Hooverville

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Hoovervilles littering Central Park in New York City
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Hoovervilles littering Central Park in New York City

Hooverville is a term describing a series of villages that appeared following the Great Depression in the United States from 1929 through the 1930s and 1940s. These villages were often formed in desolate areas or unpleasant neighborhoods and consisted of dozens or hundreds of shacks and tents that were temporary residences of those left unemployed and homeless by the Depression. The government did not officially recognize these Hoovervilles and occasionally removed the occupants for technically trespassing on private lands.

The word "Hooverville" is a spin on the last name of the 31st President of the United States during the beginning of the Depression, Herbert Hoover.

Some of the men who were forced to live in these conditions possessed building skills and were able to build their houses out of stone. Most people, however, resorted to building their residences out of box wood, cardboard, and any scraps of metal they could find. Some individuals even lived in watermains.

Most of these unemployed residents of the Hoovervilles begged for food from those fortunate enough to have housing during this era. Several other terms came into use during this era, such as "Hoover blanket" (old newspaper used as blanketing) and "Hoover flag" (an empty pocket turned inside out).

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