UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

April 5, 2009

TENT CITIES GROWING

Kathy Sanborn, Counterpunch - Homeless encampments around the country are mushrooming, much to the embarrassment of government officials, may of whom prefer to hear no evil, see no evil. In Fresno, California, a shantytown called “New Jack City” is host to newly poor, unemployed electricians and truck drivers, who share space with drug addicts and the mentally ill who have been homeless for years.

And, thanks to Oprah, Sacramento is famous for its homeless tent city, featuring several hundred people residing in pitched tents bordering the American River. With refuse strewn everywhere, and no potable water or bathroom facilities, this celebrated shantytown is clearly a sanitation risk.

Almost as soon as the media ran with the story, plans were made to shut down the Sacramento tent city in the foreseeable future. City officials will relocate the homeless to other, presumably more sanitary, areas (e.g., at the site of the state fairgrounds, Cal Expo). According to the Sacramento Bee, “homeless campers” will be ousted in about four weeks, as the private property will be fenced off to ban the tent city population. . .

Individuals in Seattle, Washington who have lost their jobs and homes reside in tents in the back of a church parking lot, derogatorily called Nickelsville. Named for Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, whom residents say doesn’t much care about their plight, the Nickelsville shantytown is home to about one hundred campers a day.

Nashville, Tennessee has its own problems with tent cities. According to NewsChannel5.com, Nashville has one large tent city south of the downtown area, with at least thirty additional homeless camps scattered throughout the region. There is a concern about this “huge surge in the number of encampments,” and the issue has reached “urgent” proportions. Attributing the rise in homelessness to the faltering economy that brings with it increased foreclosures and job layoffs, city officials are seeking answers - and fast - to their local homeless crisis.

In Reno, Nevada, officials closed a tent city in 2008 that housed about 160 residents. Now, the sidewalks of Reno serve as beds to some sixty homeless people with nowhere else to go. There are homeless camps on Record Street, and local merchants believe their business is down because of the sea of homeless vagabonds invading store sidewalks and blocking customer access to shops.

Reno officials are attempting to prevent another tent city from emerging in the summer of 2009, but with less revenue available for alternative housing, this remains to be seen.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home