Hunger and Homelessness taking Hold of The USA

Joseph F. Dumond

Isa 6:9-12 And He said, Go, and tell this people, You hear indeed, but do not understand; and seeing you see, but do not know. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn back, and be healed. Then I said, Lord, how long? And He answered, Until the cities are wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land laid waste, a desolation, and until Jehovah has moved men far away, and the desolation in the midst of the land is great.

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Published: Dec 28, 2008

News Letter 5844-042

5th day of the Tenth month 5844 years after creation


January 3, 2009

Shabbat Shalom Brethren,

Welcome to the many new readers this week to At this web site we look at prophecy as it is shown to us from keeping the Sabbatical and Jubilee years. When we understand the seven year cycle and when it starts and finishes, we can know with accuracy the Chronological Order of Prophecy According to the Jubilee.

This week we are looking at one small aspect of this chronological order as it is played out on the nightly news. For those of you who are new you will want to look at past News Letters for this year at Archived Newsletters  just choose a year and which article you would like to read.

After that you will want to watch the videos in the Media Archive and having done all this then you can decide if this information is too controversial for you or not.

We have now past the 10,000 readers for this News Letter, which grows each month. I continue to ask you to share the information you find here with those you love, your family, friends, brethren and even strangers. As you are about to see your children and the children of your neighbors and friends are in the cross hairs of the next curse from Yahweh and they will die.

This week I want to catch up on the news that has been happening and connect the dots with you. I say with you, because many of you still think those things I am saying on the DVD are just the ramblings of some kook. And none of this applies to you, but instead it is for the third world countries.

I would have said the same thing not to long ago. But now the nightly news is saying the very things I have said on the DVD, and they have been for a while. But most of you did not recognize what or why it was happening until it was explained, by showing you the Sabbatical and Jubilee years.

We now know that because of sin and not keeping the law that these curses are being administered according to the order as told to us in Leviticus 26 starting in verse 14. Terror, drought and sever weather, and next famine and pestilence and then war.

In the DVD I reverse engineer how we could ever get to famine and pestilence in these Great Countries of the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It all began with a financial crisis which I spent a lot of time explaining on the DVD.

Here is the summary. First we had to have a financial crisis. It would cause many to become homeless. Living in unhealthy conditions brought on by the number of people being forced out of their homes. They would be forced to sleep in tents or under bridges, where sanitation was not up to par and would deteriorate with more people crowding in to tent cities.

This financial crisis would also cause the break down of the bond system of selling and buying debt. This is what many municipal and state and federal governments do to raise money to maintain salaries and expenditures in the various levels of Government over and above the tax revenue they already collect. In other words they have for year been spending more than they have in tax revenue so they went to other venues to raise cash.

Because of the short fall of money for the governments they would have to cut back on many projects and salaries to civil servants. This would lead to a lack of maintenance of key infrastructures, namely the Sewage and Water treatment plants as well as garbage pickup and police enforcement.

With garbage not picked up and un sanitized conditions prevalent as well as water not being treated disease would then spread. Are we here yet? No. But we are just around the corner from it. With over 40 of the States in the USA nearing insolvency and many of the big cities struggling with rising numbers of unemployed and no money to pay them, these cities are looking to Washington for some of the bailout money, it is only a matter of time before they too become insolvent.

That time is shown to us in understanding the Sabbatical years. Beginning March of 2009 at the month of Aviv for one year is the next Sabbatical year. Will you be keeping it? Or are you going to gamble that I am wrong?

If I am wrong you will not have planted for one year and you would have stored up extra food for that year, which you can always eat later. If on the other hand you are wrong, then the third curse of Leviticus 26 says that Yahweh is going to Rob you of your children. If you are wrong your children will die. If I am wrong you have extra food. Why take the chance? How much will it hurt you to keep this Sabbatical year? The risks of being stiff necked are too great.

I pray you will share this and other news letters with the press and your city and state representative and your family. Please take note of the dates of each of the articles. This is not old news, but very relevant.

To read the rest of this News Letter go to Hunger an Homeless Taking Hold of the USA

California: Budget crisis hits state employees with layoffs, unpaid furloughs

By D. Lencho and Dan Conway
27 December 2008

Last Friday, Schwarzenegger issued an executive order which asked for state agencies to cut payrolls by 10 percent, while forcing over 238,000 state workers to take two-day unpaid furloughs each month. State employee unions have pointed out that this would translate into a 9 percent pay cut. The order also freezes all new hiring at the state level.

The California budget crisis of fiscal year 2008-2009 is turning into a major source of rising joblessness in the state. In addition to the state employee layoffs and furloughs mentioned above, 200,000 workers are now projected to lose their jobs as a result of the halting of funds to state infrastructure projects, while 22,000 part-time employees already lost their jobs last August due to a previous executive order.

California is also experiencing a drastic rise in unemployment across virtually every other sector of the economy. The state’s unemployment rate jumped from 8.2 percent to 8.4 percent between October and November, with the rate projected to increase even further in the coming months.

