177. Tent Cities Rise in US:Our Dirty Little Secret

Photo AP

The picture above isn’t one from a third world country. The above picture is a tent city in Reno Nevada and it is just one of the many tent cities that are springing up around the US. The result of the current economy in the US has resulted in an increase of Americans who find themselves homeless. This particular one in Reno is home for 150 homeless citizens who have become the latest statistic in the rise of homelessness in the US.  While we read about the current state of ecomonic tumoil in the US, it is a rarity to actually see the results of these hard times that all Americans are facing. Well, guess what folks? Tent cities are on the rise throughout the US and will probably continue to increase as the economy worsens. Tent cities are becoming a landscape of the America of 2008.

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


To be clear, many of the homeless of our country are not seeking life on the streets because of their own desires to live in a tent next to others. Tent cities are a direct result of the rising economic fall out that is sweeping our country. Homelessness knows no economic boundaries and with increasing job layoffs the faces of our homeless include families, the middle class and even CEOs.  A recent letter from one of Wanderingvets readers illustrates the fact that being homeless in America can happen to anyone.

I know this situation unfortunately. a 20+ year friend of mine who used to be a multi-millionaire is living in his SUV. i had lost touch with him for a couple of years and thought it was odd that i couldnt find him, considering his position… then when i reached him, he admitted he had been living in his SUV. we live about 2,000 miles away and i offered to let him stay at my house……… HOW can a multimillionaire be living in his car? LaurenStephens

I agree with Lauren’s question and this leads to another question…How can we stand by and let these tent cities not prompt us to come up with the means to provide shelter & assistance for Americans in the current economic crisis? America has offered humanitarian aid for others throughout the world yet we are doing nothing to help our very own citizens? Many homeless services simply can’t keep up with growing numbers of the homeless in the US. We simply have never been committed to really addressing the issue of homelessness in most  communties…and now we are faced with numbers that far exceed the current services.

One thing is for certain. Homelessness in America isn’t going to be a headline that is shared with the public at large. There is little in the media about this rising problem and to date there have been no national efforts to ease the burden of those who find themselves homeless in the current economy. It seems to be  some dirty little secret that we don’t want to address with a solution. (In fact, if you do a search for tent cities in the US there is more news about this problem coming from foreign press than from the American mainstream media!)

As these tent cities continue to appear throughout America I urge you to recognize the need for help in your own communities. We have a long history for helping our fellow Americans out during crisis and this situation is no different,although less publicized. Please support your local homeless organizations , contact your local community government to assure that they are doing more than merely passing prohibitive laws for those in need,buy the homeless a meal,hire those who need a job….do something that supports the many homeless Americans who are in need of our support. Each and every thing can make a difference!

For those who want to make a difference in your communties, Wanderingvets has the following articles that might give you a better insight into helping our homeless Americans:

For those Americans who are experiencing homelessness there are some tips for survival from someone who has experienced homelessness first hand. Please feel free to let Wanderingvets hear from you. You are not forgotten.


6 Responses to “177. Tent Cities Rise in US:Our Dirty Little Secret”

  1. 1 Jeff
    September 24, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    I have been traveling overseas throughout the last 6 months and upon returning to NC, there are noteworthy economic differences. More of my friends and colleagues are unemployed or underemployed, there are more panhandlers at street corners who need assistance (even though Durham NC had committed to abolishing them this past summer) and a former vet coworker of mine is living in his car and showering at the YMCA. Lauren’s shared story is not unfamiliar to me, yet I am shocked about it still. He is a man my age (mid-40’s) who used to have a comfortable life and he now lives in his car. It can and does happen. By the middle of next week however, I and some friends will hopefully have him once again gainfully employed, with a renewed sense of pride and self-worth. We can do something and should.

    Your story is all too common in this current economic environment.
    Luckily,there are people like you who are reaching out and doing something for those who are facing the harsh reality of homelessness. Thank you ! Best of luck to your friend. AnAmerican

  2. March 26, 2009 at 12:23 am

    No one in government wants to get their hands dirty. Many citizens don’t believe this situation exists, and if they did I don’t think they could be bothered with it. Its problems like this that really expose the apathy in America.

  3. March 27, 2009 at 10:18 am

    Interestingly,over the past 6 months since this post was written there has been alot of news on the tent cities in the US. (Oprah did a show about a tent city and seemingly opened the door for the media about this issue)
    Unfortunately, I have seen nothing about creative solutions for finding our citizens living in tents supportive services…taking care of these Americans doesn’t seem to be as urgent an issue as bailing out corporations…a true indication of how misplaced our values in this country have become.

  4. 4 Canadian
    March 29, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    So, the US treasury can spend not million, not billion, but TRILLIONS of dollars on bailouts for corporations that caused this problem. But they can’t help their citizens that are affected by the said problem.

    Thats pretty sad.

  5. 5 johnny d.
    July 15, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    I don’t think for one second that the U.S. treasury can’t help the homeless in this country it’s just that they won’t.For the home owner that has just lost a job and need to refinance or get some kind of financial help to save themselves(forget it).For the home owner who is still holding on by a thread a nice tax raise should help huh?(F.U.)They give trillions to big busness and the corparations do lay off’s and then hire people to do the same jobs at about 1/2 the pay.God forbid you confront your supervisor about the lower than scale wage.They will show you the door and hire the next victim.In the midsts of all the economical grief the corparations are reaping all the benies and don’t think for one sec.that they don’t know they got you by the balls.This seems to be a means for some kind of huge change.EAT THE RICH.

  6. 6 MR. IAM
    March 31, 2010 at 8:17 am

    OR better yet ,what would happen if they ALL ste their tents all around the white house as a protest for help

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