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Issues Beyond Palo Alto, posted by Ted Rudow III, MA, a member of the Palo Alto High School community,
Homeless in America Homelessness is not a new phenomenon in California ("Motel California", Magazine, 3 September). What is new – and alarming – is that more and more of the homeless are families that once believed they were secure members of the middle class. The growing trend is a sign that a feared second recession could push the poor over the edge and make a solid recovery even harder. More than two years into the economic recovery, there isn't yet a light at the end of the tunnel for California's economy and stubborn unemployment. The number of job losses in the state is still much higher than the worst moments of the 2001 and 1990 recessions. The state's jobless rate hit 12 per cent last month, the second worst in the nation. The world today has over 1,200 billionaires, perhaps 24 million millionaires, and 120 million homeless. It has half a billion who eat too much, and an equal number who eat scarcely enough to stay alive. Equity of income distribution is worse today than at any time since records have been kept. At present the US has more homeless than any other industrialised country on Earth.