two farmers. they agreed to speak to us in the protecteted environment ofa hotel. in 2014,4, regional auauthoris appropriatated their land. now there are oil palms growing on it. ruben: when i went to the police about it, there was suddenly an attack. they were trying to kill me. katja: d despite the i intimidn tactics, the legegal proceedins
are continuiuing. the authorities have visited the land, but ththere's been n o progreress. the farmers are now hoping for ouide e help ruben: we're still hoping that thingsgs will impre. thatat internationonal organizas will get involve ththe conservatition groups whwl bebe able to do o something. katjtja: the farmemers have lt faitith in their o own state d local gogovernment. magaly avila is heading to the regional director's office, which resesponsle foror awawarding land rirights. police arere following u up onr 100 0 complaints a against the official.. ththe atmospherere is tense. the didirector has the entire conversation recorded. he insists that he hasas stayd within the law. isaa i i alwaysay y -- a thiss is a statement of itith because i'm chriristia-- onlnly e truth will set me e free. nothing g else.
kakatja: magaly adaddresses the demands of the indigenous people for more land. the director says there are enough protected areas, and the remaining land needs to be turned to profit. isaa w when yosay y thesareass are pooror, that's clelearly contradictining your argumume. yes, they are poor, that's's wy weeed to f find new waysys of deveveloping them.m. katja: b but the moneyey made be palm oil plantations d does no bebenefit local l indigenous communitieies. baback to santa a clara de uch. village elders tell us that a few hours after we left, armed men werere sent out toto patroe edgege of the villllage -- yet another r form of intimidatio. local l residents wiwill needo keep up their r fight if thehee toto preserve their way of lifen future. host: ththat'sll frorom us tod. but we're always delighted to hearrom you.u. so drop us a line by email or on facebook, dw global society.
>> totoday on " "earth focus"... elephants on the edge of extinction--two stories from asia, coming up on "earth focus." beneath thehe canopy of indonesia's rainforest, life comes together to produce an amazing symphony of wild sounds. [whistling] [low growl] [roaring] [chirping] [bellowing] but now, , the rainfoforest's mt booming voice is increasingly hard to find. [deep trumpet] the sumatran elephant teeters on