Mike Harvey
The Times Online
March 13, 2009

By the wide stretch of the American River in Sacramento, history is repeating itself. Here, during the Great Depression of the 1930s, men and women who had lost everything and despaired of finding work built rough shelters and huddled around fires.

[efoods]Now the spiral of job losses and house repossessions has left another wave of Americans homeless, and a new tent city is growing rapidly on lumpy, derelict land between the river and the railway tracks here in the capital of California.

There are more than 300 people living in scattered encampments stretching a couple of miles along the river bank. As many as 50 more arrive each week. Unemployment in Sacramento reached 10.4 per cent in January and California is suffering some of the worst repossession rates in the country, with as many as 500 people losing their homes every day last year.

Charity workers in the city can no longer cope with the number of people coming to them for help. The shelters are full, with one home that caters for women and children turning away 200 people a night.

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