Tony Lithgow, 49, and Andrea Mayer, 51, live together on the streets of Baltimore. Researchers say the aging homeless population is due to younger baby boomers who came of age during the 1970s and '80s, when there were back-to-back recessions.
While in line at the United Church of Christ soup kitchen, Tony passes Andrea a bag full of her prescription medications. Before being homeless, Andrea suffered from a host of ailments that have only gotten worse, and now she needs both knees replaced. "I'm living on painkillers," she says.
Tony plugs a small heater into an outlet in the parking lot. "We're sort of living high class compared to what these people are living," says Andrea, referring to the dozens of others sleeping nearby. "We're warm at night. These people are freezing to death."
On the bus they often recognize other homeless people taking advantage of the free, heated ride to keep out of the cold. "I think we see more older people," Andrea says of the overall homeless population, "and I've never seen — and I've been in three different states — never seen so many mentally ill."
Tony says he'd like to go back to work but doesn't want to leave Andrea on the streets alone. They might be able to afford a small efficiency apartment with Andrea's Social Security disability payments but can't gather the security deposit.
Tony Lithgow and Andrea Mayer have been living under a highway overpass in downtown Baltimore since last year. He's 49 and has been homeless on and off for eight years. She's 51 and has been homeless for 10 years.
Living on the streets has clearly taken a toll on the couple, both physically and mentally. While they're standing at a corner waiting for a free city bus to take them to a soup kitchen, Tony shouts at a passenger staring at them from a car stopped at the light.
Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 8:01 pm
Pope Francis goes into history as the first pontiff from the New World.
For Latin America in particular, this is a momentous occasion: It is home to 483 million Catholics, or a little more than 40 percent of the global population.
Pope Francis was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, of Italian parents. At one point, he was the archbishop of the Buenos Aires diocese, which The Wall Street Journal reports, has "the largest concentration of Catholics in the world."
Listen to Stephen Thompson's conversation with Audie Cornish on All Things Considered by clicking the audio link.
The South by Southwest music festival kicked off Tuesday with the first of five straight nights of music overload: The clubs, makeshift music venues and front porches of Austin, Texas, were overrun with little-known discoveries-in-waiting and big names alike, as well as tens of thousands of fans who have flocked to the city in search of epiphanies.
Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 6:53 pm
As news spread that the chimney atop the Sistine Chapel was billowing white smoke to signal the election of Pope Francis, anticipation built for the new pontiff's first appearance on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica.
Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 6:12 pm
In the ongoing Washington budget battles, one word gets more of a workout than most: balanced.
This single word illustrates the vast distance between the parties. Democrats and Republicans are working from very different definitions of the term in discussing their budget proposals being unveiled this week.
What Democrats are saying: A balanced budget is deficit reduction through a mix of tax increases and spending cuts. As in: We want a balanced approach to reducing the deficit.
Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 9:41 pm
The new pope, 76-year-old Jorge Bergoglio, the archbishop of Buenos Aires, is the first pontiff from Latin America and the first Jesuit, but he appears to hold views very much in line with his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI.
Bergoglio has chosen the papal name Francis, becoming the 266th to hold the title of spiritual leader of the Catholic Church.