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Rural Homelessness Essay

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Rural Homelessness


As the Joad family lost its farm and hit the road in Steinbeck's classic, The Grapes of Wrath, so to did America lose its ability to plead ignorance to the problem of rural homelessness. Yet, as the troubles of the Great Depression, and two million homeless Americans, were eclipsed by a world at war, the issue of homelessness was once again placed on the back burner, and then taken off of the stove altogether (Davis 275). Although this problem has seldom been discussed in the sixty years since, rural homelessness is again on the rise and threatens to become the major problem facing rural America (Rural Homelessness).

Less than ten miles from the intersection of Sprague and Division in downtown Spokane, the problem of rural homelessness in our own community is glaringly evident. At the intersection of Sullivan Road and Interstate 90, in the Spokane Valley, where drivers are momentarily slowed in their rush to get on with life, stands testament that not everyone is sharing in the American dream. With their worn out Levi's, old coats, and sometime mismatched shoes, the homeless work these corners for handouts like pigeons gathered around an old man on a park bench. These people don't ride out here on the number three bus from the STA Plaza, and they don't commute here in the Geos, Hondas, and Cadillacs that are constantly stopping and going with the changing of the lights.

The people that ply these corners with their homemade cardboard "Please Help" signs, are here because this is the closest (and therefore most convenient) corner to where they sleep. A short walk along the rocky northern bank of the Spokane River, west of Sullivan, leads to a camp tucked among the ponderosa's in...


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...ousing Assistance Council. Jan. 2001. 4 Apr. 2001.http://www.ruralhome.org/pubs/infoshts/rhomeles.htm

Vissing, Yvonne. "Homeless Children: Addressing the Challenge in Rural Schools." ERIC Digest. Jan. 1999. 4 Apr. 2001. http://www.ael.org/eric/digests/edorc981.htm.

Wilkinson, Todd. "How small-town America handles rural homelessness." Christian Science Monitor. 16 Mar. 1999. 5 Apr. 2001. http://www.csmonitor.com/durable/1999/03/16/fp2s2-csm.shtml

Zimmerman, Julie. "Rural Poverty: Myths and Realities." Rural Development News. Volume 21. Number 1. Mar. 1997. 4 Apr. 2001 http://www.ag.iastate.edu/centers/rdev/newsletter/mar97/rural.poverty.html.

Zimmerman, Julie. "Rural Poverty: Myths and Realities." Rural Development News. Volume 21. Number 2. June 1997. 4 Apr. 2001. http://www.ag.iastate.edu/centers/rdev/newsletter/june97/rural.poverty.html.


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