The jobless lines have lengthened dramatically during the past year, as California’s unemployment rate stood at only 5.7 percent in November 2007. In terms of absolute numbers, a net total of 512,000 Californians lost their jobs during the past twelve months, a huge portion of the 1,562,000 people now unemployed statewide. These numbers, however, do not account for those underemployed or those who have stopped actively looking for jobs, which would make the figures far higher.

While hundreds of thousands continue to lose their jobs, the budget crisis has dried up state unemployment insurance funds, which, according to recent projections, will be $2.4 billion in the red by the end of 2009.

Homeowners are also struggling, with a combined delinquent payment/foreclosure rate of over 10 percent, the highest in the nation. As earnings have stagnated or fallen, many working families have only stayed afloat by borrowing against the equity of their homes. The fall in housing values has, in effect, destroyed this means of providing basic necessities and a decent standard of living.

In the following report keep in mind that Zimbabwe was the bread basket of Africa just a few ago. And now they are in dire straights. Is this to happen to the USA? Prophecy says yes. Are you ready?


UN health agency says Zimbabwe cholera death toll has topped 1,500

By The Associated Press
GENEVA – The World Health Organization says the cholera death toll in Zimbabwe has risen to more than 1,500 and case fatality rates are increasing.

The UN agency says 1,518 people have now died and a total of 26,497 cases have been recorded since the start of the outbreak in August.

The figures indicate that more than two-thirds of deaths occurred in December alone.
The percentage of cholera patients dying from the disease has risen to 5.7 per cent from four per cent at the beginning of the month.

The agency said in an update posted on its website that the outbreak is not yet under control.
It recommends neighboring countries scale up disease monitoring and preparedness but refrain from mass vaccination campaigns.

‘Tent cities’ of homeless on the rise across the US

Homeless encampments dubbed “tent cities” are springing up across the US, partly in response to soaring numbers of home repossessions, the credit crunch and rising unemployment, according to a report.

By Our Foreign Staff
Last Updated: 7:37AM BST 20 Sep 2008

In Reno, Nevada, the state with the nation’s highest repossessions rate, a tent city recently sprung up on the city’s outskirts and quickly filled up with about 150 people Photo: AP
Nearly 61 per cent of local and state homeless organizations say they have witnessed an increase in homelessness since the foreclosure crisis began in 2007, the Washington DC-based National Coalition for the Homeless study says.

And the problem has intensified since the report was produced in April, along with rising repossessions, soaring energy and food prices and job losses, the group says.

“It’s clear that poverty and homelessness have increased,” Michael Stoops, acting executive director of the coalition, said.

“The economy is in chaos, we’re in an unofficial recession and Americans are worried, from the homeless to the middle class, about their future.”

Homeless groups and government agencies from Seattle, Washington, to Athens Georgia, report the most visible increase in homeless encampments in a generation.

“What you’re seeing is encampments that I haven’t seen since the ’80s,” said Paul Boden, executive director of the Western Regional Advocacy Project, an umbrella group of homeless groups in west coast cities.

In Reno, Nevada, the state with the nation’s highest repossessions rate, a tent city recently sprung up on the city’s outskirts and quickly filled up with about 150 people. Many, such as Sylvia Flynn, 51, who came from northern California, ended up homeless after losing their jobs and home.

Officials say they do not know how many homeless the city has. “But we do know that the soup kitchens are serving hundreds more meals a day and that we have more people who are homeless than we can remember,” Jodi Royal-Goodwin, the city’s redevelopment agency director, said.

In California, the upmarket city of Santa Barbara is housing homeless people who live in their cars in city car parks while Fresno, has several tent cities. Others have sprung up in Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, where homeless activists have set up mock tent cities at city hall to draw attention to the problem.

Meanwhile, new encampments have appeared, or existing ones grown, in San Diego, Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Columbus, Ohio.

A recent report by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development noted a 12 per cent drop in homelessness across the nation, but the latest figures – from 2007 – predates the current housing and economic crisis.


‘Tent Cities’ Spring Up In The US

3:10pm UK, Friday September 19, 2008
Communities of homeless people living in tents are cropping up across the US as the effects of rising unemployment, repossessions and the credit crunch bite.

Resident of a tent city sweeps up outside his home in Ontario California.

From Seattle to Athens, Georgia, homeless advocacy groups and city agencies are reporting the most visible rise in homeless encampments in a generation.

Nearly 61% of state-run organizations in the sector have seen a rise in homelessness since the economic downturn first started in 2007, a report says.

The study, by the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH), says the problem has worsened since the report’s release in April, with repossessions mounting, fuel and food prices rising and the job market tightening.

One of the so-called “tent cities” is based by the side of the railway tracks in the city of Reno, populated by people who lost their jobs to the ailing US economy, or newcomers who had moved there for work and discovered no-one was hiring.

