Selasa, 25 Agustus 2009


-Naked Capitalism +WSJ. -Aug 11.

As the economy limps along, with jobs still falling (despite keen
efforts to call a turn, and with the figures a bit more dodgy if you
look under the hood), more and more overindebted and under-
employed citizens are out on the street.

Reports of tent encampments or parking lots with cars that serve
as shelter have been an occasional and sad sighting for more than
a year. What is new is that some cities, with their shelters at their
limits, have decided it is better to provide limited services to these
colonies than try to send the occupants away.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Last summer, police responding to complaints about campfires
under a highway overpass found dozens of homeless people living
on public land along the Cumberland River.

Eviction notices went up -- and then were suspended by Nashville
Mayor Karl Dean, a Democrat, who said housing for the homeless
should be found first.

A year later, little has been found -- and Nashville, with help from
local nonprofits, is now servicing a tent city, arranging for portable
toilets, trash pickup, a mobile medical van and visits from social
workers. Volunteers bring in firewood for the camp's 60 or so dwellers.

Nashville is one of several U.S. cities that these days are accom-
modating the homeless and their encampments, instead of
dispersing them...

In Florida, Hillsborough County plans to consider a proposal
Tuesday by Catholic Charities to run an emergency tent city in
Tampa for more than 200 people. Dave Rogoff, the county health
and services director, said he preferred to see a "hard roof over
people's heads." But that takes real money, he said: "We're trying
to cut $110 million out of next year's budget."

Ontario, a city of 175,000 residents about 40 miles east of Los
Angeles, provides guards and basic city services for a tent city on
public land.

A church in Lacey, Wash., near the state capital of Olympia,
recently started a homeless camp in its parking lot after the city
changed local ordinances to permit it. The City Council in Ventura,
Calif., last month revised its laws to permit sleeping in cars over-
night in some areas. City Manager Rick Cole said most of the car
campers are temporarily unemployed, "and in this economy,
temporary can go on a long time."...

In Nashville, Mr. Harris, director of the city's homeless commission,
said tent cities have existed for years, but he has seen the numbers
surge. He now knows of 30 encampments. While some people are
chronically homeless, he said, foreclosures have forced others into
the streets, as has Tennessee's 10.8% unemployment rate, the
highest in 25 years...

The city and local nonprofits have found permanent housing for
about 25 people from the tent city.

Many haven't been so lucky. David Olson, 47 years old, said last
week he and his wife wound up under the Nashville overpass after
he lost a job making cement pipes in Iowa four months ago. The
couple came to Nashville for a remodeling job that turned out to
be a scam. "I've got five years' experience in carpentry and 10
years' roofing and I can't find a job," he said.

Mr. Olson, his arms and shirt caked with dirt, said life is hard in
the swampy woods. The couple woke up to mud after a night of
rain. His wife said she is frightened by the dogs that roam around
the encampment.

As mosquitoes buzzed, they tried to set up camp on higher ground.
They struggled to secure a tarpaulin over their tent to keep out the
rain. Mr. Olson's wife, holding onto a pole to prop up the tarp,
cried. "I'm not used to living like this."

-From NAKED CAPITALISM - source-

Original WSJ Article-

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