Homeless in the heart of affluence

Homelessness is soaring in Marin County — California’s most affluent county — as agencies see 25 to 50 percent increases in requests for help. And it’s families who’re feeling the hit the most, according to SFGate.com:

Conroy, 54, is one of what many social service providers are calling the newly homeless – people who would never be destitute, without a place to live, if the national economy were not collapsing.

“Usually, with a lot of middle-income families, if you hit hard times, you just move out of the area,” said Diane Linn, director of the Ritter Center in San Rafael, one of Marin’s emergency aid agencies. “So seeing middle-class people come here – that’s big. It tells me things are very bad.

“We would have never seen this in the past.”

Thanks to foreclosures and job losses, even formerly upper middle-class folks are quickly tumbling into need, and social service agencies are having a hard time keeping up with demand.