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Dysfunction - Oct 2

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'Car sleepers' the new US homeless

Rajesh Mirchandani, BBC
Santa Barbara boasts a classic laidback California lifestyle, with uncongested beaches, wholesome cafes and charming Spanish-style architecture.

Of course there's a hefty price tag: nestled between the gentle Santa Ynez mountains and the inviting Pacific Ocean are multi-million dollar homes.

But in this sun-washed haven of wealth, many live far from the American dream.

In a car park across the street from luxury mansions, the evening brings a strange sight.

A few cars arrive and take up spaces in different corners. In each car, a woman, perhaps a few pets, bags of possessions and bedding.

Across the street from homes with bedrooms to spare, these are Santa Barbara's car sleepers.

Homeless within the last year, they are a direct consequence of America's housing market collapse...
(27 September 2008)



More Americans on food stamps but say it's not enough

Patrick McGee, The Star Telegram
Krystal Follet’s husband left her in January. Her boss fired her in March. Her landlord gave her an eviction notice two weeks ago.

A tough year for someone with two children to feed.

Follet has turned to food stamps. The 31-year-old Arlington woman is among millions of Americans applying for government help to get enough to eat.

"I don’t know how I would have fed them," Follet said. "Even when I worked, it was a struggle trying to get everything paid."

The number of people on food stamps has been increasing for months. In June, the figure was 28.6 million, according to the government.

The only other time so many Americans have been on food stamps was in late 2005, when great numbers of people applied for emergency food stamps after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita...
(28 September 2008)



Million more suffer fuel poverty

BBC
The number of households in fuel poverty in the UK rose to 3.5 million in 2006, government figures show.

This is an increase of one million on 2005 levels.

The figure includes around 2.75 million homes classed as "vulnerable" -containing a child, elderly person or someone with a long-term illness.

The figures, released by the Department for Environment and the Department for Business, show the households who spend more than 10% of their income on fuel.

The number of homes in fuel poverty in England rose from 1.5 million in 2005 to 2.4 million in 2006, including an extra 700,000 vulnerable households...
(2 October 2008)

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