Out of a dozen people interviewed in the tent city, six had come to Reno from California or elsewhere over the last year, hoping for casino jobs.

“I figured this would be a great place for a job,” said Max Perez, a 19-year-old from Iowa.
He could not find one and ended up taking showers at the men’s shelter and sleeping in a tent barely big enough to cover his body.

The relatively posh California city of Santa Barbara has given over a car park to people who sleep in cars and vans.

The city of Fresno, California, is trying to manage several growing tent cities, including an encampment where people have made shelters out of scrap wood.

In Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, homeless groups have paired with non-profit or faith-based groups to manage tent cities as outdoor shelters.

Other cities where tent cities have either appeared or expanded include Chattanooga, Tennessee, San Diego, and Columbus, Ohio.

“It’s clear that poverty and homelessness have increased,” said NCH acting executive director Michael Stoops.

“The economy is in chaos, we’re in an unofficial recession and Americans are worried, from the homeless to the middle class, about their future.”


U.S. markets fall, tent cities rise

Alexandra Shimo.
Maclean’s 121.39 (Oct 6, 2008): p51(1).

Hoovervilles sprang up across the U.S. in the 1930s, built out of cloth, boxwood, cardboard or scraps of metal and named after Herbert Hoover and his policies during the Great Depression. And while there are no such settlements named after George W. Bush’s administration, tent cities are again sprouting up across the United States as the economy worsens.

A number of American centres have documented the problem, including Baltimore, Reno, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Fresno and Seattle. One of the larger settlements is in Ontario, Calif., about an hour’s drive east of Los Angeles. There, about 140 people live in tents, motorhomes, trucks and cars, next to the Los Angeles International Airport. The population numbered about 400 in Match, but authorities decided the settlement was too large and unmanageable and ejected about half of the residents, towing away vehicles and motorhomes.

Unlike many urban centres with tent cities, Ontario has tried to support the inhabitants, investing $3 million to deal with the homeless. Church groups donate tents, tarps and clothing, and distribute packaged food and bottled water. Local authorities have installed water taps, portable showers and toilets (although they tend to topple and spill in high winds). Authorities have even hired veterinarians to spray and neuter people’s dogs, although some residents have complained that similar medical care is not available for their human owners. At night, people kept warm by burning garbage. City agencies don’t expect these modern day shantytowns to disappear any rime soon: few jobs, mounting foreclosures and higher gas and food bills means homelessness in the U.S. is on the rise.

Tent cities spring up across country as homelessness soars

Friday, October 17, 2008
By: Corazon Esguerra
Homeless people amid empty homes, an absurdity of capitalism
As the economic crisis worsens and bailouts go to the wealthy bankers on Wall Street, working-class suffering grows.

PSL member Stephen Hinze
speaks to a tent city resident in
Ontario, Calif.

For months, workers have been losing their jobs and homes in record numbers. Some of the most oppressed sectors of the working class are turning to “tent cities,” shantytowns and makeshift parking lots that have been popping up around the country in the past year.

In Santa Barbara, Calif. “one of the richest cities in the United States, where homes are valued at an average of $1 million each” residents have become homeless within the last year due to the plummeting housing market. Parking lots have been set up all over Santa Barbara so that the homeless have a place where they can sleep in their cars.

At one of these sites, a woman named Bonnee sleeps in her 4×4 truck along with only basic necessary personal documents, some books and blankets. She retains a gym membership so she has a place to shower. Bonnee, a former real estate agent, was working only about a year ago but has since fallen on hard times due to the mortgage crisis and has been unable to keep her house.

Barbara Harvey, 67, and her two dogs spend their nights in the same parking lot. Harvey used to work in housing finance, but after the housing collapse, she lost both her job and her home.
The parking lots only operate from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., and public restroom facilities are closed at that time as well. Because of this, Harvey does not drink any liquids after she arrives. “There are going to be lots of homeless individuals,” Harvey said. “We’re in an awful mess economically. I don’t think we’ve seen half of what’s going to happen in this country.”

According to New Beginnings, the organization that runs the makeshift parking lots in Santa Barbara, some 55 people live in a dozen parking lots. Organizer Nancy Kapp says there is a waiting list for the lots, and many people call every day to be added to the list.

“These people have worked their whole lives to have a house and now it’s crumbling and it’s in ashes and how devastating is that?” she says.

“It’s not an American dream, it’s an American nightmare.” (BBC News Sept. 27)

Kicked out of homes, kicked out of tents

Elsewhere in the country, community organizers have established shantytowns that provide safe and sanitary living conditions for people who have been left homeless from evictions and unemployment.

In South Seattle, Nickelsville is one such place. The residents are struggling to keep Nickelsville in the face of the anti-homeless policies of Mayor Greg Nickels. “Nickelodeons,” as the tent city residents call themselves, are organizing to fight back by staging protests and speaking out.
Nickels claims to be spearheading a “10-year plan to end homelessness.” To that end, he has directed the city police and maintenance workers to clear outdoor encampments. Several times in the past year, city workers have dismantled large encampments and confiscated the personal property of camp residents. One man, Isaac Palmer, was run over and killed during a sweep.

