Friday, July 10, 2009
It's not clear whether where we now call home (Bend, OR) has any suburbs or whether we now live in one, but we sure have noticed a lot of people standing on street corners asking for help in the six weeks that we've been here.
Yesterday, the local paper reported an incident at the Wal-Mart (where the concentration of homeless folks is a bit higher than elsewhere) where someone was chasing someone else around the parking lot, much to the dismay of shoppers who were coming and going.
CNN/Money reports on the rise in the homeless population in suburban areas around the country in what is clearly a trend that is accelerating. While the overall homeless rate was about flat last year, the homeless rate in suburban areas increased by over 50 percent.
But the spike in suburban and rural communities, areas that have been especially hard hit by the housing meltdown, "begs many questions about how today's housing crisis and job losses are playing out in our shelters and on our streets," said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan in a written statement.There are apparently billions of dollars from the stimulus program, enacted earlier this year, now in the pipeline to help out this new class of "housing bubble homeless".
Even with homelessness remaining relatively steady nationwide, the report noted that more people were coming to homeless shelters from stable living arrangements, or places they had lived for one year or more.
In order to keep a closer watch on homelessness in the wake of surging foreclosure rates and record-high unemployment, HUD will increase its frequency of homelessness reports. It will release a Quarterly Homeless Pulse Report starting with the first quarter of 2009.