Government Punishes the Poor

by on November 15th, 2010
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Have you ever been in the “underpriviledged” or “below poverty level” class of citizen? Well, I have been living that way for the past 10 years. I’m 27, married 3 times, a mother and struggling to keep a roof over my head. If it weren’t for the help of friends and family, my children, husband and I would be on the street. Most would say, “Why don’t you go to a shelter? Why don’t you apply for financial aid? Aren’t there services to help?” Well, in short, no.

I have tried to apply for aid. The problem is, because I have 2 children and am married, no one can house all of my family. To keep my children out of foster care and off the streets they are staying with a friend of the family where they will be stable. Meanwhile my husband and I are trying to find him a job and get on our feet. I applied for public housing but with no income we can’t pay the deposit for the apartment or get the lights and gas cut on. We can’t even get our car fixed. I also tried to apply for TANF (Temporary Aid For Need Families) but since the children aren’t with us, we don’t qualify. I’m also waiting on my disability that I applied for 2 years ago. I have fibromyalgia that makes it too painful for me to work. The only things we have left are foodstamps and medicaid. Oh, wait! Our medicaid recently was cut off and I was told I’d be investigated for fraud because the children weren’t with us. But they were covered under my medicaid and the application only asked what children I have custody over. Now I can’t afford my medicine or doctor’s appointments so I live in constant pain now.

Shelters, I’m sure you’re thinking. Shelters could help. Well, in my area the only shelters around are only for adults. The one in my town only takes men. I don’t qualify for the House of Ruth. And in the next town over, the shelter that takes men and women keeps them seperate. The men and women aren’t allowed to mingle, talk to each other, they can’t even look at each other while they’re eating! If my husband and I went to the shelter, it would destroy me not to even be able to spend time with the only one of my family I really have left with me. So a shelter isn’t really an option for us. My husband is the only one holding me together right now in this terrible time in our lives.

Many people would say, “Why can’t your husband get a job? Why don’t you work?” Well, pain prevents me from working. As for my husband, he only has a 7th grade education because he had gotten expelled from his private school for having a child when he was 16. With this education and the intolerance from a private christian school, my husband has been unable to find work for 2 years. It would be all too easy to blame the economy but the economy certainly hasn’t helped. We struggle day to day, knowing that any moment we could be out on the streets. It’s hard not having a place to lay your head but I know that one day we will get everything back together and get on our feet.

But my question is, why can’t we get help? The shelters don’t take families. They tear them apart. The government aid agencies won’t help us because we don’t have the children with us so they aren’t in the unstable situation but they would take them away if they were. What is wrong with government today? Those that have no income, no way of getting around and no way to pay for anything can only get food that they can are lucky to be able to cook. Something needs to be done to reform our government. Those that truly need the help can’t even get it anymore! If you agree, please, write your senators and congressmen and representatives! America was founded on each and every citizen having a voice. So USE YOUR VOICES, America! It is our responsibility as citizens to speak up about things that we find intolerable! Every voice counts! Perhaps, if enough cry out, the poor and “underpriviledged” can once again find a chance at the ideal once called “The Great American Dream.”


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