The BBC’s Paul Mason took a drive through the American southwest comparing the plight of today’s displaced families with those of the dustbowl years, highlighted in John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath.Cruising along Route 40 and old Route 66, Mason discovered 300 homeless families living in one Albuquerque shelter alone.
Living in an old gym on 80 battered mattresses, many mothers and fathers lost their lives bit by bit.
Sonya and Tim – he was a manager at McDonald’s but the branch closed and she worked at Subway but they cut her shifts – lost their home and moved into a small apartment, but when the unemployment money ended they lost that too. “We slept in our car, it was scary,” says Sonya. “Then we came here.”
Maurice Henderson and RoseAnna Ortice are across the parquet floor with their three kids. Maurice used to manage a car dealership. They lived in a motel. The day his unemployment check did not arrive was the day he had to leave the motel and come here. They have been on the mattresses for two weeks.
“They’re wasting money on wars,” says Larry. Maurice tells me the same thing.”
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