Wednesday, December 21, 2011

1.6 million US children are homeless now - Merry Christmas America

Nickelsville's Christmas tree - 12/16/11
With all good wishes for a Merry Christmas and 
a Happy new Year to our friends in Nickelsville!

While the mainstream media informs us that CEOs of our banks will unwrap the biggest ever (did I say 'ever'?  Yes, EVER) bonuses this year for Christmas, I found this, just published gem on the webpage of  The National Center on Family Homelessness:

America's Youngest Outcasts 2010


A new report by The National Center on Family Homelessness finds that more than 1.6 million children - or one in 45 children - are homeless annually in America. This represents an increase of 38% during the years impacted by the economic recession. The 124-page report, America's Youngest Outcasts 2010, ranks the 50 states from best (1) to worst (50), and offers specific policy solutions. Read the full report and find out where your state ranksMedia inquiries.

Nickelsville, 12/16/11 - general view

Six of those children, aged from 1 y.o. to 16 y.o. live in Nickelsville now; sure they have extended family of 120+ tent city members  who dot on them and take turns providing care for them, which is way better that untold numbers of other homeless children who will spend their Christmas in cars, shelters, friends' couches or maybe nowhere close to warmth and light;  but is this kind of childhood we meant for our youngsters?  One in 45 children means roughly one child in every classroom in America!

T.J. and her son, Adam - Nickelsville, 12/16/11

Last Friday Lynnda packed her car full of wood for Nickelsville, bags of warm clothes she collected among her neighbors, bags of fresh fruit (none of her signature cookies, because we read in 'Real Change' paper that Nickelsville is currently overloaded with surplus  holiday pastry donations from bakeries and restaurants, and that they wish for simple fresh fruit) and off we went to see our friends, who still live outside of the city, on Marginal Way (address and map on the right hand corner of the blog), where they moved to in May of this year.  Of course we brought a bucket of soup, and of course it was West African Peanut soup, which became my signature by now...

The camp's original entrance became a donation gate - Nickelsville 12/16/11
The gate of Nickelsville has been moved to the opposite side of the encampment, much closer to the bus.  The original entrance serves as donation entrance only (has parking space).  We found mainly new faces in Nickelsville, and what appeared as an extended area of tents, way past the line where it ended when we visited in September; but we were told that the current number of residents is still the same: about 120 (including six children), and that some of the tents are temporarily empty.

The camp's original (and resident from the Day 1)  historian of the place, Richard, did leave as planned,  and hopefully is enjoying holiday cheers with his family in Arkansas - hand-wave to Richard in Arcansas...  Lynnda was worried about Jarvis - his phone has been disconnected for a while and he no longer calls her, either - we learned that he reunited with his wife and kids in California, so hopefully he and his family also enjoy a  nice holiday break now - hi Jarvis in California...

Greg enjoying a quiet moment by the fire - Nickelsville, 12/16/11

Tracy and Mike are still in Nickelsville, and so is Nate (we didn't see him), Jerry, Greg and T.J.  We run into T,J, and she was beaming - introduced us to her just recently found son, Adam, who came to pick his mother up and drive with her to see their family in Bellingham - hope Adam's truck is now safely parked there and there is lots of family joy to share.

Nickelsville has a beautiful Christmas tree and there was a party to dress it - lots of lovely hand made decorations and even some gifts under the tree already; Lynnda and I wondered who has a job of moving them indoors when it rains.
Tracy's sic-pawed cat, Socks, is all grown up and very cuddly.  Nickelsville, 12/16/11

Nickelsville has large number of military vets, maybe next time I'll find a study on how America treats them - judging from number of them being homeless, not too kindly.

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