Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Working Poor

I was asked on a survey about my experiences with the working poor. This was my response:

How much space do you have?

I have been working poor since 1997 when I quit my job and started living on donations. However, my children have never gone hungry, even one meal, nor have they had to sleep on the street. God has provided for us, and now even a house and our daily food, although we often eat food from dumpsters-- but not filthy food.

I have seen people who don't want to beg and so they look for cans to recycle. They may make 30 dollars a day for working five hours in independent recycling.

I know of some people who work for phone sales. They get hired in one place, work for a few weeks or months, get laid off and then they have to look for work again. They never get enough to get an apartment.

I know of others who are on disability at about 500 or so dollars a month. They try to work as often as they can, but their physical or mental disabilities don't allow them to work for long, so they soon have to quit or they get fired. Eventually they find another job.

People who live on the street all want to work. Everyone is looking for work to do. But they have mental or physical or social limitations that don't allow them to work as long as they would like. I know of some people who look for work, but then they have an attack from their mental illness, and they are unable to work for two days to a week after that. They can't hold down a job like that.

What people on the street and some folks on disability need is work that will be flexible with their situation. Work that will allow them to take off and who will help them to fill out the necessary paperwork. Not just a day labor place, but a social assistance project that gives people work as they are able to work so they can make more income than they currently get-- even if they don't have enough for an apartment.

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