by Jonathan Berr
The View from Camden, N.J.: Homeless and Missing the Recovery - DailyFinance
Patrice Achey is one of the homeless people who have yet to see any benefits from the improving economy. All of the talk about growth expanding again fails to resonate with the 39-year-old mother of four, who resides at the Anna M. Sample Complex, the largest shelter in Camden, N.J., the second most violent city in the U.S. She has a firsthand understanding of the struggles many Americans face as unemployment remains high and the housing market continues to struggle.
"The economy is not getting better, because if it is I am not seeing it," says Achey, who acts as an unofficial surrogate mother to some of the children in the shelter. "They say that [the economy is getting better] and then you hear about how half the Camden police force lost their jobs the other day. It's pretty messed up. . . . My best friend, she just lost her house. She works 50 hours a week. Her significant other is out of work. He has worked at the same place for I don't know. . .10 years."
Just When Things Started Looking Up
Many factors push people down the slide to homelessness. In Achey's case, it was a combination of bad luck and poor decisions. The native of Westville, N.J., ran away from home at age 17 and wound up in Central Florida, near Walt Disney World. Achey moved back and forth, and then last year returned her family to New Jersey to help take care of her mother -- with whom she's had a strained relationship -- after she got word her mother had been in a serious car accident.