“We’ll treat it like we will any other encampment, and that is, we’ll post it and we’ll let people know that this is inappropriate to be sleeping in an encampment that’s not authorized,” said Nickels.

On the Nickelsville website, organizers explain: “Sleeping outside is dangerous; unfortunately there are not enough indoor shelters. There is safety in numbers; there is power in being organized. Mayor Nickels edict to systematically drive people out of their encampments and to destroy their property was the trigger for the present crisis. It is only befitting that our shantytown be named in honor of Mayor Nickels and his “humane” treatment of the homeless.”

In Ontario, Calif., local officials have set up a tent city near an airport as a feeble and temporary attempt to tackle the issue of homelessness due to the increasing rate of evictions.
Restrictive and repressive rules have been placed on the tent city. Children under the age of 18 years are not allowed in the area and residents are not allowed to have any pets. As a result, all mothers had to place their children either with friends or into the foster care system. Many residents who had already given up their children were forced to give up any pets to local shelters.

Many of the residents of the tent city were placed there by the Ontario Police Department. As more workers moved into the camp, police and city officials began to routinely enter the premises and interrogate residents about their ties to the city of Ontario. Those who could not prove ties to Ontario were told they had to leave the tent city and have been evicted from the camp.

Stop foreclosures and evictions now!

Party for Socialism and Liberation candidates Steven Hinze (Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, 4th District), Lucilla Esguerra (California State Assembly, 48th District) and Crystal Kim (Council of the District of Columbia, at-large) visited the Ontario tent city in March and were able to interview some of the residents.

Ernesto, a resident of Tent City, lost his home to foreclosure. “I lost my daughter, my daughter died,” he said. “She was sick and we could not pay our medical bills and then we lost our home. I was laid off from my job as a teacher and I never thought I would find myself homeless.”“I have been kicked out several times, but I continue to return,” told Patty, another Tent City resident.

Every year, 3.5 million people in the United States are homeless for all or part of the year. As of October 2007, 17.4 million houses stood vacant (MSN Money, Oct. 4, 2007). A situation where the numbers of people in need of housing grows amidst more and more empty homes is an absurd tragedy that is only possible under the “profit over people” capitalist system.

The La Riva/Puryear campaign stands side by side with workers in their struggle against the landlords and real estate speculators who push people onto the streets to safeguard profits. Our campaign calls for an immediate moratorium on all foreclosures and evictions. Assistance must be provided to homeowners and tenants at risk of losing their homes. The La Riva/Puryear campaign calls on the government to declare homelessness as a national emergency and use the millions of vacant housing units to immediately house the homeless. Housing is a human right!

“Tent cities are again sprouting up across the United States as the economy worsens. “
No one knows yet just how long our economic disaster is going to continue, and as a result just how many more people will be affected by it to the point of losing everything they’ve worked for over their entire lives. One thing we are hearing however, is that we won’t see the end of Bush-world anytime soon.

Knowing this, and knowing how difficult it is to find affordable housing in Nashville even when one is employed full-time at a minimum wage (or slightly above) job, we need camps that provide refuge, safety and opportunity for those who have nowhere else to go.

It isn’t hard to do and there are a number of cities where Tent Cities are officially established, so Nashville won’t have to reinvent the wheel here.

Councilwoman Luvenia Butler, in conjunction with MDHA’s Clifton Harris, are working now on setting up public hearings to discuss the feasibility and establishment of a Tent City somewhere in the city. On a parallel path is a private group that is hoping to procure a fairly large piece of land close to the downtown area that is basically undevelopable and can be turned into a private campground. It may turn out somewhere down the road that these two entities join together to pool resources, but frankly having more than one “tent city” to choose from is a good thing, since one may have rules and restrictions that either keep someone out or are so stringent that some will simply not want to set up their camp there.

Los Angles Times
Los Angeles County shelters brim with families

Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Carmelita Robertson and daughter Jaira, 2, occupy a private, tented cot inside the Union Rescue Mission in downtown Los Angeles. Robertson said they lived in a motel room until they ran out of government vouchers.

Vouchers for motel rooms are growing scarce as bad economy, bad weather take their toll. At the Union Rescue Mission downtown, mothers with children tell how they cope with their circumstances.
By Jessica Garrison
December 18, 2008

With her 5-week-old baby asleep face-down across her lap, Erica Richardson settled into a chair at the Union Rescue Mission and reviewed her strategies for staying sane while living with an infant in a homeless shelter.

The key is to get away from the shelter during the day, the tired-looking 33-year-old said. Head to the park, to a friend’s house, to any place where she can pretend, for a while anyway, that she is just another mom on an outing.

And, she added, placing a hand protectively on the sleeping form of her son Lonnie, “I just pray every day.”

