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Just How Bad Is the Homeless Problem in the US?

by James Buchanan

It seems like a simple question: How many homeless people are in the US? There’s apparently a base population of drug addicts and mentally ill people including a large number of vets with post traumatic stress disorder, who may number as many as a million. Unfortunately our society wrote these people off a long time ago. We used to be able to take care of the mentally ill when America was 90 percent White, but apparently not today.

The significant change in the homeless population in recent years has been a growing number of long-term unemployed “normal” Americans. An article from manufacturing tech news reports “Leo W. Gerard, International President of the United Steelworkers (USW) issued the following statement… ‘More than six million manufacturing jobs and 57,000 manufacturing plants have disappeared forever.’ ” We were slowly being betrayed by NAFTA and GATT, losing millions of good-paying manufacturing jobs, that were being replaced by low-paying and highly vulnerable service industry jobs, and then our economy was hammered by the subprime crisis that showed everyone how easily our weakened economy could be derailed.

Two years ago, a news article reported there were 19 million vacant homes in the US. Another news article reports “930,437 homeowners received a foreclosure-related warning between July and September, up nearly 4 percent from the second quarter.” That quarterly report strongly suggests that several million more homes have been foreclosed since the report about 19 million empty homes in 2009.

Those two reports suggest that the number of families who suffered foreclosures is well over 20 million, maybe as high as 26 million. Not all of these people however wind up homeless. Some get into Section 8 housing. Millions have likely moved back in with their parents.

Perhaps the best indicator of how many people are in severe economic distress would be the increase in the number of people on food stamps. For years if not decades, the number of people receiving foods stamps was close to 30 million. After the housing bubble burst, the number of people on food stamps started to rapidly shoot up. A CNN article notes “The number of Americans using the government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — more commonly referred to as food stamps — shot to an all-time high of 45.8 million in May, the USDA reported. That’s up 12% from a year ago, and 34% higher than two years ago.”

Most of those sixteen million new people on food stamps are victims of the ongoing Bush-Obama Depression. It’s a safe bet that most of them are either being housed by relatives or have become homeless.

In 2004, a couple years prior to the subprime mortgage crisis, one article noted “About 3.5 million US residents (about 1% of the population), including 1.35 million children, have been homeless for a significant period of time.” An article from last March notes “The government estimates that 25 percent of American children will soon be in poverty and 1.5 million children are homeless…” If 1.5 million children are homeless, it seems a safe bet most of their parents are homeless, not to mention a large number of single adults, whose jobs got outsourced.

A substantial number of people have taken to living in RVs, parking wherever they’re allowed. Lower down on the scale are people living in vans or cars. The worst off are the ones, who wind up in tent cities. It’s hard to keep track of the total homeless living in tent cities because the local authorities will occasionally force the homeless out of the tent city scattering them so that they’re not as noticeable. After all, the local Democrats don’t want to embarrass Obama with the modern equivalent of “Hoovervilles” which might be called “Obamavilles”.

The number of homeless people in the US could be anywhere from about 3 to 16 million judging from the number of homeless children (and parents) and the increase in food stamp recipients. The number of people who have suffered foreclosures is even higher. We may never know exactly how many homeless people there are since most people don’t want to admit that they’ve been forced to live in their cars and the Obama regime does not want to admit that we’re in a Depression, not a recovery.

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