21 Statistics About The Explosive Growth Of Poverty In America That Everyone Should Know…  And Care About

By Michael, on April 4th, 2013

21 Statistics About The Explosive Growth Of Poverty In America That Everyone Should Know - Phot by D. Sharon Pruitt

If the economy is getting better, then why does poverty in America continue to grow so rapidly?  Yes, the stock market has been hitting all-time highs recently, but also the number of Americans living in poverty has now reached a level not seen since the 1960s.  Yes, corporate profits are at levels never seen before, but so is the number of Americans on food stamps.  Yes, housing prices have started to rebound a little bit (especially in wealthy areas), but there are also more than a million public school students in America that are homeless.  That is the first time that has ever happened in U.S. history.  So should we measure our economic progress by the false stock market bubble that has been inflated by Ben Bernanke’s reckless money printing, or should we measure our economic progress by how the poor and the middle class are doing?  Because if we look at how average Americans are doing these days, then there is not much to be excited about.  In fact, poverty continues to experience explosive growth in the United States and the middle class continues to shrink.  Sadly, the truth is that things are not getting better for most Americans.  With each passing year the level of economic suffering in this country continues to go up, and we haven’t even reached the next major wave of the economic collapse yet.  When that strikes, the level of economic pain in this nation is going to be off the charts.

The following are 21 statistics about the explosive growth of poverty in America that everyone should know…

1 – According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately one out of every six Americans is now living in poverty.  The number of Americans living in poverty is now at a level not seen since the 1960s.

2 – When you add in the number of low income Americans it is even more sobering.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 146 million Americans are either "poor" or "low income".

3 – Today, approximately 20 percent of all children in the United States are living in poverty.  Incredibly, a higher percentage of children is living in poverty in America today than was the case back in 1975.

4 – It may be hard to believe, but approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are currently living in homes that are either considered to be either "low income" or impoverished.

5 – Poverty is the worst in our inner cities.  At this point, 29.2 percentof all African-American households with children are dealing with food insecurity.

6 – According to a recently released report, 60 percent of all children in the city of Detroit are living in poverty.

7 – The number of children living on $2.00 a day or less in the United States has grown to 2.8 million.  That number has increased by 130 percent since 1996.

8 – For the first time ever, more than a million public school students in the United States are homeless.  That number has risen by 57 percent since the 2006-2007 school year.

9 – Family homelessness in the Washington D.C. region (one of the wealthiest regions in the entire country) has risen 23 percent since the last recession began.

10 – One university study estimates that child poverty costs the U.S. economy 500 billion dollars each year.

11 – At this point, approximately one out of every three children in the U.S. lives in a home without a father.

12 – Families that have a head of household under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent.

13 – Today, there are approximately 20.2 million Americans that spend more than half of their incomes on housing.  That represents a 46 percent increase from 2001.

14 – About 40 percent of all unemployed workers in America have been out of work for at least half a year.

15 – At this point, one out of every four American workers has a job that pays $10 an hour or less.

16 – There has been an explosion in the number of "working poor" Americans in recent years.  Today, about one out of every fourworkers in the United States brings home wages that are at or below the poverty level.

17 – Right now, more than 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the federal government.  And that does not even include Social Security or Medicare.

18 – An all-time record 47.79 million Americans are now on food stamps.  Back when Barack Obama first took office, that number was only sitting at about 32 million.

19 – The number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the entire population of Spain.

20 – According to one calculation, the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of "Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming."

21 – Back in the 1970s, about one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps.  Today, close to one out of every six Americans is on food stamps.  Even more shocking is the fact that more than one out of every four children in the United States is enrolled in the food stamp program.

Unfortunately, all of these problems are a result of our long-term economic decline.  In a recent article for the New York Times, David Stockman, the former director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan, did a brilliant job of describing how things have degenerated over the last decade…

Since the S&P 500 first reached its current level, in March 2000, the mad money printers at the Federal Reserve have expanded their balance sheet sixfold (to $3.2 trillion from $500 billion). Yet during that stretch, economic output has grown by an average of 1.7 percent a year (the slowest since the Civil War); real business investment has crawled forward at only 0.8 percent per year; and the payroll job count has crept up at a negligible 0.1 percent annually. Real median family income growth has dropped 8 percent, and the number of full-time middle class jobs, 6 percent. The real net worth of the “bottom” 90 percent has dropped by one-fourth. The number of food stamp and disability aid recipients has more than doubled, to 59 million, about one in five Americans.

