1. Homelessness is rising, but the government is trying to help many come to the centre for homeless families in the Bronx with everything they own—a toddler in one hand, a suitcase in the other.
2. New York is seeing a rising number of homeless families because of the recession. In February nearly 40% more applied for shelter in New York than had done a year earlier.
3. It is the same story all across the country. San Francisco had to open its winter shelter two months early last year. Louisville, Kentucky, reported an increase of more than 58% in family homelessness in 2008.
4. Although national data on homelessness in 2008 will not become available for several months, most agree that there are “staggering increases”, according to Ellen Bassuk, executive director of the National Centre on Family Homelessness.
5. Some cities, like Boston have adopted a desperate solution to put a roof over people’s heads: motels.
6. Entire families are placed in one room at these “welfare motels”, which are often far away from schools and grocery stores.
6. Geography is not their only drawback. They are an expensive way of housing people, costing governments as much as $100 per room each night.
7. And many motels do not have caseworkers assigned to them, so people sent there do not get the same support they would have received in shelters.