Sunday, 16 October 2011

Failing Dreams: California Faces Its Own Great Depression

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH: It is less than 20 miles from the pristine surfing beaches of the California coast to a scene of Third World deprivation.

In Skid Row, a grimy pocket of downtown Los Angeles, the prostrate forms of homeless people lie strewn across the pavements.

The lucky ones have tents for shelter but others make do with a sliver of cardboard for a bed and a supermarket trolley to carry their rags.

At the last police count 1,662 people live on these streets, twice as many as a year ago.
And now amid the drug addicts and the drunks there are families who not so long ago had homes and ordinary suburban lives.

“Los Angeles is re-experiencing the Great Depression,” said Rev Andy Bales, who runs the nearby Union Rescue Mission shelter. “This is the worst I have ever seen it and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. This is all these people have as a last resort and I think there’s going to be over 2,000 by Christmas.

“I don’t think people around the world understand just how bad it is here.”

California – the Golden State, the world’s eighth largest economy - is spluttering and stalling and for many the dream life is turning increasingly sour. » | Nick Allen, Los Angeles | Friday, October 14, 2011