NYTimes: A Sandwich Shop, a Tent City and an American Crisis

A Sandwich Shop, a Tent City and an American Crisis https://nyti.ms/3JsCjft.

The above article in this Sunday’s New York Times, written by Pulitzer Prize winning author Eli Saslow, is one of the most disturbing pieces of writing I have ever read. The dystopian tent city he so vividly describes is in Phoenix, Arizona.

Saslow notes in his article that “the city’s average rent rose by more than 80 percent during the pandemic.” Many people can no longer afford to live there. Hence the tent city, estimated to contain as many as 1,100 people. This reporter said that the number of people living on the streets in Phoenix has more than tripled since 2016!

He wrote that “an epidemic of unsheltered homelessness” has begun to “overwhelm Phoenix and many other major American downtowns. Cities across the West have been transformed by a housing crisis, a mental health crisis and an opioid epidemic, all of which landed at the doorsteps of small businesses already reaching a breaking point because of the pandemic.”

This disturbing article isn’t just about a married couple in Phoenix trying to run its small sandwich shop in a dystopian hellscape. It’s about a crisis of enormous proportions that is threatening many other cities too. Saslow mentions Seattle, Washington and Santa Monica, California. And I can see for myself the enormity of the problem when walking down the streets of San Francisco, with its many tent dwellings on sidewalks around the city.

The United States I grew up in is gone. The country seems broken right now. I don’t pretend to know all the solutions to the many problems so well portrayed in this compelling article. At a minimum, though, it’s obvious there is a great need for more affordable housing in the US, particularly in or near big cities where most jobs can be found. Couldn’t the US government help subsidize just such construction by giving financial incentives to builders willing to have 1/3 of their new projects be affordable housing?

Something major must be done because the current number of homeless people in many urban areas is making life unbearable for business owners and the general public.


3 thoughts on “NYTimes: A Sandwich Shop, a Tent City and an American Crisis

  1. Hi Kathryn,
    I saw the movie Nomadland. That was good too, but depressing. Nickeled and Dimed in America is a good book about how hard it is to make ends meet in the US. It’s getting harder too. Ordinary homes in San Francisco now cost over 1 million dollars. So sad!


  2. Hi Nancy, yes it is extremely troubling… Certainly not new, but from your blog more visible. Recently started reading Nomadland, a lot to take in.


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