Sunday, December 14, 2008

Grim Reports Are Correct

Homelessness rising as economy slides

"Homelessness and demand for emergency food are rising in the United States as the economy founders, a report said on Friday, and homeless advocates cautioned many cities were not equipped for the increase.
A survey by the U.S. Conference of Mayors showed that 19 of 25 cities saw an increase in homelessness in the 12 months to October, while four reported a drop and two cities lacked enough data for conclusive results.
On average, the cities in the survey saw a 12 percent rise in homelessness, the report said. Although the results do not cover all U.S. cities, homeless advocates said they were in line with anecdotal evidence nationwide."

For over two months now the Mrs and I have been wandering the southwest, sniffing out places to settle and to ride out the insanity to come.
We've sniffed in Colorado and New Mexico, presently we're in Arizona and will scour other states as well. We've been avoiding large towns and cities, staying on backroads as much as possible, just monitoring and paying attention, checking things out.

I'm here to say to people who aren't traveling that the situation now in rural america is beyond ugly. When we headed SW from the NW we drove down the western side of Utah. There were numerous bedroom communities for the Salt Lake area, , obviously planned and built back during some uptick in the housing boom, basically empty. Maybe 90% vacant. Thousands upon thousands of boarded up homes that were never occupied in your typical suburban american housing developments. Mile after mile.

All over the west, all you can see are For Sale signs along the back roads. Today we drove 70 miles through rural southern AZ where the homes were sparse and a sizable minority were on the market. Another striking development is the number of abandoned places in every state we've been in. I'm not exaggerating this at all. We've been through hundreds of small communities where the people just up and left their homes, from shanties to chalets. We'll probably going to get lots of reports about the cities but this new depression has already spread fast and furious in small town america.


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