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The March 26th 2009 issue of the New York Times headlined with a story about Fresno.  With the subtitle, “New Hoovervilles Emerge in Fresno…” our fair city made national headlines because of our poverty.

The article, which I encourage all to read for free at this link, describes an increasing problem in Central California that I’m referring to as the nouveaux pauvre.  [NBC’s Nightly News has a similar news story you can watch at here.]  You all may recall that the French phrase, nouveaux riche refers to those who recently came into money.  What you may not know is that the French also have a phrase depicting the opposite: nouveau pauvre.  Although the Wikepidia entry for  nouveau pauvre is only in French, you can take my word for it that this describes those lesser fortunate folks who have recently come into poverty.

hoooverville_williamette1“Hooverville” named after President Herbert Hoover, refers to the name poverty laden shanty towns [pictured here——->] received during the Great Depression.  Blaming Hoover for the Depression, his name will forever be linked to poverty.

Fresno Famous, a great blog about our city, has been discussing the very issue of some time as well at the following link: http://www.fresnofamous.com/content/new-york-times-article-fresno-homeless-camp.

My question is: What can anthropology can do for the problem of the homelessness in Fresno?

I invite you to make any comments or report things here that you have found or written elsewhere.

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