For the last couple of years, the U.S. economy has experienced a bubble of false hope that has been produced by unprecedented amounts of government debt and unprecedented money printing by the Federal Reserve.

Unfortunately, that bubble of false hope is not going to last much longer.  In fact, we are already seeing signs that it is getting ready to burst.

For example, initial claims for unemployment benefits shot up to385,000 for the week ending March 30th.

That is perilously close to the 400,000 "danger level" that I keep warning about.  Once we cross the 400,000 level and stay there, it will be time to go into crisis mode.

In the years ahead, it is going to become increasingly difficult to find a job.  Just the other day I saw an article about an advertisement for a recent job opening at a McDonald’s in Massachusetts that required applicants to have "one to two years experience and a bachelor’s degree".

If you need a bachelor’s degree for a job at McDonald’s, then what in the world are blue collar workers going to do when the competition for jobs becomes really intense once the economy experiences another major downturn?

Do not be fooled by the fact that the Dow has been setting new all-time highs.  The truth is that we are in the midst of a long-term economic decline, and things are going to get a lot worse.  If you know someone that is not convinced of this yet, just share the following article with them: "Show This To Anyone That Believes That ‘Things Are Getting Better’ In America".

So what are all of you seeing in your own areas?

Are you seeing signs that poverty is getting worse?

Homeless And Cold - Photo By Ed Yourdon

Wake up America

WHAT WE NEED IS A MODERN DAY

“ROBIN HOOD POLITITIAN”

FOR THE POOR

WHO IS NOT AFRAID OF THE

POND SCUM

SUPER RICH ELITE WHO ARE CREATING

OPPRESSION,POVERTY,SLAVERY

AND EVERY OTHER EVIL ON THIS PLANET FOR

THERE OWN PERSONAL GAIN

 

The Tunnel People That Live Under The Streets Of America

Michael Snyder
Economic Collapse
April 10, 2013

Did you know that there are thousands upon thousands of homeless people that are living underground beneath the streets of major U.S. cities? It is happening in Las Vegas, it is happening in New York City and it is even happening in Kansas City. As the economy crumbles, poverty in the United States isabsolutely exploding and so is homelessness. In addition to the thousands of “tunnel people” living under the streets of America, there are also thousands that are living in tent cities, there are tens of thousands that are living in their vehicles and there are more than a million public school children that do not have a home to go back to at night. The federal government tells us that the recession “is over” and that “things are getting better”, and yet poverty and homelessness in this country continue to rise with no end in sight. So what in the world are things going to look like when the next economic crisis hits?

When I heard that there were homeless people living in a network of underground tunnels beneath the streets of Kansas City, I was absolutely stunned. I have relatives that live in that area. I never thought of Kansas City as one of the more troubled cities in the United States.

But according to the Daily Mail, police recently discovered a network of tunnels under the city that people had been living in…

Below the streets of Kansas City, there are deep underground tunnels where a group of vagrant homeless people lived in camps.

These so-called homeless camps have now been uncovered by the Kansas City Police, who then evicted the residents because of the unsafe environment.

Authorities said these people were living in squalor, with piles of garbage and dirty diapers left around wooded areas.

The saddest part is the fact that authorities found dirty diapers in the areas near these tunnels. That must mean that babies were being raised in that kind of an environment.

Unfortunately, this kind of thing is happening all over the nation. In recent years, the tunnel people of Las Vegas have received quite a bit of publicity all over the world. It has been estimated that more than 1,000 people live in the massive network of flood tunnels under the city…

Deep beneath Vegas’s glittering lights lies a sinister labyrinth inhabited by poisonous spiders and a man nicknamed The Troll who wields an iron bar.

But astonishingly, the 200 miles of flood tunnels are also home to 1,000 people who eke out a living in the strip’s dark underbelly.

Some, like Steven and his girlfriend Kathryn, have furnished their home with considerable care – their 400sq ft ‘bungalow’ boasts a double bed, a wardrobe and even a bookshelf.

Could you imagine living like that? Sadly, for an increasing number of Americans a “normal lifestyle” is no longer an option. Either they have to go to the homeless shelters or they have to try to eke out an existence on their own any way that they can.

