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Homelessness in America first appeared in the early 1600s with the beginning of immigration which mainly consisted of poor people looking for a job and a place to settle Between 1870 and 1924 millions of immigrants were coming to US and cramming tenement houses Those of them who were extremely poor and could not afford their living expenses finally found themselves on the streets The Great Depression of the 1930s which brought unstableness and massive unemployment increased homeless population drastically Sweeney 13-17 The history of homelessness in New York City can be traced back to the late 1970s At that time there was sufficient housing in New York for those people with law incomes In the mid-1970s however New York City began to experience serious economic problems and came very close to declaring bankruptcy This was symbolized by the famous newspaper headline Ford to city Drop Dead in the late 1970s early signs of a growing affordable housing shortage could be seen in the rapidly growing number of homeless men and women sleeping on the streets in parks and in transportation terminals Markee 1 This was made worse by the fuel crisis a few years later as well as a national recession in the early 1980s and resulted in very high costs for building owners Many middle class people and companies began to leave New York as crime Azizova-2 increased To try to keep the middle class New York City created a real estate tax abatement program known as J-51 program which converted thousands of rental units into co-operative apartments Unfortunately many of these converted units were single-room-occupancy SRO hotels in different boroughs of the city that were used by law-income citizens Many of the SRO buildings were destroyed or converted into condominiums Between 1972 and 1982 largely through this conversion process
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