Monica Potts | The American Prospect | March 2013 | 29 minutes (7,360 words)
I did the reporting for ‘The Weeklies,’ about homeless families living in a suburban hotel outside of Denver, Colorado, a year ago. I lived with in the Ramada Inn alongside the weeklies during December 2012, and five of the families there shaped my story. Two of them are still living in hotels.
In May, the Ramada Inn was upgraded and converted into a Super 8 Motel. It became more expensive. Bonnie, Andy, and their son Drew, the main subjects of the story, moved into an Extended Stay closer to Drew’s school in Denver. Bonnie and Andy have been telling me since last spring that they’re doing renovation work on a rental property owned by a family friend, and that they will move in when it’s done. They don’t have a firm date, however.
After the story was published, I heard from a lot of people who said they saw school buses in their towns picking up school kids in hotel parking lots. Schools nationwide have reported a rise in student homelessness: some states have seen it double. The housing crash and the recession that followed had the odd effect of creating both vacant housing and a homelessness crisis, neither of which is likely to be solved soon.