In New York City, authorities are constantly trying to root out the people that live in the tunnels under the city and yet they never seem to be able to find them all. The following is from a New York Post articleabout the “Mole People” that live underneath New York City…

The homeless people who live down here are called Mole People. They do not, as many believe, exist in a separate, organized underground society. It’s more of a solitary existence and loose-knit community of secretive, hard-luck individuals.

The New York Post followed one homeless man known as “John Travolta” on a tour through the underground world. What they discovered was a world that is very much different from what most New Yorkers experience…

In the tunnels, their world is one of malt liquor, tight spaces, schizophrenic neighbors, hunger and spells of heat and cold. Travolta and the others eat fairly well, living on a regimented schedule of restaurant leftovers, dumped each night at different times around the neighborhood above his foreboding home.

Even as the Dow hits record high after record high, poverty in New York City continues to rise at a very frightening pace. Incredibly, the number of homeless people sleeping in the homeless shelters of New York City has increased by a whopping 19 percent over the past year.

In many of our major cities, the homeless shelters are already at maximum capacity and are absolutely packed night after night. Large numbers of homeless people are often left to fend for themselves.

That is one reason why we have seen the rise of so many tent cities.

Yes, the tent cities are still there, they just aren’t getting as much attention these days because they do not fit in with the “economic recovery” narrative that the mainstream media is currently pushing.

In fact, many of the tent cities are larger than ever. For example, you can check out a Reuters video about a growing tent city in New Jersey that was posted on YouTube at the end of March right here.

A lot of these tent cities have now become permanent fixtures, and unfortunately they will probably become much larger when the next major economic crisis strikes.

But perhaps the saddest part of all of this is the massive number of children that are suffering night after night.

For the first time ever, more than a million public school children in the United States are homeless. That number has risen by 57 percent since the 2006-2007 school year.

So if things are really “getting better”, then why in the world do we have more than a million public school children without homes?

These days a lot of families that have lost their homes have ended up living in their vehicles. The following is an excerpt from a 60 Minutes interview with one family that is living in their truck…

This is the home of the Metzger family. Arielle,15. Her brother Austin, 13. Their mother died when they were very young. Their dad, Tom, is a carpenter. And, he’s been looking for work ever since Florida’s construction industry collapsed. When foreclosure took their house, he bought the truck on Craigslist with his last thousand dollars. Tom’s a little camera shy – thought we ought to talk to the kids – and it didn’t take long to see why.

Pelley: How long have you been living in this truck?

Arielle Metzger: About five months.

Pelley: What’s that like?

Arielle Metzger: It’s an adventure.

Austin Metzger: That’s how we see it.

Pelley: When kids at school ask you where you live, what do you tell ‘em?

Austin Metzger: When they see the truck they ask me if I live in it, and when I hesitate they kinda realize. And they say they won’t tell anybody.

Arielle Metzger: Yeah it’s not really that much an embarrassment. I mean, it’s only life. You do what you need to do, right?

But after watching a news report or reading something on the Internet about these people we rapidly forget about them because they are not a part of “our world”.

Another place where a lot of poor people end up is in prison. In aprevious article, I detailed how the prison population in the United States has been booming in recent years. If you can believe it, the United States now has approximately 25 percent of the entire global prison population even though it only has about 5 percent of the total global population.

And these days it is not just violent criminals that get thrown into prison. If you lose your job and get behind on your bills, you could be thrown into prison as well. The following is from a recent CBS News article

Roughly a third of U.S. states today jail people for not paying off their debts, from court-related fines and fees to credit card and car loans, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. Such practices contravene a 1983 United States Supreme Court ruling that they violate the Constitutions’s Equal Protection Clause.

Some states apply “poverty penalties,” such as late fees, payment plan fees and interest, when people are unable to pay all their debts at once. Alabama charges a 30 percent collection fee, for instance, while Florida allows private debt collectors to add a 40 percent surcharge on the original debt. Some Florida counties also use so-called collection courts, where debtors can be jailed but have no right to a public defender. In North Carolina, people are charged for using a public defender, so poor defendants who can’t afford such costs may be forced to forgo legal counsel.

The high rates of unemployment and government fiscal shortfalls that followed the housing crash have increased the use of debtors’ prisons, as states look for ways to replenish their coffers. Said Chettiar, “It’s like drawing blood from a stone. States are trying to increase their revenue on the backs of the poor.”

