... THERE’S A NEW kind of homelessness in the city, and a new kind of hunger, and a new kind of need and humiliation
... “What we’re seeing are many more working families on the brink of eviction,” says Mary Brosnahan,
who runs the Coalition for the Homeless. “They fall behind on the rent, and that’s it, they’re on the street.”
Adds Julia Erickson, the executive director of City Harvest, which distributes food to soup kitchens and food pantries, “Look
at the Rescue Mission on Lafayette Street. They used to feed single men, often substance abusers, homeless. Now you go in
and there are bike messengers, clerks, deli workers, dishwashers, people who work on cleaning crews. Soup kitchens have been
buying booster seats and highchairs. You never used to see young kids at soup kitchens.”
America is a country that now sits atop the precarious latticework of myth. It is the myth that work
provides rewards, that working people can support their families. It’s a myth that has become so divorced from reality
that it might as well begin with the words “Once upon a time.” According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture,
1.6 million New Yorkers, or the equivalent of the population of Philadelphia, suffer from “food insecurity,” which
is a fancy way of saying they don’t have enough to eat. ...
Even if you’ve never been to the Rescue Mission, all the evidence for this is in a damning new
book called “The Betrayal of Work” by Beth Shulman, a book that should be required reading for every presidential
candidate and member of Congress. ...