Poverty and homelessness are on the rise according to a report released on Thursday by the United States Conference of Mayors.
Here is the richest country in the world (and) we have people who cannot find a place to live, said Kansas City Mayor Sly James, who co-chairs a task force on hunger and homelessness for the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
The survey, which involved 29 cities, by the organization of municipal chiefs, found that 25 of the cities had seen an increase in requests for emergency food aid in the past year. In addition, none of the cities surveyed said they expected the demand for emergency food assistance to fall in the next year, while all but two expected the demand to increase.
Unemployment led the list of factors cited for the growing need for aid. Homelessness across the surveyed cities increased by an average of six percent, according to the report, which added that two out of three cities surveyed predicted the numbers of homeless people to grow next year.
It is not surprising that the combination of increasing demand and decreasing resources is the biggest challenge that they would face in that effort to address hunger in the next year, said Mayor Terry Bellamy of Asheville, North Carolina.
The data also revealed that 86 percent of cities surveyed said food pantries and emergency kitchens have had to reduce the amount of food given out to visitors. Another 82 percent said they had been forced to turn people away from food kitchens
We should be ashamed of ourselves for allowing veterans who fought for this country to find themselves living on the street, said James.
Alongside mass unemployment, falling wages have played a critical role in the staggering growth of poverty in the U.S. Wages have fallen, over the past 12 months alone, by 1.7 percent in real terms. Finally, the report also pointed to the urgent need to propose measures to alleviate the crisis and create jobs.