Shanty Towns

Shanty towns, built by the homeless during the Great Depression, were popularly named Hooverville’s, after blame for the nation’s depression was placed squarely on the shoulders of President Herbert Hoover. The term tent city is used to describe a variety of temporary housing facilities that often use tents. Authorized and unauthorized tent cities, created by and for homeless individuals and families, are now found across the country. The National Coalition for the Homeless is working to bring about social change through advocacy, education, and community organizing. Its March 2010 report entitled Tent Cities in America is an eye-opener. The National Coalition advocates for a dramatic increase in affordable and accessible housing, educating local communities and national leadership to the needs and conditions inherent in persistent poverty, and highlighting the variety of community organizing at work within these settlements.

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