Hunger, homeless on the rise in U.S. cities
By Susan Heavey and Lisa Lambert and Lucia Mutikani
December 20, 2012
Across the United States, the number of hungry and homeless people is growing, and budget fights at the federal level are threatening the aid many need to survive, the U.S. Conference of Mayors said on Thursday.
Amidst the holiday season of family feasts and corporate dinners, the mayors released a report that found requests for emergency food assistance rose in 21 out of the 25 cities it surveyed in 2012 and remained at the same level in three. More than half the cities said homelessness increased.
“This report is a stark reminder of the long-lasting impact the recession has had on many of our citizens,” Greg Fischer, mayor of Louisville, Kentucky, said in a statement. “Families, who once lived in middle class homes, now find themselves without a roof over their heads, needing multiple social services for the first time in their lives.”
The 25 cities are of varying size and wealth in all regions of the country. They included Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City and Nashville, Tennessee.
Among those seeking emergency food, 51 percent were in families and 37 percent were employed. Nearly 1 in 6 – 17 percent – were elderly and 8.5 percent were homeless, according to the survey.
Nearly all of the cities reported a rise in the number of people seeking emergency food for the first time.