If you are poor, the United States can be an incredibly cold and cruel place. Mercy and compassion are in very short supply.

The middle class continues to shrink and poverty continues to grow with each passing year. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately one out of every six Americans is now living in poverty. And if you throw in those that are considered to be “near poverty”, that number becomes much larger. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 146 million Americans are either “poor” or “low income”.

For many more facts about the rapid increase of poverty in this country, please see my previous article entitled “21 Statistics About The Explosive Growth Of Poverty In America That Everyone Should Know“.

But even as poverty grows, it seems like the hearts of those that still do have money are getting colder. Just check out what happened recently at a grocery store that was in the process of closing down in Augusta, Georgia

Residents filled the parking lot with bags and baskets hoping to get some of the baby food, canned goods, noodles and other non-perishables. But a local church never came to pick up the food, as the storeowner prior to the eviction said they had arranged. By the time the people showed up for the food, what was left inside the premises—as with any eviction—came into the ownership of the property holder, SunTrust Bank.

The bank ordered the food to be loaded into dumpsters and hauled to a landfill instead of distributed. The people that gathered had to be restrained by police as they saw perfectly good food destroyed. Local Sheriff Richard Roundtree told the news “a potential for a riot was extremely high.”

Can you imagine watching that happen?

But of course handouts and charity are only temporary solutions. What the poor in this country really need are jobs, and unfortunately there has not been a jobs recovery in the United States since the recession ended.

In fact, the employment crisis looks like it is starting to take another turn for the worse. The number of layoffs in the month of March was 30 percent higher than the same time a year ago.

Meanwhile, small businesses are indicating that hiring is about to slow down significantly. According to a recent survey by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, small businesses in the United States are extremely pessimistic right now. The following is what Goldman Sachs had to say about this survey…

Components of the survey were consistent with the decline in headline optimism, as the net percent of respondents planning to hire fell to 0% (from +4%), those expecting higher sales fell to -4% (from +1%), and those reporting that it is a good time to expand ticked down to +4% (from +5%). The net percent of respondents expecting the economy to improve was unchanged at -28%, a very depressed level. However, on the positive side, +25% of respondents plan increased capital spending [ZH: With Alcoa CapEx spending at a 2 year low]. Small business owners continue to place poor sales, taxes, and red tape at the top of their list of business problems, as they have for the past several years.

So why aren’t our politicians doing anything to fix this?

For example, why in the world don’t they stop millions of our jobs from being sent out of the country?

Well, the truth is that they don’t think we have a problem. In fact, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson recently saidthat U.S. trade deficits “don’t matter”.

He apparently does not seem alarmed that more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities have been shut down in the United States since 2001.

And since the last election, the White House has seemed to have gone into permanent party mode.

On Tuesday, another extravagant party will be held at the White House. It is being called “In Performance at the White House: Memphis Soul”, and it is going to include some of the biggest names in the music industry…

As the White House has previously announced, Justin Timberlake (who will be making his White House debut), Al Green, Ben Harper, Queen Latifah, Cyndi Lauper, Joshua Ledet, Sam Moore, Charlie Musselwhite, Mavis Staples, and others will be performing at the exclusive event.

And so who will be paying for all of this?

You and I will be. Even as the Obamas cry about all of the other “spending cuts” that are happening, they continue to blow millions of taxpayer dollars on wildly extravagant parties and vacations.

Overall, U.S. taxpayers will spend well over a billion dollars on the Obamas this year.

I wonder what the tunnel people that live under the streets of America think about that.

 

NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND

WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF THE MOLE PEOPLE

  • By DON KAPLAN

THERE are many paths into New York’s little known netherworld. One of them is a metal door sandwiched between a grimy Midtown apartment building and a nondescript bodega.

Thousands of people walk by every day, never even noticing it. While millions of straphangers walk up and down the city’s clearly marked subway entrances, only a handful know of the dangerous, harsh – yet surprisingly peaceful – world that lies on the other side of this particular door.

Call it a tale of two cities – and both are constantly changing.

PHOTOS: NYC’S Underground Dwellers

One of million-dollar apartments, traffic, bright lights and constant noise – and another of dank tunnels, miles of garbage-strewn train tracks and rumbling trains that shatter the crypt-like silence.

"The trains are a beautiful, sweet sound in my morning," says a 49-year-old man who gives his name as John Travolta.