A homeless mother sitting next to her — who was also juggling an infant on her lap as well as tending to a 2-year-old in a stroller — nodded vigorously. “I was getting ready to say the same thing,” said Cheirre Copeland. Then she leaned forward to offer some survival tricks of her own.

The economic crisis and cold weather have created a larger than usual influx of families to shelters in Los Angeles County this year, according to shelter officials and other service providers.

On Wednesday, officials at the Union Rescue Mission, which runs the county’s cold-weather shelters, held an emergency meeting to figure out what to do when they run out of hotel vouchers for families, which could happen this month. The numbers, said Chief Executive Andy Bales, are sobering: The region’s winter shelters and the skid row mission have seen 86 families in the last three weeks.

By comparison, last year the agency took in 20 families at its emergency shelters over the entire cold weather season from Dec. 1 to March 15, with 15 to 20 more at its downtown mission. Two weeks ago, the mission downtown opened up its fifth floor to two-parent families and single fathers with children, something it has never had to do before. It may also convert its chapel to sleeping quarters.

“This is, as far as I am concerned, a disaster of Katrina-esque proportions,” said Tanya Tull, chief executive of the nonprofit Beyond Shelter. A variety of negative economic forces are contributing, she said, from job losses to an uptick in foreclosures.

The signs, Tull said, are everywhere: from the father who pretends to work through the night at a computer at a 24-hour office supply center so his child can sleep safe and warm in a stroller to the mother who takes a baby to the emergency room at 11 p.m., knowing the odds are they won’t be called until morning and can pass the night in the waiting room.

Even in good times, Los Angeles County — the most populous in the nation — has more homeless people than any other metropolitan region in the country. According to a count taken almost two years ago, before the recession began, there were 73,000 people without homes on any given night.

Officials at the county Homeless Services Authority estimate that nearly a quarter of the homeless are parents and their children.

The first choice for many families is a motel room. Government and social services agencies routinely provide families with room vouchers — but those are growing scarce this year, according to Bales and others.

Carmelita Robertson, for example, lived in a motel room for weeks with her 2-year-old daughter, Jaira. But after she ran out of vouchers, she wound up sharing a room with three other single mothers on the fourth floor of the Union Rescue Mission.

She said she was grateful for being able to move up from an open cot to a private, tented one this week, where she and her daughter have a little privacy at night.

On a recent night, as Jaira scrambled across her cot holding a snow globe that played Christmas carols, Robertson described her descent into homelessness. She said she was working as a housekeeper at a Long Beach hotel and making the rent on a studio apartment — but because of the economy, her hours kept getting cut.

Last spring, she moved to Virginia to save money by staying with her mother, but they clashed and she came back to Los Angeles in July. She couldn’t find work, and wound up on the street.

She’s been at the mission since late November. She takes buses across town each day, putting her daughter in day care in South Los Angeles, then heading north for classes to become a medical technician, then reversing her route back to the mission.

Having her daughter with her, she said, keeps her focused on improving her situation.

“Even though we are homeless, we have to stabilize. Keep clothes. Keep diapers. When you have kids, you have to. . . . That’s what keeps most women down here pushing, the fact that we have children.”

The mothers also help one another. Many have cellphones, and they exchange numbers and call one another when they find out about free toys, diapers or other opportunities.

Copeland, a shelter occupant who is 22 and pregnant with her third child, offered more thoughts on how to survive the street.

Make sure you have some kind of activity every day, she said. If you have to go to the pediatrician, a social services center or the housing office, don’t do it all in one day — instead, stretch it out over three, leaving fewer empty days.

And no matter what, make sure your cellphone is charged so people can reach you with good tips on food or clothes or just a diverting piece of gossip.

Richardson nodded. She has been homeless since July, when she was five months’ pregnant. She had been living with her son’s father in an apartment in South Los Angeles, but he went to jail, leaving her without a way to pay the rent.

Her son was born while she was homeless, she said, and she is glad he is too young to understand what is happening.

December 22, 2008
The U.S. Conference of Mayors Release 2008 Hunger and Homelessness Survey Results
US Conference of Mayors:

Hunger and Homelessness are both on the rise according to a U.S. Conference of Mayors report on the status of Hunger and Homelessness in America. For more than 22 years, the Conference of Mayors has documented the magnitude of the issues of hunger and homelessness in our nation’s cities. Released at a press conference at the 4th Annual Miami Cares Day at the Miami Rescue mission, this report provides an analysis of the scale of the problem in twenty-five of America’s major cities (listed below) and the efforts these cities are making to address the issue.

“At this time of significant economic downturn, the issues of hunger and homelessness in America are more prevalent than ever. Cities are the front lines where these effects are first felt, which is why mayors have been proactive and have implemented local initiatives to combat hunger and homelessness in their communities to take care of our most vulnerable residents,” said Conference President Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, whose office is a major sponsor of Miami Cares Day.

