Yesterday, the Huffington Post featured a front page story about the “The New Face of Homelessness.” Within hours, thousands of readers posted comments, many telling of their own personal struggles with facing foreclosure, eviction, and homelessness. Their stories are harrowing, and they underscore our need to do much more to prevent and end homelessness in these troubling times. Here is just a sampling of the stories that were told:
“We’ve been struggling for a few years now. This is not new. We can barely keep enough food in the house all month. I can’t remember the last time I bought anything like clothes for myself. Plus the IRS takes any income tax we get in for student loans I’ve defaulted on. My little girl is severely handicapped and I cannot work because I care for her 24/7…They cut her SSI in half. They’ve stopped paying for her seizure medicine out of the blue. The price of food is insane. The cost of renting a decent home has not gone down. Utilities keep going up too. But income has been cut. We live a bare bones existence. There is nothing left to cut from our budget.” – susiesiouxsie
“I am presently on hold with the DC unemployment office waiting to apply for extended unemployment compensation, and this hold music is maddening. It’s been 30 minutes—thankfully it’s free to call on google. It is so easy for your life to change for the worse like this, no matter how careful you are. I’m educated, I had a few months’ worth of savings to live on, and here I am…still looking for a job. If I had kids to support, we would be in a shelter by now.” – ckevere
“A family of five in our neighborhood would be also on the streets if our neighborhood hadn’t gone together to pay their monthly mortgage. I’m absolutely certain there are untold numbers of unseen ‘homeless’ like this.” – cyrano1
“…I, too, am on the verge of homelessness due to the economic collapse. I’ve lost everything and have struggled for the last year to find employment that seems to never avail itself. My savings are nearly gone. I wake everyday hoping it’s not the day I am forced onto the streets. Twice over the last year I contacted a local shelter for a bed. The waiting list was 2 months. Twice I took my name off of the list. There were families with children that needed the bed more than I. I’m 42 and in decent health and couldn’t imagine sleeping in a bed as a child slept on the street. I figured I’d have a better shot surviving the unimaginable than a vulnerable family. 1500 resumes later and I am no closer to redemption than I was over a year ago. I saved one year’s salary as a buffer…that’s nearly gone. And my story isn’t a unique one… We need help.” – SiouxSayer
“I live in a one bedroom apartment and have been laid off since last July. Work is very scarce here and my 22 year old son is now living with me, sleeping on the couch. He is also out of work. We live on my unemployment for now. It is extremely scary… It is very depressing to end up like this when we used to live an upper-middle class lifestyle in Newport Beach, CA. I suppose we have to just deal with this right now as best we can for what else can we do?” - HopeR
”I’m facing a similar nightmare in Florida … unemployed after teaching for 13 plus years … here they are not even hiring substitute teachers. Add to this I am divorced, two kids, facing foreclosure … recently developed health problems … no insurance … denied medicaid because my ex pays 800 a month child support for his two children …I’m a child of the 70’s … my working class generation believed if you went to college got a “secure” job you were set for life! What do you do when the rug is pulled from under you?” – VTya
- Comments assembled by Christine Hwang, Development Assistant
I’m glad to see that some many people have told their stories as it gives a sense of certainty of the continual problems that have arisen amongst this nation. They also give us an awareness of just how simple it is to become throw off course as financial abuse that has engulfed this nation sways and woes the current and future economic stability of the american people.
As homelessness has been a continual issue of this nation and a declarative explanation of the struggle to end it was erected in the early 80’s, since then the awareness and ability to offering helpful services since have remained the same with seemingly no useful direction.
Now with the innovation of internet social media as access points, broader efforts of support have increased the integrity and appeal of how help may be offered to those that are in need of help. Before it had been the standard of quality that harmed the efforts of assistance towards specific groups of interest, now these efforts will be able to become expressive in actions the more we as americans come to realize that it can happen to all of us.