The influx of out-of-towners has sparked a crisis for the 26-year-old homeless mom and dozens of others like her.
Eager to cash in on the thousands streaming into town, many down-market motels have jacked up their rates, forcing the homeless families who had been living in them into the streets and emergency shelters.
Ramsey’s home over the past three months had been a dingy, $200-a-week lodge. But she and her 4-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter were abruptly sent packing last week after the motel started charging $150 a night.
“They kicked me and my kids out like we were trash,” said Ramsey, who found refuge at a church.
The plight of Ramsey’s family and others like it are inflicting added pressure on a shelter system that’s already beyond capacity.
In the shadows of its gleaming skyscrapers and plush green spaces, this banking hub is struggling to reign in a skyrocketing homeless population.
Family homelessness shot up by nearly 40% in 2010, and another 20% in 2011, according to the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Some of these families are able to afford rooms in extended stay motels thanks to a part-time job or support from family members.
“These are folks who are on the edge of homelessness and they’re eking out an existence,” said Dale Mullenix, executive director of the Urban Ministry Center, a homeless services organization.