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A Portrait Of Homelessness In America

An uplifting profile in the Philadelphia Tribune offered a portrait of homelessness in America by focusing on a man in Philly who has used faith and a job selling newspapers written by the homeless to get his life back on track.

North Philly native Neal McLaurin Jr., 33, blamed his alcohol addiction for the circumstances that led to him living on the Philadelphia streets.  His story is not atypical. The National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) reports that 50 percent of the homeless are single men with substance abuse problems.

The story also contains several other startling statistics that should give all of us pause: There has been a 12 percent increase in homelessness since 2007, according to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and another 1.5 million people are expected to be sent into homelessness over the next two years because of the recession. Eight years ago, the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty reported that children under age 18 were 39 percent of the U.S. homeless population—and 42 percent of the children were under age five.

the current recession will force 1.5 million more Americans into homelessness over the next two years. The U.S. Conference of Mayors cited a 12 percent increase of homelessness since 2007. Disturbingly in 2004, the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty reported that children under the age of 18 accounted for a whopping 39 percent of the homeless population in the United States; 42 percent of these children were under the age of five.

McLaurin credits God with helping him overcome his alcohol addiction. And to make some money and get , he began selling One Step Away, a street newspaper written and sold by the homeless, who get 75 cents for every paper they sell.

“I was selling papers, I was working under the table a little bit, my father he helped me out with a little money, I got public assistance — I saved that … money up, and I finally got me a little room.” he said.

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