Bushburbs and Hoovervilles Springing Up Across America

hooverville image

A year ago we reported that there were 18.6 million empty houses in America, with 24 empty houses for every homeless person. Now the New York Times reports that Bushburbs (Hooverville is so 1935) are springing up all over as people lose their jobs and their houses. No doubt the numbers are now far worse.

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Jim Wilson/The New York Times: Fresno Bushburb

Jesse McKinley writes in the Times:

While encampments and street living have always been a part of the landscape in big cities like Los Angeles and New York, these new tent cities have taken root — or grown from smaller enclaves of the homeless as more people lose jobs and housing — in such disparate places as Nashville, Olympia, Wash., and St. Petersburg, Fla.

"These are able-bodied folks that did day labor, at minimum wage or better, who were previously able to house themselves based on their income," said Michael Stoops, the executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless, an advocacy group based in Washington.


Tent City, New Orleans

Millions of empty houses across America. Now hundreds of thousands of people sleeping in tents, without proper sanitation or any security. In America.

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Tent City, Reno, Nevada via the Star
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cleveland foreclosure via Save the American Dream

As John Bradford said in 1555 on seeing some prisoners being led to their execution, "There but by the grace of God go I."

One can no longer just write off the homeless as drug-addled or disturbed- now they could be your former neighbor. Why not put them to work fixing those 18.6 million empty houses so that they can have a roof over their head?

More in the New York Times

TreeHugger on Tents and housing for the homeless:
30 Different Ways to Put A Roof Over Your Head In These Tents Times
Almost Homeless: Living in an Internet Café
Cleveland as Harbinger of Things to Come?
The Move to Detroit for the $100 House