Number of homeless families rises
Families crowding together into single homes because of the bad economy helped increase the number of homeless families last year, even as the total number of homeless individuals dropped, Housing and Urban Development Department officials reported Wednesday. Overall, 1.56 million people spent at least one night in emergency shelters or transitional housing in 2009, according to the department's annual report to Congress, released Wednesday. A third of that number were members of 170,000 homeless families. There were 159,000 homeless families in 2008 and 131,000 in 2007. The increase, the report said, "is almost certainly related to the recession." Homeless families stayed in emergency shelters an average of 36 nights in 2009, up from 30 nights the year before, the report said.
Professor charged in brother's death
Biology professor Amy Bishop, 45, who is charged with killing three of her colleagues at an Alabama university, has been indicted in the 1986 shooting death of her 18-year-old brother, Seth, in Massachusetts, Norfolk District Attorney William Keating announced Wednesday. Authorities had originally ruled her brother's shooting an accident, but they reopened the case after Bishop was charged in February with gunning down six of her colleagues at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, killing three. Bishop had told police that she accidentally shot her brother while trying to unload her father's shotgun.
Woman is charged in $45M swindle
A New Jersey woman swindled $45 million from real estate investors in a Ponzi scheme and blew some of their money on extravagant excursions to Las Vegas and Atlantic City casinos, prosecutors said Wednesday. A criminal complaint charges Antoinette Hodgson of Montclair, N.J., with cheating 20 victims in New Jersey and New York by claiming to be a foreclosure expert who owned dozens of homes. Hodgson, 58, surrendered Wednesday and was released on $6 million bail.