Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Some perspective

The National  Coalition for the Homeless issued a report two years ago that bears some consideration. The report, Tent Cities in America: A Pacific Coast Report, looks at the tent city phenomenon on the West Coast -- outlining how the tent cities operate, the organizing efforts in the encampments and the lack of affordable housing.

According to a press release from the NCH:
Home foreclosures, unemployment, and the regional poverty rates continue to rise, as newly homelessness families see a double digit increase. 44% of people experiencing homeless in America are unsheltered (USHUD 2009). A growing number of unsheltered Americans are congregating in tent cities for safety, community and as locations of last resort.

“Tent Cities are American’s de facto waiting room for affordable and accessible housing. The idea of someone living in a tent in this country says little about the decisions made by those who dwell within and so much more about our nation’s inability to adequately respond to our fellow residents in need.”  -Neil Donovan, National Coalition for the Homeless Executive Director.
The report is now two years old, but the findings remain valid. There is not enough housing and the use of traditional shelters -- human warehouses -- does little more than demean the people seeking to put a roof over their heads.

As one Seattle tent city resident said:
“In the absence of proper shelter, it is the basic right of any living being to construct a temporary one.”

No comments:

Post a Comment