Travolta, originally from the Dominican Republic, claims to have lived in these dark, rat-infested spaces beneath Manhattan for the past 20 years.

The homeless people who live down here are called Mole People. They do not, as many believe, exist in a separate, organized underground society. It’s more of a solitary existence and loose-knit community of secretive, hard-luck individuals.

Like most of the ground here, the floor of Travolta’s "home" consists of baseball-size chunks of railway gravel, packed earth and – strangely enough – thousands of old shoes, which appear to be the most common type of refuse in the underground.

His "sweet"-sounding alarm clock is the roar of a massive commuter train that speeds by just inches from his filthy bedroll each morning beneath Midtown’s West Side, where Amtrak trains roll into and out of Penn Station.

The rumbling train is also Travolta’s timepiece – he knows the rail schedule intimately and doesn’t own a watch. "After the 11:45 [p.m.], I can sleep soundly until 7:15," he says.

"The majority of street homeless people are people living with serious mental illnesses with co-occurring physical problems or disabilities," says Patrick Markee, the senior policy analyst at the Coalition for the Homeless.

"For that reason, many of them don’t feel that city shelters fit their needs, since most are warehouse facilities with about a hundred cots in a room. For them, that kind of setting doesn’t feel safe and doesn’t fit the needs of people with untreated mental illness."

"When we talk to folks on the street, a lot of them say they are afraid to go in the shelters," says Markee.

In the tunnels, their world is one of malt liquor, tight spaces, schizophrenic neighbors, hunger and spells of heat and cold. Travolta and the others eat fairly well, living on a regimented schedule of restaurant leftovers, dumped each night at different times around the neighborhood above his foreboding home.

Like the rest of New York, Travolta’s world is changing: Soon, new tunnels – along with bigger underground spaces – will link his territory to other dark places.

Over the next decade, a collection of government agencies, ranging from the MTA to the federal government, plan to spend billions on at least eight projects to modernize New York’s under-city.

The MTA has already started to extend the 7 train, build tunnels to increase the capacity of the Long Island Rail Road and finally finish the Second Avenue Subway. Other subterranean projects include increasing access to Penn Station for New Jersey Transit trains, water mains and an underground transit center under Fulton Street and the rebuilding of the underground World Trade Center site.

But the Mole People seem unaware of the growth of the deep underground.

If nothing else, it might mean new places for them to inhabit, though most hope to leave their underground dwellings by "next year" – even if they’ve been saying the same thing for decades.

"Sure I’m crazy," says Travolta. "You’ve got to be crazy to live down here, but this is where I find my peace and privacy."

Lately, he says, the underground residents have been more focused on fending off a raccoon that emerges from an area beneath new construction.

Travolta, his friend Jorge and others say they prefer this dark place to shelters which are "inhabited by animals and crazy people." Down here, "I find peace," says Jorge, also 49, who says he’s lived under New York for 14 years since illegally emigrating from Cuba.

"Outside, people throw things at me or try to hurt me. Here, I’m left alone."

Jorge says he spent this winter’s severe cold wrapped in blankets and garbage deep underground.

"I was so cold, didn’t get up for at least three days," he says.

City officials take a dim view of the homeless living underground – entering the tunnels is dangerous and illegal.

"There are multiple options available to vulnerable New Yorkers in need," says the Heather Janik, an official with New York’s Department of Homeless Services. "New Yorkers may enter the municipal shelter system, or if they are chronically homeless, they may work with our outreach teams to be connected with a Safe Haven program. We urge those in need to come into shelters where the city may work with and assist them."

Still, like so many of the homeless who make their way through New York’s underworld, Jorge and Travolta’s world is shifting.

More frequent police sweeps round up many of the Mole People who live here, they say, while the various entrances and exits to this rarely seen part of New York City are locked by maintenance crews. "It doesn’t matter," says Jorge. "We know all the doors."

 

The tunnel people of Las Vegas: How 1,000 live in flooded labyrinth under Sin City’s shimmering strip

By DAILY MAIL REPORTER
Created 11:22 AM on 3rd November 2010

Deep beneath Vegas’s glittering lights lies a sinister labyrinth inhabited by poisonous spiders and a man nicknamed The Troll who wields an iron bar.

But astonishingly, the 200 miles of flood tunnels are also home to 1,000 people who eke out a living in the strip’s dark underbelly.

