Jim, now homeless, spends 60 percent of his day trying to get clean.
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Jim, a widower and father of five, says he has been living in this Sacramento tent city for four months. "I worked in the construction trades pretty much all my life," he says. "Then with the economy the way it is, everything just seemed to start going downhill." Eventually, Jim says, he was no longer able to pay rent.

Obviously, living in a tent city is a huge adjustment, Jim says. "It's like learning how to live all over again." The most prized possession to those in tent cities is water, Jim says, and his tent is stocked. "We have to walk about 3 miles round-trip just to get a bottle of water."

Jim says he looks for work three to four days a week and told Lisa he spends about 60 percent of his day trying to stay clean and look presentable. "It's not like you can get up and there's a nice hot shower and a bathroom to use."

FROM: Tent Cities in America: A Lisa Ling Special Report
Published on June 19, 2009

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