Tags: Tent | Cities | Homeless | Country

Tent Cities for Homeless Spring Up Across the Country

By    |   Sunday, 18 May 2014 08:58 PM

Tent cities have sprung up across the country as the homeless seek shelter. There were more than 100 tent cities in 46 states and the District of Columbia from 2008 to July 2013, according to the advocacy group National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty.

The organization blames rising homelessness following the financial and mortgage foreclosure crisis. The Department of Housing and Urban Development, it says, reports that the number of homeless families increased 20 percent between 2007 and 2010, and the Department of Education says more than a million school children were homeless in the 2011-2012 school year — almost a 75 percent increase since 2007.

Communities often lack adequate housing or shelter, the group says. Many people turn to tent cities for freedom and security not found at homeless shelters, according to the group's report that studied tent camps in Rhode Island, New Jersey, New Orleans, and Florida.

Editor's Note: 18.79% Annual Returns ... for Life?

While some encampments were unruly, some were orderly, safe and efficiently run with rules and official leaders.

Besides often lacking enough beds, shelters frequently imposed oppressive rules and restrictions. They may not accommodate couples, force families to separate, restrict storage of belongings, and have opening and closing times that conflict with work schedules.

Some municipalities legalize the tent cities, or encampments, and let residents replace tents with more permanent structures, according to the NLCHP. Others grant "semi-sanctioned" status. Public officials don't formally permit the camps but don't evict the residents either.

Usually however, municipalities shut down camps without offering alternative housing, often arresting residents and destroying their property.

Just last week, New Jersey state and local officials demolished a tent city in Camden, CNNMoney reported. Bulldozers poured trash and belongings into waste bins, and workers razed the area.

Residents said they had nowhere to live except on the streets. Some didn't qualify for subsidies needed to stay at shelters because of criminal records or other reasons. In any case, most shelters were full. Many worried about becoming a victim of violence of sexual assault while living on the street.

"They're taking people out of their safe zone," Jaki Ross, a former tent resident, told CNNMoney.

Officials said the tent camp had become a public health danger and a drug-abuse haven.

"We want to get them out of tents and into beds, and we have a responsibility to the overall residents of Camden to take away these havensof drug use," Camden County spokesman Dan Keashen told CNNMoney.

Editor's Note: 18.79% Annual Returns ... for Life?

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There were more than 100 tent cities in 46 states and the District of Columbia from 2008 to July 2013, according to the advocacy group National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty.
Tent, Cities, Homeless, Country
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2014-58-18
Sunday, 18 May 2014 08:58 PM
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