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Few Homes For The Homeless

A U.S. Housing Department study of the homeless released Wednesday may explode some myths, CBS News Correspondent John Blackstone reports.

Even with a booming economy and low unemployment, the homeless remain as prominent as ever on America's city streets. In fact, the booming economy may be part of the trouble.

In Seattle, homeless advocate John Fox says these good economic times have meant the loss of hundreds of low-income rooms and apartments in the city. "All those units are gone to make way for Niketown, Banana Republic, and fashionable and trendy shops," he explains.

In San Francisco, a thriving high tech industry has helped property prices to skyrocket. What not long ago was the low-rent part of town is now a gleaming heart of the new economy.

According to Paul Boden, San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness, "We're displacing poor people at a massive rate, and building housing at a massive rate, for you know, what is called the yuppies -- white upper income people working in Silicon Valley."

As the skyscrapers and the rents have risen in San Francisco, something else has happened. People paying big money for homes and offices have become less tolerant of less-fortunate neighbors.

Charlie Nauendorf, who could be fined $76 for camping in public space, has been living on San Francisco's streets for six years. He's resisted one homeless cleanup campaign after another and says, "get used to it because we ain't going to go away. Just work with 'em and you don't . . . shuffle us around like we're garbage."

San Francisco recently tried confiscating shopping carts, but that campaign has ended -- with no change in life in the streets.