The story's front-page display copy reads "Hoovervilles of '09 Emerge in Fresno and Elsewhere," which is helpful, because it distinguishes them from the Hoovervilles of '08, '07, '06, '05, and so on. The point of the Times article is to cover a tangible consequence of the New Depression and tie it in severity to the Great Depression. The photo above was taken in Seattle in February 2005, when the Dow was just above 10,000 points and 4,000 points away from its 2007 peak.
The Times story is datelined Fresno, where the newly unemployed have erected new shantytowns and driven the homeless population up to 2,000 citywide. Here's a brief headline history of this just breaking trend:
- Fresno Bee, August 29, 2006 (when the Dow was above 11,000): "HOMELESS MOVED OUT, MOVE ON: MANY RESETTLE UNDER BRIDGE AFTER FRESNO TENT CITY IS CLEARED."
- Porterville, California Recorder, January 5, 2006: "TENT CITY RESIDENTS EVICTED"
- Idaho Statesman, December 7, 2005: "BEYOND TENTS, BOISE NEEDS LONG-TERM HOMELESS ANSWERS"
- Allentown, Pennsylvania, Morning Call, February 22, 2005: "ALLENTOWN BREAKS DOWN 'TENT CITY' ENCAMPMENT; MACHINERY CLEARS DEBRIS THAT HOMELESS LEFT BEHIND"
- Seattle Times, September 8, 2004: "SIMS IS ASKED TO PONDER ALTERNATE TENT-CITY REPORT"
- Rocky Mountain News (R.I.P.), January 31, 2004: "TENT FLAP; ADEQUATE, AFFORDABLE HOUSING WOULD BE PREFERABLE TO A TENT CITY"
- New Orleans Times-Picayune, July 31, 2002: "WE NEED HOMES, NOT TENTS"
The Times story is heavily caveated to allow for wiggle room in case some jackass fires up Nexis just to feel superior, but argues that "the recession has cast a wider net and drawn in hundreds of the newly homeless—from hitchhikers to truck drivers to electricians." Our question: Where, precisely, did those hitchhikers live before they became homeless?