Seeking Shelter

Some newly homeless Americans are moving into tent cities. This is one of them

Mathieu Young

For about two years, this tent city has sat on land owned by Union Pacific Railroad. Two similar encampments are nearby.

Tent cities are not a new American phenomenon. Makeshift encampments of people who don't have permanent homes have long existed on the margins of many U.S. cities. But the tide of foreclosures and a rising national unemployment rate have dramatically swelled the ranks of the newly homeless. And one estimate says current economic conditions will drive a million more people into homelessness by 2010. Some will end up in shelters or on the streets. Others are choosing to live in nylon tents on dusty lots, waiting for their fortunes to turn.

Many people living in tent cities like Taco Flats, in...

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