What is Faith?

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. ~ Hebrews 11:1

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Eliminate the Negative

I have always been one to fight for a worthy cause. Had I been old enough to march along side Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I would have done so. As a matter of fact, I tried. I ran away from home to join his march but was caught only 60 miles away from my family home in Connecticut. Sadly just a few short months later the world lost this great man.

When the native Americans had a sit down at Alcatraz I did what I thought my part should be as a 14 year old girl. I had horses, so I rode bareback, wore my long hair in braids, complete with feathers and beads. I wore moccasins, suede fringe anything, and even became blood brothers, or sister with a native American friend.

Homelessness is something else that I feel strongly about. Now I am old enough to do something and am obviously following through with my convictions. Should politics be involved here? No but sadly it is. Whole communities fight over whether or not there should be soup kitchens near the more affluent parts of town. Should the mental health facility that has been there for more than years than most people can remember, be shut down because new ostentatious condos for the snobbishly loaded have been built next door? This apparently was a real issue.

Bus therapy: A new term to me, but apparently not new in implementation. In New York, Florida, even Hawaii, it goes somewhat like this. We don't want you here. You are an inconvenience, and we would like to be rid of you, therefore, we will buy you a one way ticket to wherever you want to go. Anywhere in the world. Really. Just don't come back.

Gee. I can make myself look homeless. I've always wanted to live in Italy. Let's do it! Don't believe me? Here are some links you can check out for yourself.


I have heard several times over the last few weeks words like, "They're all just lazy. Let em get a job." or "Their problem is not the lack of housing. They lack housing because they are all alkies, drug addicts, nut cases, general screw ups." "Make them all get a minimum wage job. It's better than nothing." "They're out there cuz they don't know how to handle their money."

Seriously folks. There are many homeless people about there who do have jobs. And yet they are still sleeping on someones couch or whole families crammed into a studio which most apartment managers can't or won't overlook because it is illegal for them to allow it.

But let's talk about that minimum wage job for a minute. Is it really bad money management? My son worked as an HVAC installer for years. He was laid off over 20 months ago. His unemployment ran out long ago. Because he's not one to take it lying down, he took a job making minimum wage as a deli clerk. They promised him 40 hours. Now even the grocery store is cutting back and he gets less than 20 hours. His wife is working as well and between the two of them, they take home less than $2000 per month and they have 3 little girls to feed. It was too much to qualify for assistance.
They moved from a house into a small more affordable apartment so my granddaughters ranging from 3 years to 13 all share one room. There's no money left at the end of the month for a pack of gum let alone anything for the birthdays of these girls all of which have been in the last 10 days. How do you explain to a 3 year old that you had to choose between food and a birthday present, or the 13 year old who wants desperately to take art lessons but can't because there isn't any money, or the 9 year old that you can no longer afford the family pet so it has to go.
In Oregon, the minimum wage is $8.40 per hour. Let's do the math, then decide if it's really bad money management.

$8.40 hour working a 40 hours = $1448 per month.
Less taxes for a family of 4 = $1155
Less average rent of $799 = $356
Less Electricity = $261
Less phone = $202
Less water & garbage = $150

Now remember that the budget did not allow for transportation to and from work. It does not allow for clothing, medical, auto insurance, nor does it allow for child care.

Lets do Washington

$8.55 per hour working 40 hours per week = $1470
Less taxes for a family of 4 = $1323
Less average rent of $981 = $342
Less Electricity = $232
Less phone = $173
Less water & garbage = $113

Now I don't want to leave California out
$8.00 per hour working 40 hours per week = 1376
Less taxes for a family of 4 = $1100
Less average rent of $1445 leaves you in the hole $345

So what happens to the non essentials like electricity, food, child care and transportation?

Bad money management? Gee. Perhaps on the part of the Government?

No comments: