Housing in my home town

Thursday, April 09, 2015
I've written about poverty and the housing situation before. It's something close to my heart- it is what drives my passion to work and sometimes what keeps me up at night. The problem is so big- even in our little town of maybe 12,000 people. If we can't fix this here- how can we fix this anywhere?

I try to keep up on what others are doing- movements in cities and towns all over America. People bringing the issue of homelessness to the forefront of social media. I was watching some of this yesterday on youtube. The videos are heartbreaking to watch- when you can see the level of pain these people experience just from reading comments made about them on social media.

I was active in our community until recently. I am one who rarely gives in or up easily and I knew our community wasn't willing to support affordable housing. They are afraid of having homeless people living in groups in 'our town'. They want to help- if the housing can be built elsewhere.

What they don't realize is that there are already homeless people in 'our town'. They are living in sub-standard housing all over our town. They live in abandoned trailers- in homes with no heat- with no floors. They are finding little places anywhere they can to stay out of the cold. They get food from the food bank, mostly canned or dry packaged products they often eat uncooked. They manage.

But beyond them are the almost-homeless. Those who are working all those minimum wage jobs in town that are here because of the freeway that flows through. They cannot pay for a place to live on their wages- when places to live can be 75% of their monthly income. They sometimes are working part time and don't qualify for housing assistance for any one of the myriad of reasons housing can deny help for. They can't come up with a deposit and first and last rent- so they look for anything.

It feels overwhelming to even contemplate how to fix this. I don't have the answers. But I'm not willing to sit back and stop looking for them. Somewhere- some how we have to find a way to provide safe and affordable housing for the people who live around us. We need to give them a way to provide their basic needs for their families without always finding they have to accept a sub-standard place to live just to have one- or accept living with people that are harmful to them or their families. We need to give them hope of some place to live.


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