Homelessness on the Rise in American Cities

by William Skink

Every year across the nation a point-in-time survey is administered to get a head count of homelessness in America. In Missoula the survey was administered from sundown last Thursday through Friday, and it occurred in tandem with something called Project Homeless Connect, a full day of bringing multiple service providers together to benefit homeless individuals in our community.

Locally the numbers have yet to be crunched. Nationally, especially in major American cities, homelessness is going up. Why? Because revitalizing downtown spaces, known as gentrification, is pushing out low-rent housing. From the link:

As once derelict or sleepy downtown districts in U.S. cities evolve into thriving hot spots, officials are grappling with what to do about homeless populations that have long inhabited them. The tension is “all over the country,” said James Wright, a sociology professor at the University of Central Florida who has researched the issue. “Its major effect is just to displace them to other places in the city.”

In just the past five years, New York has seen a 42% increase in its homeless population. Los Angeles has seen a 24% increase, and San Francisco a 16% increase.

Seattle has also experienced an increase in homelessness. Last week, two people were shot to death and others injured in a Seattle homeless camp known as The Jungle. Three teenage boys–13, 16, and 17–have been arrested. Ironically, the Seattle’s mayor was giving a speech on the rise of homelessness in Seattle when the shootings happened:

“This violent crime shocked Seattle,” said Mayor Ed Murray, who thanked the police for their quick action, the Seattle Times reported. The mayor was giving a speech on Seattle’s growing problem of homelessness when the shootings occurred.

Missoula is not immune. Two years ago a brutal murder occurred under the Reserve Street bridge when Kevin Lino and his sidekick (who is out of jail) beat and tortured another homeless man, Jack Gilbert.

Being without stable housing is not just traumatic, it’s dangerous. Assaults happen with unfortunate regularity among people living on the streets, and much of this violence isn’t reported. Reporting assaults, for people on the streets, has the potential of making them targets of further violence.

Like many municipalities, Missoula has a 10 year plan to end homelessness, but the results have been lackluster so far. I guess helping people in need is just not as sexy as trying to save a few Syrian refugees.

But homelessness isn’t going away any time soon in America. And if current economic trends continue, it will probably get worse.

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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8 Responses to Homelessness on the Rise in American Cities

  1. steve kelly says:

    http://www.infiniteunknown.net/2013/12/05/henry-kissinger-quotes-on-depopulation-and/

    Listen to Kissinger, all presidents, past, present and future do. “Useless eaters” philosophy and depopulation is SOP for elites implementing the New World Order. Missoula is just another 3rd-world city in a colony with no foreign aid. There is, of course, a plan, a plan which nobody wants to believe. Who controls the water and food?

  2. Big Swede says:

    Here’s something to ponder. If you admit thousands of new uneducated non-english speaking immigrants to our shores does that increase or decrease homelessness in America?

    • “Educated” like Americans, or “educated” for real? As Americans are the most deeply brainwashed people on the planet, outside influence cannot be bad.

      That said, there is a larger agenda with these immigrants, most of whom have been created by US violence against other counties, and it concerns me.

      • Big Swede says:

        I guess if we treated women like dogs, threw gays off roofs, and practiced genocide on other religions then we wouldn’t be so deeply brainwashed.

        And please don’t show your ignorance by mentioning the Crusades or the gulf wars. We differ by who will kill in the battle field, they don’t.

        • I don’t need to watch TV news! I get all of it directly from you, every single stereotype and lie repeated verbatim. Those little scabs on your cheeks, always wondered what they were. Now I know: Fish hooks!

    • steve kelly says:

      I suppose that depends on whether or not you believe that “new uneducated non-english speaking immigrants” cause higher divorce rates, loss of loved ones, depression, PTSD, untreated mental illness, physical disabilities and domestic violence. I think I know what you’re getting at, but job loss is only one factor that pushes people out of their homes onto the street.

      Many homeless people work, often working more than one job.

      If the oh-so-liberal Chamber of Commerce and its corporate-fascist sponsors didn’t want cheap labor to make cheap goods you might not have to worry so much about immigrants. Remember NAFTA etc? Just sayin’.

    • JC says:

      Depends on if their mastahs let them live on the plantation or not.

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