When I was a child in school and was learning about the Great Depression of the 1930′s, I remember seeing pictures of the shanty towns called “Hoovervilles.” Later on in life, I saw individual homes or shanties while visiting Mexico during a cruise, but I thought I would never see one let alone an entire community here in these United States of America. Well now I have seen one and it is near my home.
If you travel south on I-275 in Tampa FL, just before the I-4 interchange, look to the right and you will see about 20 shanties with people living in them. I have attached the picture I took with my cell phone but it doesn’t capture the entire place which is much bigger. Note the old tires on the roofs to help keep them seated during high winds.
I do feel that we are in the beginnings of the “Greatest Depression” and that it started in 2007. Some have argued that it is not true and they point out there are no soup kitchens, etc. as we see in old pictures from the last depression. But, we are better at hiding our poor and downtrodden than before and much better at ignoring it. Soup kitchens have been replaced by food stamps with over 10% of our population on them, and the “hobos” of today are now regulated to patches of woods and homeless camps well out of most people’s chosen view.
I live in an affluent neighborhood, but my block alone has two homeless camps in small patches of woods and though most of my neighbors choose to ignore it, I can’t. Now, in plain view in Tampa Florida, I have seen and photographed my first “Obamaville.” It’s getting harder to ignore and to pretend you just don’t see it.