Hunger and homelessness rose steeply in the nation's cities in the past year, with requests for emergency food assistance up an average of 19 percent and for shelter up 25 percent, the U.S. Conference of Mayors said Wednesday.
The conference released its annual report on hunger and homelessness based on a survey of 27 cities and found that homelessness among families and drug abusers was particularly acute at the end of 1989."If you could bring all of the people who have been homeless and hungry in the 1980s to our nation's capital, you would have a gathering of Americans that would exceed any gathering you have seen in Warsaw or Prague or Budapest," Boston Mayor Ray Flynn told a news conference in releasing the report.
"This morning the Bush administration has demonstrated its commitment to removing Gen. Manuel Noriega from Panama," Flynn added. "It has taken the steps it feels are necessary to do this. If that same level of commitment was aimed at the removal of hunger and homelessness from this nation's cities we would never again have to issue the kind of report we are issuing today."
Flynn heads the conference's task force on hunger and homelessness.
Local officials pointed to the lack of affordable housing as a chief cause of not only homelessness but also of hunger, as those poor who are not homeless pay increased portions of their income for shelter, thus depriving them of money for food.