ROOSEVELT, N.Y. (AP) — Homelessness in rural and suburban America is straining shelters this winter as the economy founders and joblessness hovers near double digits.
Greg Blass, the commissioner of Social Services in Suffolk County on eastern Long Island, N.Y., says his agency is seeing many families who've never sought government help before, along with more requests for food stamps, heating assistance and Medicaid.
The federal government is again counting the nation's homeless. By many accounts, the suburban numbers continue to rise.
Last year, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's annual survey found overall homelessness numbers steady, but the percentage of rural or suburban homelessness rose from 23 percent to 32 percent.