Cities across the country are struggling to deal with mushrooming shantytowns, reports the New York Times. In a chilling echo of the Great Depression, tent cities are springing up on vacant lots in smaller cities, while homeless encampments in larger cities are burgeoning as more and more people lose their jobs and homes.
A chronic homeless problem in Fresno, California, has been made far worse by the recession. Authorities estimate 2000 people are homeless in the city, with many living in shantytowns plagued by drugs and violence. They are launching a "triage" effort to supply vital services to the growing homeless population. "We’re treating it like any other disaster area," a city official said.