Gulf's Homeless Population Grows As People Seek Work
Homeless shelters across the Gulf coast have seen increased numbers in recent months, as those from elsewhere in the U.S. seek cleanup work. According to Alabama Live, many of these people have been misled as to work available or are, in some cases, unemployable.
"I would say easily since the debacle began, particularly in the last 60 or 70 days, we get two new people a day," 15 Place Director Lyn Manz-Walters said. "I'm sure every city on the Gulf Coast would tell you the same thing."
One man took a bus from out of state to Mobile after seeing reports on TV. He firmly believed he'd be paid $1,500 a day plus per diem.
Though BP has hired some of the previously unemployed to assist in cleanup operations, these numbers are in the thousands, not the tens of thousands, and those that are hired often have prerequisite skills that most new arrivals don't.
Competition for jobs in Gulf states is heavy as it is. Unemployment is at 10.3 percent in Alabama, though this is down from 11.8 percent in January. Mississippi's unemployment rate is 11.1 percent and Florida's is 11.6 percent.
Though jobs are scarce, you can still help the Gulf by making a financial contribution or volunteering.