Higher costs create more needy

People walk by a homeless man in San Francisco

TEXT OF STORY

Doug Krizner: Whether it's figgy pudding or a Christmas goose,
roast turkey, maybe latkes, it's that time of year when people gather in their homes to enjoy big family meals. But a new survey from the Conference of Mayors suggests a growing number don't have homes to gather in, nor enough food to put on the holiday table. Alisa Roth has more.


Alisa Roth: More people are looking for emergency food supplies, and many cities say they can't meet the increased demand. More need a place to live, too -- the number of people looking for emergency shelter or transitional housing went up last year.

Douglas Palmer is mayor of Trenton, New Jersey. He's also head of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which commissioned the survey. He says the kind of people looking for help is changing.

Douglas Palmer: The face of homelessness and the face of hunger is beyond the sort of single individual. It is families.

The usual causes of hunger and homelessness are obvious -- poverty, unemployment and high housing costs.

But Palmer says more foreclosures, plus increases in the cost of living and food, are putting more people into the streets. And he says it's getting worse for the working poor.

Palmer: We see that their paychecks don't really cover the cost to have them go through a whole month without going to the food pantry.

Twenty-three cities participated in the survey, including Boston, Chicago and St. Paul.

In New York, I'm Alisa Roth for Marketplace.

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