Some, like Steven and his girlfriend Kathryn, have furnished their home with considerable care – their 400sq ft ‘bungalow’ boasts a double bed, a wardrobe and even a bookshelf.

Austin Hargrave Las Vegas tunnels

Deeper underground: Steven and Kathryn live in a 400sq ft ‘bungalow’ under Las Vegas which they have lovingly furnished with other people’s castoffs

Austin Hargave

Austin Hargave

One man’s junk… Tunnel residents have created wardrobes for their clothes and salvaged furniture to make the subterranean world more homely. However, there is little they can do about the water on the floor

Steven and Kathryn

House proud: Steven and Kathryn have also compiled their own library – and constructed shelves to house it

They have been there for five years, fashioning a shower out of a water cooler, hanging paintings on the walls and collating a library from abandoned books.

Their possessions, however, are carefully placed in plastic crates to stop them getting soaked by the noxious water pooling on the floor.

‘Our bed came from a skip oustide an apartment complex,’ Steven explains. ‘It’s mainly stuff people dump that we pick up. One man’s junk is another man’s gold.

‘We get the stuff late at night so people don’t see us because it’s kind of embarrassing.’

Austin Hargrave flood tunnels

Flood tunnels: Amy lives in the labyrinth with her husband Junior. The couple lost their home after the death of their baby son

Austin Hargrave tunnel pix

Treasured photo: Amy’s son Brady, who died at four months

Steven was forced into the tunnels three years ago after his heroin addiction led to him losing his job.

He says he is now clean and the pair survive by‘credit hustling’ in the casinos, donning second-hand clothes to check the slot machines for chips accidently left behind.

Astonishingly, Steven claims he once found $997 (£609) on one machine.

Further into the maze are Amy and Junior who married in the Shalimar Chapel – one of Vegas’s most popular venues – before returning to the tunnels for their honeymoon.

They lost their home when they became addicted to drugs after the death of their son Brady at four months old.

‘I heard Las Vegas was a good place for jobs,’ Amy said. ‘But it was tough and we started living under the staircase outside the MGM casino.

‘Then we met a guy who lived in the tunnels. We’ve been down here ever since.’

Matthew O’Brien, a reporter who stumbled across the tunnel people when he was researching a murder case, has set up The Shine A Light foundation to help.

Austin Hargrave flood tunnels

Home comforts: The tunnel people decorate the homes and even lay scraps of carpet on the concrete floor to make it more comfortable

Las Vegas and tunnels

Graffiti artists have turned this area of the tunnel network into a gallery: The channels stretch for more than 200 miles under the ground

‘These are normal people of all ages who’ve lost their way, generally after a traumatic event,’ he said.

‘Many are war veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress.

‘It’s not known how many children are living there, as they’re kept out of sight, but I’ve seen evidence of them – toys and teddy bears.’

O’Brien has published a book on the tunnel people called Beneath The Neon.

These evocative images which show the community’s astonishing way of life were taken by Austin Hargrave, a British photographer now based in the U.S.

They show how the destitute and hopeless have constructed a community beneath the city and have even dedicated one section of tunnels to an art gallery filled with intricate graffiti.

Las Vegas

Back above ground: The blazing lights of the strip give no indication of the city’s dark underbelly

Las Vegas and tunnels

Entrance: The towers and fantastical buildings of Vegas can be seen in the background

Las Vegas and tunnels

Chink of light: Most of the people who live underground have fallen into destitution after struggling with drink, drugs or mental health problems

 

 

The mole people: Police find ‘homeless city’ where vagrants – including kids – live in labyrinth of tunnels 25ft below Kansas City

By DAILY MAIL REPORTER

PUBLISHED: 02:17 GMT, 9 April 2013 | UPDATED: 13:31 GMT, 9 April 2013

Below the streets of Kansas City, there are deep underground tunnels where a group of vagrant homeless people lived in camps.

These so-called homeless camps have now been uncovered by the Kansas City Police, who then evicted the residents because of the unsafe environment.

Authorities said these people were living in squalor, with piles of garbage and dirty diapers left around wooded areas.

k

Underground city: A group of homeless people outside of Kansas City had been burrowing in tunnels up to 25 ft deep

k

Investigation: Kansas City Police, pictured, went down in the holes after discovering squalid living conditions in a nearby encampment

k

Squatting: A nearby above-ground settlement crudely made with an old mattress and logs

According to the KMBC, police first noticed there were soiled diapers around what looked like encampments, meaning that children could be exposed to unsafe living conditions.

