It's going to get a lot worse, and may stay that way for a long time. Homelessness is bad now, but watch what a falling dollar and rising prices does to the rise in homelessness. The Mortgage Crises, job loses, no health insurance or dental care--this oncoming train is going to hurt a lot of people, and they aren't all strangers. Even the middle-class will start feeling as if they are a month away from disaster. The elderly who have no families are especially at risk. And almost anyone with mental health issues, and no inheritance or big family to keep them afloat, are already on the street.
I have the ability to block out commercials on TV or reading the news online. Some of you advertise on your sites--I don't see it. We all do this to some extent, but if you were born in the late '70s or early '80s, you will probably think we have always had a homeless "problem." And it's easy for you to ignore them--they have always been with you, in your peripheral vision. But, no, they haven't always been with us, especially in these numbers--we have Ronald Reagan to thank for emptying the State and Federally supported Mental Health Facilities all across the country. Wards of the State came pouring out with no safety-net, and often no family willing to care for them. I remember it well. And I've alway wondered why anyone ever called Ronald Reagan one of our greatest Presidents. Was not!
I had a friend who was an Air Traffic Controller when Reagan came to power. I remember his complaints about the extreme stress of that job. There were too few Controllers, and too many aircraft, in too tight a space, in most major airports across the country. Air Traffic Controllers were Union workers. They were being asked to give up benefits, work longer shifts with fewer breaks. They went on strike, and Reagan busted the Union. (That was just for starters). And many of the Air Traffic Controllers who were replaced by inexperienced, non-union workers, were unable to find work. Pretty soon their unemployment benefits ran out and there were no jobs, that fit their lifetime experience as an Air Traffic Controller. Once your unemployment benefits run out you are no longer counted among the unemployed. At this point, without a family safety-net, you can so easily fall through the cracks and end up homeless.
The subject of the mess that Ragean made is more than I meant to suggest here, but it got me thinking.