The report reveals that on average, cities reported a 12 percent increase in homelessness from 2007 to 2008, with 16 cities citing an increase in the number of homeless families. The lack of affordable housing, poverty and unemployment were cited as the primary causes of homelessness for families. For individuals, the top three causes cited were substance, affordable housing and mental illness.

This year’s survey included a special focus on the demand for government subsidized housing and the effect of the foreclosure crisis on homelessness. Twelve cities (63) percent reported an increase in homelessness because of the foreclosure crisis. However, many cities did not have enough data to quantify the extent of the increase. The tenants of rental units in buildings where the landlord faced foreclosure were the most vulnerable to becoming homeless. Also, when asked if their waiting lists for public housing and housing vouchers had increased or decreased, most cities reported that their waiting lists were closed to new applicants due to excess demand.

Not surprisingly, poverty, unemployment and the lack of affordable housing were also cited as the top three causes of hunger in the surveyed cities. The report shows that requests for emergency food assistance went up in nearly every city surveyed with the demand outpacing the supply in 20 cities. Significantly, an estimated 59 percent of requests for food assistance were coming from families — many for the first-time.

“This report highlights the factors that contribute to poverty in this country and shows how they are inter-related,” said Gastonia (NC) Mayor Jennifer Stultz, Co-Chair of the Conference’s Task Force on Hunger and Homelessness in a statement. “Yet, these are major challenges that cities, regardless of size, cannot handle alone. Mayors are already working with the new Administration to ensure that those most in need in America are not forgotten.”

This year’s report also contains individual profiles of hunger and homelessness for each city that participated in the survey, as well as contact information for service providers in those cities. These profiles includes the median household income, the media monthly housing costs and the percent of people living below the poverty line in each city included in the survey.
Other key findings of the report are as follows:

Hunger –
– Cities were more likely to cite the high cost of housing as a main cause of hunger than the recent increase in food prices. In fact, when asked what would be most helpful in addressing hunger, affordable housing was the most commonly cited response.

– While private funding donations to food pantries increased by an average of 19 percent, there was only a 5 percent average increase in actual food donations from grocery stores and food companies.

– Cities adapted to increased food prices by purchasing cheaper protein sources and fewer whole grains;
cities also reduced the variety and amount of food offered to people per visit to stretch limited food supplies.

– Nineteen of the surveyed cities (83 percent) reported an increase in homelessness over the past year. On average, cities reported a 12 percent increase.

– Most cities reported that, at times over the past year the demand for homeless assistance exceeded the availability of shelter. In some cases, cities supplied motel vouchers or designate overflow areas within shelters. It was not uncommon to turn people away due to lack of available beds.

– Most cities in the survey appear to have embraced the philosophy of placing chronically homeless persons into permanent housing as quickly as possible, then providing services.

– All but one of the cities surveyed has developed or is in the process of developing a ten-year plan to end homelessness. Three quarters of these plans (75 percent) focused not just on ending homelessness for chronically homeless disabled adults, but also on preventing family homelessness.

In a statement, Mayor Gavin Newsome, Co-Chair of the Conference’s Task Force on Hunger and Homelessness said, “This report demonstrates that working families are increasingly at risk for hunger and in danger of homelessness, resulting from the weak economy coupled with high prices for food and fuel. San Francisco is finding new and innovative solutions to these problems like Direct Access to housing and Project Homeless Connect, but it’s clear that we have a long way to go. We will continue to expand our partnerships with the private sector and the federal government – because as this epidemic grows, it is our responsibility, to help ensure that every family has enough to eat and a decent place to live”

The report was prepared by Abt Associates and is based on data collected from The U.S. Conference of Mayors Hunger and Homelessness Information Questionnaire, completed by cities that reported on persons receiving food and shelter services over a one-year period from October 2007 to September 2008. A copy of the questionnaire is included in the report, which can be downloaded in its entirety at The Conference of Mayors website at
The 25 participating cities in this survey are members of The U.S. Conference of Mayors Task Force on Hunger and Homelessness and include the following:
Boston, MA
Charleston, SC
Charlotte, NC
Chicago, IL
Cleveland, OH
Dallas, TX
Denver, CO
Des Moines, IA
Gastonia, NC
Kansas City, MO
Los Angeles, CA
Louisville, KY
Miami, FL
Minneapolis, MN
Nashville, TN
Philadelphia, PA
Phoenix, AZ
Portland, OR
Providence, RI
St. Paul, MN
Salt Lake City, UT
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Posted on December 22, 2008 10:54 AM
Hunger and homelessness grow across US cities
By Oliver Richards
18 December 2008

Both the number of homeless and the demand for emergency food assistance have increased substantially in US cities, according to the findings of the most recent survey from the US Conference of Mayors Task Force on Hunger and Homelessness.

Available resources are severely strained due the economic crisis, while demand for food assistance has increased by 18 percent over the past year.

The Hunger and Homelessness Survey was released on December 12 and is based on a survey of 25 cities that provided information on food and homeless assistance for the period from October 1, 2007 to September 30, 2008. Given the increasing economic slowdown, one can safely conclude that the figures provided in the survey have only continued to grow worse.

