Puerto Rico sees surge in homeless population

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Associated Press

Posted on July 9, 2013 at 1:35 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 9 at 2:04 PM

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Caridad Colon had never known what it was like to be hungry, homeless or unemployed.

But the Puerto Rican woman's company recently joined the scores of businesses that have closed as Puerto Rico struggles to emerge from a six-year recession. Colon lost her job, and eventually her home.

She's one of many who have found themselves at least briefly on the streets in Puerto Rico, where the homeless population has risen sharply in the past two years amid an ongoing economic crisis that includes a nearly 14 percent unemployment rate, higher than any U.S. state.

Officials say they expect the problem will only grow worse. Puerto Rico's median household income has dropped in recent years while its poverty rate has inched up to nearly 47 percent.

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