Tuesday, March 10, 2009

'Tent cities' of homeless on the rise across the US

Homeless encampments dubbed "tent cities" are springing up across the US, partly in response to soaring numbers of home repossessions, the credit crunch and rising unemployment, according to a report.

Homelessness, car camps and tent cities are certainly not new, but they are growing rapidly.
In Reno, Nevada, the state with the nation's highest repossessions rate, a tent city recently sprung up on the city's outskirts and quickly filled up with about 150 people. Many, such as Sylvia Flynn, 51, who came from northern California, ended up homeless after losing their jobs and home.

Officials say they do not know how many homeless the city has. "But we do know that the soup kitchens are serving hundreds more meals a day and that we have more people who are homeless than we can remember," Jodi Royal-Goodwin, the city's redevelopment agency director, said.

In California, the upmarket city of Santa Barbara is housing homeless people who live in their cars in city car parks while Fresno, has several tent cities. Others have sprung up in Portland in Oregon, and Seattle, where homeless activists have set up mock tent cities at city hall to draw attention to the problem.

Meanwhile, new encampments have appeared, or existing ones grown, in San Diego, Chattanooga in Tennessee, and Columbus, Ohio.<Story>

Some quick internet searching uncovered many others, in Dallas, Olympia, L.A., Athens, Georgia, Columbus. Others, like Tenessee and St. Petersburg have been shut down.

MSNBC has a photo essay on a large tent city in Sacramento, juxtaposing it with the Sacramento tent city of the Great Depression.

There are homes sitting empty, while people have no place to live. Excess supply coexisting with excess demand. The invisible hand has failed these people.


Anonymous said...

it's only gonna get worse.

as more people get layed off and jobs get harder and harder to find the homeless rate will continue to rise as will the crime rate.

and yet people continue to have kids left and right getting pregnant like there is no tomorrow. these people will have it the worst when the welfare system collapses.

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Brendon Carr said...

The market has not failed these people. Government intervention to warp market forces has failed these people -- too bad the prescription will be more of the same.

Ada said...

I remember in 1961 when I was still living in Montevideo Uruguay(south america) I met an american man and he was very amused of the shanty towns of the homeless in the skirts of montevideo, because he was into drawing he was going near these places to make sketches of these people and their cardboard and tin ''houses''. At that time I was a teenager and I felt ashamed of this in my home town, but now almost fifty years after that american man was making his drawings of montevideo's shanty towns the same is happening in ''mighty america'' Who would have thought of something like this happening in the land of ''opportunitys''