A homeless man carries lumber to the encampment under the North Avenue Bridge, where they sleep on the ground or on old mattresses and burn wood to keep warm when the temperature drops below freezing. Many of the people who live under the bridge have jobs but don’t earn enough to put a proper roof over their heads. With the economic downturn and overflowing homeless shelters, the number of people living in tents, cars and under bridges in Athens has tripled since 2006, according to the Athens-Clarke Human and Economic Development Department.

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"Included in this group [the underrclass] are individuals who lack training and skills and either experience long-term unemployment or are not members of the labor force, individuals who are engaged in street crime and other forms of aberrant behavior, and families that experience long-term spells of poverty and/or welfare dependency."

- The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner City, the Underclass, and Public Policy, by William Julius Wilson