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Economy driving people into homelessness

Posted September 25, 2008

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— The number of homeless people in Wake County jumped more than 9 percent in 2007, and advocates blame the increase on rising prices, the sour housing market and high unemployment.

An annual count by the Raleigh/Wake County Plan to End and Prevent Homelessness found 1,141 homeless people last year. That was the highest number in four years, and advocates said it likely doesn't reflect the magnitude of the problem.

Lisa Williams, executive director of the Wake Interfaith Hospitality Network, estimates about 2,000 people are in area homeless shelters on any given night. Six families showed up at her shelter in the last two months because of foreclosures, she said.

"They were renting from someone who owned a home, and now their home has been foreclosed, so they lost their housing," Williams said.

The tough economy is putting more families on the street. Officials said 41 percent of the homeless in Wake County are women and children.

"When you're barely making it paycheck-to-paycheck anyway (and) gas and milk go up to $4 a gallon, you can't choose between the two. It has to give somewhere," Williams said.

Regina Simmons and her 7-year-old daughter, Georgie Ross, lost their home because they could no longer afford the rent.

"We had our own home, and then things went wrong," Simmons said.

They went to a Thursday event in downtown Raleigh designed to provide a range of assistance for the homeless, including finding help with paying rent.

"I let her know that this is only temporary. We are going to have a home soon," Simmons said.

Shonda Stamps said she doesn't want to have her baby in a shelter.

"It's hard because I feel like, sometimes, it's all my fault," Stamps said. "The economy is so bad, it's hard to get anything from anyone."


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  • validpoint Sep 26, 2008

    So, who is going to bail them out?

  • jdman Sep 26, 2008


  • MamaBearNC Sep 26, 2008

    "The economy is so bad, it's hard to get anything from anyone."

    The last comment in the story. - Since we moved to this country I have not expected anything from anyone. We have only ourselves to depend on. It may mean working long hours. That last comment is the problem. You should not expect anything from anyone.

  • inform Sep 26, 2008

    I kinda doubt these people were evicted because the home or apartment they were renting was foreclosed. More likely, it's because they weren't paying their rent. The homeless advocate is spewing propaganda, perhaps for the right reason, but going about it the wrong way. Liberals like to ignore accuracy and fact in supporting their designer causes. Save the wahales, save the seals, save the homeless. Get a job!

  • stopthehaters Sep 26, 2008

    bushs friends in the bail, out aint homeless . no more bushs OBAMA 08!

  • enoughsenough Sep 26, 2008

    I used to have a real estate man( can't remember his name) come to my job weekly trying to talk me into buying a home I could not afford. He would say "get roomates so u can afford it. Kept sending emails weekly of properties in the area. I kept saying NO because I knew I could not afford it. The thought was nice but I refused to get myself into trouble. I have good credit and I am glad that I had the good sense to say NO. Since the housing bust, I have not seen him anymore.

  • alsandwwe Sep 26, 2008

    What is America coming to be? It looks like all the goverment cares about is money. They don't care what happens to anyone as long as they get the green.

  • ncguy Sep 26, 2008

    It's pretty simple really.
    I was qualified for much more than I actually bought- why because most of these people bought homes at the very top of what they could afford. It's called being house broke. When their variable rate went up- which they all knew was going to happen they all the sudden can't afford it.
    So suckers like me have to bail them out???
    Why to create stability? So the Mortgage people can keep making money? so the guy who bought the beamer can keep his over priced house and keep paying his lease that he is 20,000 miles over his miles?
    They all got what they deserved.
    Personnally I think the economy should tank- it will get then get to restart and hopefully people will learn a lesson!!!

  • Nothing Finer Sep 25, 2008

    "Still waitin' since the 80s for some of that green stuff to trickle down to me"

    Oh, it's trickling down, alright...only it AIN'T green!

  • NZ Sep 25, 2008

    The Wall Street Journal suggests we BULLDOZE overbuilt neighborhoods rather than let prices fall.

    We need Global Debt relief and Nationalize housing. If they are nationalizing the investment companies debt while privatizing profits we should provide housing and start again under a different system. Keep folks in their homes.

    Don't bulldoze empty homes while folks are out on the street.

    Set up homeless camps in DC if they bulldoze one decent home just to stabilize prices.