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Homeless Count Nearly Triples In Vallejo

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Homeless. (AP)

Homeless. (AP)

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VALLEJO (KCBS) –- The stagnant economy is claiming more and more victims in the bankrupt city of Vallejo.

This year’s homeless count showed a tremendously large increase in the number of people living on the streets.

KCBS’ Dave Padilla:

“It went from 99 two years ago to 263 last week,” said Melinda Nestlerode, Vallejo’s Housing and Community Development manager. “The economy is contributing to the number of homeless people. There are people losing their jobs, losing their homes.”

Nestlerode said the city only has one emergency homeless shelter to serve this growing population: the Christian Help Center.

“It’s been really hard. I’m not use to being homeless,” said a 29-year old man at the center. “I first became homeless in 2008.”

The Christian Help Center’s Executive Director, Norma Ramos, said she has noticed that more homeless people are self-medicating.

“A lot of people are taking more drugs now to keep themselves medicated so that they don’t feel the depression that they’re going through,” said Ramos. “We’ve seen a lot of that.”

The faith-based community is stepping up by holding so-called “nomadic shelters.” Churches will take turns in opening their doors each night for the homeless.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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