The findings of the survey paint a grim picture of increasing social hardship in the United States. “At this time of significant economic downturn, the issues of hunger and homelessness in America are more prevalent than ever,” stated the Miami Mayor and Conference President Manny Diaz in a press release.

The 25 cities include Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, Kansas City, Seattle, Cleveland, and Los Angeles, among others. More revealing, however, are the cities not included in this report. New Orleans, for example, has not been included in the survey since it was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Detroit, the biggest poor city in America, was also left out, even though it was included in the task force’s 2007 report.

While a majority (68 percent) of the cities increased their funding for emergency food assistance in 2008, this growth was generally outpaced by increases in demand. The largest gaps between supply and demand were found in Philadelphia, where demand increased by 23 percent, but supply decreased by 26 percent, and Phoenix, which saw demand increase by 35 percent, but supply decrease by 13 percent.

One cause of the growing gap between supply and demand for food assistance can be found in the changing sources of food donations. Large grocery chains and other food suppliers provide, on average, half of all food donations. “This dependence has become problematic as improvements in quality control and supply chain management have reduced the quantity of excess or slightly imperfect food products that food banks receive from large grocery chains and national food companies,” the report notes.

Of the 21 cities that responded to the question, 20 stated that requests for emergency food assistance had increased in 2008. Much of this increase has resulted from a rise in first-time requests for assistance, particularly among working families affected by the economic downturn and rising food prices. The survey showed that 59 percent requesting food assistance are in families, 41 percent are employed, 15 percent are elderly, and 11 percent are homeless.

The ominous nature of these developments is highlighted by an answer from Cleveland, which noted, “Some agencies report that they are seeing families requesting assistance who were formerly donors to the pantry.”

Because demand for food assistance has largely not been met by supply, many kitchens and pantries have had to reduce the quantity of food handed out (80 percent of cities), turn people away (60 percent), limit the number of times a person can visit, and restrict services to neighborhood residents.

The surveyed cities were also asked to list the top three causes of hunger in their city. Poverty was cited by 83 percent of the cities, followed by unemployment (74 percent), high housing costs (57 percent), and increases in food prices (39 percent).

Looking at rates of homelessness, the report states that 19 of the 25 cities (83 percet) reported that homelessness had increased over the past year. “On average, cities reported a 12 percent increase in homelessness in 2008.” This includes family homelessness, which 16 of the cities reported increased.

Four cities “Portland, Oregon; Providence, Rhode Island; Gastonia, North Carolina; and San Francisco, California,” report that homelessness has increased by more than 30 percent over the past year.

When asked if the number of employed homeless persons had increased, 11 of the 19 cities that collected this data showed an increase, while only one city reported a decrease, and seven reported no change. Homelessness has also been exacerbated by the foreclosure crisis, with 12 cities reporting that it has contributed to an increase in homelessness.

As with emergency food assistance, the demand for shelter on certain nights is greater than the capacity that most cities can provide. This has led cities to adapt by providing cots in hallways or opening shelters earlier than scheduled. However, cities still have to turn away individuals and families.

For example, in Los Angeles, 31 percent of individuals seeking shelter had to be turned away due to a lack of beds, according to a 2007 survey. Des Moines reports that “shelter providers regularly report that ‘turn-aways’ are a routine occurrence.”

The report finds that the mentally ill are particularly vulnerable, with 26 percent of the persons experiencing homelessness also suffering from a severe mental illness.

The survey notes that there are a number of limitations to the study. For example, the cities selected for the survey do not constitute a representative sample of US cities. Furthermore, the averages among the 25 cities used by the report, which vary in size and location, are not weighted by differences in the populations of the cities.

However, despite these and other drawbacks, the survey still provides valuable information on the dismal social decay that characterizes the urban centers in the United States.


US: Christmas marked by declining sales as unemployment climbs

IMF economist warns of Great Depression

By Joe Kishore
27 December 2008
Early figures confirm an extremely bleak holiday shopping season in the US, as broad sections of the population have been hit hard by a deepening economic recession.

Total retail sales, excluding automobiles, fell 8 percent in December through Christmas Eve over the same period last year, according to MasterCard Inc.’s Spending Pulse. Sales for November fell 5.5 percent. If gasoline is excluded, the drop was a more modest 2 to 4 percent.

The holiday numbers come a few days after a Labor Department report showed that the number of US workers filing for first-time unemployment benefits increased 30,000 to 586,000 last week. The four-week moving average rose to 558,000. Both figures are the highest they have been since November 1982.

The sales declines are two to five times more severe than most analysts expected. It is the first time that holiday sales have fallen in the US in at least 40 years. Spending Pulse noted in its report that the 2008 shopping season was “one of the most challenging…we’ve faced in modern times.”

The figures are based on sales from the company’s credit card, with estimates for other forms of spending.

