Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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US white-collar homeless

May 24 2009
Working families are the new face of homelessness in parts of America, says Partnering for Change Workers in the US are being forced to seek support from homeless services as the recession continues to bite and redundancies grow. More professionals in America are having to approach homeless shelters and other outreach organisations for help as the economic activity declines and companies worldwide axe staff. In January, unemployment figures in the country soared 7.6 per cent, with older and more educated people contributing significantly to the increase. Partnering for Change (PfC), based in Orange County, California, said in its blog that it had received an increase in requests from working and educated families as a result of the economic downfall. The non-profit organisation said that after being made redundant, a "college-educated family has been forced to leave their rental home and bounce around from motel to motel with no money to feed their children", and therefore rely on homeless providers. This family was representative of the new face of homelessness in parts of America, PfC said. According to data from the US Labor Department, more jobs have been lost in the past 12 months than any other period in 70 years. And as experts predict unemployment will get worse before it gets better, this could be a sign of things to come in the UK. UK construction worker Phil Jacobs, who lost his job amid the economic downfall, warned that the British workforce was just one pay packet away from being unemployed and homeless. He was made redundant just before Christmas last year when his employer axed more than 20 jobs as part of its cost-cutting plans. With no income, he maxed out on his credit cards and overdraft, and could not keep up with rent payments. He ended up with little choice but to sleep on the streets. Mr Jacobs, who now sleeps rough in city doorways, said: "I couldn't believe how quickly it can all happen."