Saturday, December 13, 2008

Homelessness rising as economy slides

BOSTON (Reuters) – Homelessness and demand for emergency food are rising in the United States as the economy founders, a report said on Friday, and homeless advocates cautioned many cities were not equipped for the increase.A survey by the U.S. Conference of Mayors showed that 19 of 25 cities saw an increase in homelessness in the 12 months to October, while four reported a drop and two cities lacked enough data for conclusive results.On average, the cities in the survey saw a 12 percent rise in homelessness, the report said. Although the results do not cover all U.S. cities, homeless advocates said they were in line with anecdotal evidence nationwide.Homeless advocates say families are flooding homeless shelters across the United States in numbers not seen for years, camping out in motels or staying with friends and relatives following foreclosures on tens of thousands of homes during the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression."It's very depressing because we have been making progress in getting it down in the past couple of years," Nan Roman, president of the Washington-based National Alliance to End Homelessness, said in an interview.Demand for emergency food assistance rose in 20 of the 25 cities surveyed, the report added.

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