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Unreported World - USA: Down And Out

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Channel 4 - Unreported World - America, Down And Out

Unreported World meets the USA's new middle-class homeless: families struggling to hold down jobs that pay so little they're forced to live in tent cities or their cars and receive little help from the government.

Reporter Ramita Navai and producer Clancy Chassay begin their journey in Chicago, one of the country's manufacturing centres, which has been hit hard by the effects of the worst financial crisis in decades. St Columbanus church is one of 600 charities across the city that gives out emergency food rations.

Across America, many working people from all sectors have taken as much as 40% in pay cuts in desperation to hold on to their jobs. Their motivation is clear: if you are a temporary, part-time or self-employed worker you don't qualify for government help. The result is that many can't make ends meet and afford to feed themselves and their families.

Father Matt Eyerman tells Navai that the number of families receiving help from his church has leapt from 240 to 498 over the last two years, even though many of them still have jobs.

Today, more than 37 million Americans receive either state or private food assistance. More than three million were made homeless in 2009 despite holding down jobs. More than half of those living in shelters have had their homes repossessed by banks.

The team travels south to the state of Tennessee. They've been told that thousands of homeless people are taking refuge in temporary encampments. The City of Nashville, which has only only one emergency shelter for families, has more than 40 of these 'tent cities'.

Navai meets Michael and Stacey Farley, who have been living in the tent city for six months. Stacey tells Navai that she has been forced to leave her son and daughter with relatives while they both look for work.

Navai and Chassay move on to California, where more and more people are ending up on the streets. California has the highest debt in the USA and many essential services have been cut, including emergency housing assistance. 'Skid Row', which is one square mile of Los Angeles, has as many as 2,000 people sleeping rough every night. It has a reputation for drugs and crime and Navai talks to homeless people who are forced to walk all day to avoid being picked up by the police for loitering.

The US economy is in recovery but many experts believe the most damaging effects have yet to be felt. It's predicted that another 1.5 million people will be forced into homelessness within two years, and in a country with few safety nets, many more people could fall through the cracks.

More info:

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This video is from 2007, but things have only gotten worse in the hills, drugs,mountain dew and some of the nicest, hardest working people you'll ever meet in your life
ABC's Diane Sawer got a Emmy for this doc and the kids didn't get shit!

A Hidden America Children of the Mountains
In the hills of Central Appalachia, up winding, mountain roads, is a place where children and families face unthinkable conditions, living without what most Americans take for granted. Isolated pockets in Central Appalachia have three times the national poverty rate, an epidemic of prescription drug abuse, the shortest life span in the nation, toothlessness, cancer and chronic depression.

But also in Appalachia young fighters and dreamers filled with hope struggle to survive: a high school football superstar who sleeps in his truck; a 12-year-old who wants nothing more than her own bed and a cupboard full of food; an 18-year-old who must decide whether or not to spend the rest of his life in the coal mines; and an 11-year-old determined to save her mother's life. Diane Sawyer continues her award-winning reporting on America's forgotten children with an eye-opening hour on rural kids living in poverty.

For nearly two years, ABC News cameras followed four Appalachian children, each one facing unimaginable obstacles.

* Shawn Grim, 18, Appalachian high school football superstar, sleeps in his truck to avoid the thievery, alcoholism and despair of his family's life in the hollow in Flat Gap, Kentucky. Over the course of Sawyer's report, Grim moves eight times. He is determined to be the first one in his family to graduate from high school and go to college. Will he be able to achieve his dream of a different life?

* Courtney, 12, is one of those children whose face reminds us of the famous portraits of the Appalachian past. Her clothes are stuffed into a suitcase under her bed in the small home she shares with 11 relatives in Inez, Kentucky. Her mother, Angel, struggles to stay off drugs and hopes to give her four daughters a better life by getting her GED and becoming a teacher. With no car and no public transportation, Angel walks 16 miles roundtrip, four hours total, to her GED class.
* Erica, 11, hopes to save her mother's life. ''She's almost 50 and... if I don't get her out of this town soon, then she'll probably die any day.'' Erica and her mother, Mona, live in Cumberland, Kentucky, a once booming coal town. Mona battles addiction to prescription drugs and alcohol, her life ravaged by her struggles and despair. The region has a prescription drug abuse rate twice that of major cities like New York or Miami.
* When his girlfriend becomes pregnant, Jeremy, 18, trades his dream of a life as an engineer in the military for a life underground in the coal mines. Sawyer travels down 3 1/2 miles to the dangerous working face of the mine to meet Jeremy and the other men who make the decision to work 9 - 12 hours a day, six days a week, with little sunshine in their daily lives. But despite safety concerns, it's the best paying job in the region.

There are also heroes in the hills - teachers, social workers, doctors and dentists reaching out to a population isolated by the steep hills and lack of transportation.

''A Hidden America: Children of the Mountains'' is a continuation of Diane Sawyer's reporting on America's forgotten children.

"If you want" more info get it here:

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I included a bunch of flv clips from Youtube like the one above and the 2010 Britannica Student Encyclopedia

(For the poor kids, whose parents are too broke to buy it.)

Me and my family may be livin in the street soon, but I'll keep uploading till the power go's out!

Get Britannica Illustrated Science Library (all 16 volumes) here:

P.S - Please be patience this is a big torrent going through a small pipe :P