The Islamic Post Blog

Homeless in America: Tent Cities Increase by Khalida
May 21, 2009, 6:02 am
Filed under: May Volume I - 2009, National | Tags:

By Jameelah A. Aziz
Islamic Post Staff Writer

(IP) –With the pressures of rising costs of living, the current economy is taking a strain on Americans across the nation, and tent cities are on the rise. Most notably they are in the downtown areas of Phoenix, New York, Washington, Seattle, Portland, Boston, Denver, Nashville, and Atlanta. Families are struggling to find a balance but have been stretched to their financial limits.
In the past year, 3.5 million men, women and children experienced homelessness. Included in this population were 600,000 families and 4,000 veterans, including about 1,500 from the war in Iraq. With unemployment predicted to reach over 9% by 2010 and the foreclosure crisis continuing unabated, the ranks of the homeless are expanding faster than the current capacity for public assistance. A recent survey from the U.S. Conference of Mayors found that 12 major cities reported an increase in homelessness as a result of foreclosure. Such an increase in homelessness inevitably means that more people will be forced to live without proper health care, food or shelter, according to National Homelessness.
Approximately 3.2 million foreclosures forced a majority of homeowners to be displaced by either staying with relatives or living out of their vehicles before giving up all hopes and living under bridges or other means.
President Obama stated during a press conference that homelessness was bad even before the economy was bad. When a question was posed to him by Kevin Chapelle of Ebony Magazine on what he would say to homeless families, especially the children who are sleeping under bridges and in tents across the county, the President replied that he was “heartbroken that any child is homeless in America and the most important thing that I can do on their behalf is make sure that their parents have a job.”
This indeed is a great crisis and action must take place. What can we do? The National Center of Homelessness suggests that “we” (as Americans) should get involved by: Making a donation of any amount; Helping homeless families while shopping online; Sharing with those most in need through planned giving; Attending an event on the subject to learn more.


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