As of January 1, 2016, Gapers Block has ceased publication. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions over the past 12-plus years. 

TODAY

Sunday, September 22

Gapers Block
Search

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr


The Mechanics
« An Open Letter to the Children of the Homeland The Last Day of Bush »

Chicagoland Mon Jan 19 2009

Chicago's "Vital Signs" January 2009

The Chicago Community Trust has released some disturbing numbers today, indicating homelessness continues to rise in the city. And across the board, all of the indicators of economic collapse are on the rise over 2007 -- homes dependent on food stamps, the explosion in foreclosures, unemployment, everything.

VitalSignsJan09_Homeless.jpg

gulp.


The work of the Trust in distributing these "vital signs" of our city's economic health are critical to understanding what "hard times" means in real terms. In 2008, nearly 40,000 more households -- somewhere over 100,000 people -- came to be dependent on food assistance to make sure they had enough to eat. The type of social and political instability that kind of economic insecurity causes is hard to comprehend unless you've lived in the middle of it. To have tens or hundreds of thousands of people plunged into economic insecurity creates the atmosphere of desperation that, often, only radical change can address.

VitalSignsJan09_FoodStamps.jpg

Jump the jump for the January reports from the Chicago Community Trust.

Are the economists right in saying we'll be lucky to start pulling out of this in 2010? That 2009 will be worse than 2008? If so, we could be looking in this city at a very sudden -- potentially violent -- plunge into some degree of social chaos. Poverty will creep upwards and upwards and the line between the haves and have-nots could become ever more stark.

VitalSignsJan09_Unemployment.jpg

In our industrial economy, the unemployment figure is so critical. People who cannot find work do not sit patiently at home waiting. If we are getting to the point where one in every five people is either unemployed or so underemployed that they may as well be unemployed -- that's 20%, not far off from the 13% that some economists are estimating our "true" unemployment rate to be at -- our entire social infrastructure could be undermined. When one out of five people has been pushed out of the system through no fault of his/her own, how long can we expect that system to survive unchanged?

VitalSignsJan09_FoodPantries.jpg

VitalSignsJan09_Foreclosures.jpg

VitalSignsJan09_Layoffs.jpg

 
GB store
GB store

Feature

Parents Still Steaming, but About More Than Just Boilers

By Phil Huckelberry / 2 Comments

It's now been 11 days since the carbon monoxide leak which sent over 80 Prussing Elementary School students and staff to the hospital. While officials from Chicago Public Schools have partially answered some questions, and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool has informed that he will be visiting the school to field more questions on Nov. 16, many parents remain irate at the CPS response to date. More...

Civics

Substance, Not Style, the Source of Rahm's Woes

By Ramsin Canon / 2 Comments

It's not surprising that some of Mayor Emanuel's sympathizers and supporters are confusing people's substantive disputes with the mayor as the effect of poor marketing on his part. It's exactly this insular worldview that has gotten the mayor in hot... More...

Special Series

Classroom Mechanics Oral History Project
GB store



About Mechanics

Mechanics is the politics section of Gapers Block, reflecting the diversity of viewpoints and beliefs of Chicagoans and Illinoisans. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Mike Ewing, mike@gapersblock.com
Mechanics staff inbox: mechanics@gapersblock.com

Archives

 

 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15