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The Homeless Market

September 18, 2008

I have noticed a sudden influx of homeless in NYC lately, and they cover a wide range of ages and nationalities. I’m even seeing some women and girls asking for help, which is all the more unusual. Many of them are war veterans, contrary to Bill O’Reilly’s assertion earlier this year that they can’t be found.

Where these homeless are coming from I can’t be sure. Are they new to the streets due to the tanking economy and rising cost of living, or are they migrating from somewhere else?

This homeless veteran is only one of many on one block near Grand Central Station.

This homeless war veteran is only one of several on a single block near Grand Central Station.

Former mayor Giuliani did a great job of creating the illusion that the homeless didn’t exist, by stamping them out – sending them to New Jersey. Could it be, now that Giuliani is no longer able to flex his muscles, the homeless are simply resurfacing?

That might be true for some of the older homeless, but what about the younger ones? In the past, I only ever saw many young homeless after The Grateful Dead was in town. As far as I know, The Grateful Dead hasn’t been here for a while.

What this influx of homeless means is that the homeless market is also in trouble. They increasingly have to compete with each other for the charity of loose change. These days, people aren’t much in a charitable mood, so I can imagine the going is pretty rough for those on the street.

Perhaps O’Reilly was suggesting that all the homeless vets we see are just faking it, garnishing patriotic sympathies for a meager profit. Even if that were so, the homeless are a reflection of our society, and we should take notice.

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