Homelessness is becoming an epidemic that is rarely addressed by the government in depth. During the recession, the percentage of homeless people rose due to job loss, divorce, home foreclosure, no public assistance, substance abuse and other such factors.
That’s not including the children that end up on the streets, either by running away from home or being kicked out. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimated in 2004, about 1.6 million kids slept on the streets during a year span. The number has grown, now in the range of 2.8 million. Many of the children are teens running from abuse, often times physical, sexual, or both. Others, including adults, have mental disorders and no one to help care for them. Shelters these days fill up quickly and can’t help every homeless person that comes in. The Obama administration hopes the tax breaks and redistribution of wealth can lower the percentage of people living on the street or those about to lose their homes. The results won’t happen soon according to a report by the National Center on Family Homelessness. 1 in 50 children are homeless, a good percentage of them being African and Native American.
“Tent Cities”, so called because of the homeless setting up tents in abandoned lots to live, are popping up across the nation. A major one was found in Sacramento and more are forming every day. The estimated numbers are close to 20,000 people living in that squalor. The government recognizes the problem as dire but still struggles to find a positive solution amidst bigger issues of economy and war with the Middle East. The Obama administration believes when the economy is stable again more jobs will be available which would lead to more workers and less homelessness.
That vision is hard to see for those sleeping on street corners or huddled in an abandoned building not fit for human conditions.