WASHINGTON - Across the United States, the number of hungry and homeless people is growing, and budget fights at the federal level are threatening the aid many need to survive, the US Conference of Mayors said on Thursday.

Amidst the holiday season of family feasts and corporate dinners, the mayors released a report that found requests for emergency food assistance rose in 21 out of the 25 cities it surveyed in 2012 and remained at the same level in three. More than half the cities said homelessness increased.

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