Declines were deep and broad-based, affecting all types of goods. Sales of expensive luxury goods, including jewelry, fell 34.5 percent. Apparel sales declined about 20 percent, and electronics goods fell by 26 percent. The decline in electronic sales was driven in part by a sharp fall in sales of more expensive products, as consumers cut back on large purchases and have had greater difficulty getting credit.

Even online sales declined 2 percent as compared to the 2007 holiday season, after soaring more than 20 percent last year.

Another research firm, Shopper Trak, reported Friday that visits to retail stores before Christmas fell 24 percent from last year. According to Shopper Trak’s figures, overall sales declined 5.3 percent over last year.

These figures are sharply worse than Shopper Trak had predicted only a month ago. The firm expected visits to fall only 10 percent and sales to fall by 1.5 to 2 percent.

The Wall Street Journal quoted Mary Delk, a director in the retail practice at consulting Firm Deloitte LLP, as saying, “This will go down as one of the worst holiday sales seasons on record. Retailers went from ‘Ho-ho’ to ‘Uh-oh’ to ‘Oh-no.’ ”

Retailers introduced sharp discounts on many items in the weeks leading up to Christmas, with some sellers in panic mode, in an attempt to unload excess inventory. Sales are continuing into the post-Christmas period, but they will do little to improve figures for the month and the year as a whole.

Declining holiday sales are only the latest consequence of the deepening economic recession in the US. Hundreds of thousands of jobs have been eliminated in recent months, and wages continue to deteriorate. US consumers, already deeply in debt, are confronting difficulties getting credit as banks have ceased lending.

The end of the winter shopping season will likely mean a surge in layoffs. Retail stores already shed more than 90,000 jobs in November, and several major firms have declared bankruptcy or begun liquidation (including Circuit City, Linens ‘N Things, Steve & Barry’s, and Mervyn’s). This list of casualties will mount as the final results of 2008 come in.

A US Commerce Department report this week showed a 0.6 percent decline in spending in November. Incomes for the month fell by 0.2 percent. Sales of existing homes fell 8.6 percent in the same month, according to the National Association of Realtors.

American corporations have only begun to take measures in response to the economic crisis, shedding jobs, reducing hours, and cutting wages and benefits.

The top economist at the International Monetary Fund, Olivier Blanchard, warned earlier this week that continued declines in consumer spending would set off a global depression. “Consumer and business confidence indexes have never fallen so far since they began. The coming months will be very bad,” he told the French newspaper Le Monde, as reported by Agence France-Presse.

“It is imperative to stifle this loss of confidence, to restart household consumption, if we want to prevent this recession developing into a Great Depression.”

The US gross domestic product (GDP) fell 0.5 percent in the third quarter (July-September) from the same period a year ago. The fourth quarter decline will be much steeper—around 5 percent. Production in the other advanced capitalist countries, including in Europe, is also declining.

The news from Japan is even worse. Industrial output in the second largest economy in the world fell by 8.1 percent since October.

The Financial Times noted, “The fall was the most rapid fall in industrial output since the current index was introduced in the 1950s, and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said its survey showed manufacturers expected the decline to continue, with an 8.0 per cent contracted forecast for this month.”

Some countries are already in the midst of economic conditions on the scale of the Great Depression. In Ukraine, industrial production fell by a massive 28.6 percent in November, following a nearly 20 percent decline the month before. In other words, nearly half of the country’s industrial production has been eliminated in the space of two months.

As the world enters the New Year, the Great Crash of 2008 is turning into the global depression of 2009.

On the DVD I warn you that in order for this country to have a pestilence outbreak as the third curse of Lev 26 says we are going to have, we have to have people living in the streets where mice and rats can come in close contact with them and spread disease.

On the DVD I warn you that in order to have a situation where we would have a rodent infestation we had to have an un sanitized area for them to live and grow in, such as garbage not being picked up. Now we can see it happening in a homeless city.

On the DVD I warn you that in order to have homeless and garbage not being picked up we had to have a financial crisis that was just then brewing.

After having made the DVD I warn you that we would also have hunger. I did this in many News Letters sent out to you this past summer. Caused again by the financial crisis that is now gripped not just our country but the whole world.

With the news articles you have just read, you can also see that when the washrooms in these homeless areas are locked at night that people will relieve themselves at the nearest convenient bush or pole. Adding to the potential disease outbreak.

Drinking water that is contaminated can be fatal. Children are dying in these tent cities now as we have read because the parents can not afford to pay for hospital care.

In Lev 26 we are warned that Yahweh will ROB us of our children if we do not repent.

Brethren how much more do you want to see before you believe that Yahweh is sending these curses just as He has said in Lev 26. Will you warn your brethren, and will you warn you family and will you tell these things to whom ever you can?

Be Doers of the law and not just hearers only. Warn people of what is coming. What I have shared here from the papers is just the beginning of what is in store. This is nothing in comparison to what is about to come. Warn them while you can.

Joseph F Dumond