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Seattle's Homeless Population Is Booming Too

While rates of homelessness drop elsewhere, tents and cardboard are becoming a very regular sight in Seattle. New wealth and newly unaffordable housing may be twin culprits.
April 15, 2015, 10am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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In a city widely considered to be a boomtown, it's jarring to see rising numbers of homeless people on the streets.

In a piece for NPR, John Ryan writes, "Homelessness remains widespread, but in most places, it's been decreasing in recent years. That's not the case in Seattle, which has seen its ranks of homeless surge over the past decade. More people are now homeless in Seattle than anywhere except New York City, Los Angeles or Las Vegas."

People of diverse backgrounds want to live in Seattle, but it isn't hard to find the reason many end up on the down-and-out. From the article: "Affordable housing is a big problem, says homeless veteran Gary Eyerly. 'They need to quit trying to charge $1,300 a month for a 400-square-foot studio,' Eyerly says. 'It's the Seattle gold rush. Go buy an old apartment building, put some new paint on it, triple the rent: Wow, I'm a millionaire.'"

The article raises the possibility that a recent ten-year plan to address homelessness focused on cosmetic issues instead of root causes. 

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Published on Tuesday, April 7, 2015 in NPR
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