Kansas City policeman Jason Cooley told the paper that officers found a series of winding underground tunnels and were directed there because of a recent crime spree.

More…

‘One of the tunnels probably went 20 to 25 feet underground towards the back and veered off in another direction about six feet or so,’ he told the Kansas City Star, adding that they discovered candles and bedding as well in some of the cavern’s alcoves.

It is unclear who exactly the homeless people are, or how they dug such deep entrenchments.

Another sort of shanty-town was found nearby.

k

Filth: The homeless suburb was broken up by police; those living there have been given assistance by a local mission

k

Wave of crime: Police said that people living at one of the encampments have been stealing copper

k

Bedding: Authorities found dirt-covered pillows and sheets in some of the winding burrows

Authorities said that the thieves have stolen copper from a nearby grain mill, and according to KMBC, millions of dollars-worth of the crop are at risk of spoiling.

Residents of both were told they needed to vacate the premises, and a ministry organization was on-site to assist any homeless people with shelter needs.

The holes were closed up last Friday after a police robot searched the caverns.

k

Moonshine: A discarded liquor bottle was found in the camp

k

…as were piles of dirty clothes and pieces of paper

k

Down the hole: One of the holes to an underground portion; the burrows were later filled in by police

k

Camp nowhere: It is unclear who these people are

“American Dream”: Food loaded into Dumpsters while Hundreds of Hungry Americans Restrained by Police

By Sarah Carlson

Global Research, April 05, 2013

Liberation

Region: USA

Theme: Poverty & Social Inequality

applepie

Hundreds of poor people waiting outside of a closed grocery store for the possibility of getting the remaining food is not the picture of the “American Dream.” Yet on March 23, outside the Laney Walker Supermarket in Augusta, Ga., that is exactly what happened.

Residents filled the parking lot with bags and baskets hoping to get some of the baby food, canned goods, noodles and other non-perishables. But a local church never came to pick up the food, as the storeowner prior to the eviction said they had arranged. By the time the people showed up for the food, what was left inside the premises—as with any eviction—came into the ownership of the property holder, SunTrust Bank.

The bank ordered the food to be loaded into dumpsters and hauled to a landfill instead of distributed. The people that gathered had to be restrained by police as they saw perfectly good food destroyed. Local Sheriff Richard Roundtree told the news “a potential for a riot was extremely high.”

“People got children out here that are hungry, thirsty,” local resident Robertstine Lambert told Fox54 in Augusta. “Why throw it away when you could be issuing it out?”

SunTrust bank is trying to confuse the issue and not take direct responsibility for their actions. Their media relations officer Mike McCoy, stated, “We are working with store suppliers as well as law enforcement to dispose of the remaining contents of the store and secure the building.” Yet he also said that the food never belonged to SunTrust Bank.

There is no need to sugar coat what happened. Teresa Russell, chief deputy of the Marshal’s Office in Richmond County, said the owner of the building ordered that the food be taken to the landfill. Some people even followed the truck to the landfill and were still turned away.

In Richmond County, there are about 20 evictions per day, and the area surrounding the supermarket is one of the poorest in the state. According to the last available data, the poverty rate is 41 percent. Many people in that parking lot probably knew all too well how evictions work, and were in desperate need of the food assistance.

This story is not some bizarre exception. It reeks of the truth of capitalism and is strikingly similar to the H&M scandal that broke in 2010 when clothes were being shredded before being thrown away, so as to make sure the value of the merchandise was unaffected.

In a capitalist society, the motive behind the production of food is not to feed people, housing is not made to give them shelter, clothing is not made to keep them warm, and health care is not offered primarily to keep people healthy. All of these things, which are and should be viewed as basic rights, are nothing other than commodities—to be bought and sold—from which to make a profit. If a profit cannot be made, usually due to overproduction in relation to the market, the commodity is considered useless by the capitalist and destroyed.

In this case, it appears the bank simply did not care. For the banks that have made their profits through evictions and foreclosures, it is little surprise that they showed no remorse in leaving people staring in disbelief, with empty bags, as they watched the food that could be feeding their families dumped into a landfill instead.