Last year, for instance, 1,328 women and children stayed at the YWCA of Cass Clay's shelter, an increase of 31 percent over the year before. The shelter's capacity increased by about 30 beds when it moved to its new center last April. The New Life Center, a men's homeless shelter in Fargo, has seen a 10 percent increase in residents since the holidays. Churches United for the Homeless in Moorhead, which moved to a slightly larger shelter in September, reported its occupancy is stable but at capacity.
But the number of homeless people it must turn away for lack of space has increased sharply: 961 last year.
"That's almost triple what we've seen in the past," said Gary Groberg, director of Churches United.
The most recent survey of the Fargo-Moorhead homeless population, done in 2003, estimated there are 400 homeless people at any given time, an increase of 25 percent since 2000, according to the Wilder Research Center in St. Paul.When the count includes those in "precarious" housing situations, such as living with a friend or relative, the daily number jumps to 820.
According to federal guidelines, the fair-market rent for a one-bedroom apartment requires a wage of $9.50 an hour, almost double the $5.15 hourly minimum wage, he said
What about for a family of say 3? What's the rent then!!!? We need to get a living wage in this country! And we need to get someone in either party to at least MENTION it as a possibilty in a campaign! Most blue collar folks in Fargo for instance need to work TWO and sometimes THREE jobs just to make a living! Forget about saving to go to College. Ahhh, the American Dream?! $8 an hour is considered Supervisor pay at many places. Look in the classifieds of your local paper. And our economy is strong here. I can't imagine in areas where its slow! Meanwhile, gas prices are at a record high. $2.09 here last time I checked. Food and grocery prices have sharply increased. Basic groceries for a family of 4 is easily $500 a month. And health care, well don't get me started there! $500-$800 a month for family coverage depending on what percentage your employer will pay. And rising sharply every year. If it's less than that for you-- consider yourself very fortunate. Maybe you are a professional like I am and don't pay much attention to this. But you should. You could be out of work and out of health care at some point too.
There are always extremes in a chasm. Has to get worse before it can get better. See: Boston Tea Party. And it will. The times they are a-changing. But meanwhile we can't just sit by and do nothing when it gets absurd. We need to roll up our sleeves and speak up and volunteer to help mold the change. To do right by those that have been wronged. To FIX it this time- not just slap it with duct tape.
Enjoy your day! Beautiful sunny and upper 30's here today so we're taking Popcorn (our 6 month old yellow Lab) out to run, run, run!!!!! :) Jill