Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Financially Strapped Don't Get a Break

The majority of families that are financially strapped will always be financially strapped and through no fault of their own, but rather because society will not let them heal and rebuild.  Why, because most institutions, including our government believe it is because they are ALL trying to live like the Joneses which couldn't be further from the truth. Many find themselves in this position because American companies have abandoned the American worker for countries like China and Mexico or due to catastrophic illness.  And the sad part is that many of us know at least one or more of these families and have tried to help them, but can only do so much.

I know one of these families, intimately, because this family is related to me (ages 67 and 77).  For a good part of his life, her husband even worked 7 days a week for pennies. They don't own a house or drive a Lexus, they don't buy and wear designer clothes and most of their grocery shopping (they haven't gone out in many years) is done at the dollar store.  They've never travelled and their leisure time is sitting by the water or playing Yatzee. The only reason they have cable tv is because the basic plan is included in their rent.  Yes, they do have a cell phone, but they use one of the least expensive plans there is.  They have been trying for 15 to 20 years to cut back on expenses and attempt lowering their living costs. No matter what they do it just doesn't quite make it. 

They can't get government help because they are only slightly over the so-called poverty level computed as "gross income" as set by the Federal Government and based on todays costs truly is a joke.  The so called poverty level after taxes doesn't even allow for the payment of rent in this country, much less anything else.

They recently tried moving to a more affordable apartment and were denied because there was a car eviction situation which had been taken care of immediately for them by me 2 years ago and payments have been made in a timely manner since then. The apartment complex didn't even want to listen to what had happened and said once you're denied, it's over. This family never missed a rent payment and even paid ahead of time, but this didn't matter either.  She also had a co-signer who would have guaranteed that the rent would be paid - - me - - but they wouldn't accept that either and I have a superior credit rating. 

The fact that she had lost her job through no fault of her own when her entire company shut down didn't matter . . . the car company refused to work with them which is why she fell behind.  And because they had a poor credit rating the interest rate on the car loan because she had to go through a pool is 29%; completely outrageous compared to the 3% I'm paying.  It's hard to get a job when you have no way to get to work.  And don't believe that age discrimination doesn't exist even in Florida. It does, especially in Florida.  No wonder people like them fall behind . . . they have about as much chance as a snowball in hell.

There was also a false eviction claim on the part of a former landlord for which they had a letter from the courts saying the case was dismissed due to false accusations on the part of the landlord.  This family NEEDED this lower rent apartment because her husband (age 77 who had been working 30 hours a week to make the ends meet) had been recently diagnosed with congestive heart failure (prescription co-pays have jumped up to $150 a month) and can't right now if he will ever be able to again, as well as the fact that her daughter got married and moved out. She had been looking for almost 2 years for a job to no avail and had finally found one part-time, but this isn't enough to cover their living expenses now that her husband is unable to work which are meager at best.  I, in fact, have taken over her car payments for her and send her a Save A Lot grocery card once in a while (the best I can do because I lost my job last April and was forced into retirement myself).

And the laws in Florida give NO relief to seniors for legitimately breaking a lease for financial reasons or assisting them with rent due to catastrophic reasons so these people are trapped or end up homeless.  This is positively tragic in this great country.

I'm not saying that these people didn't make poor choices at times when it came to money . . . we all do or have, including myself.  But unless society gives them the chance to fix themselves, they will continue to remain tragic victims.

Please, I ask that you forward the link to this page to everyone you know.  Let's see if we collectively can start changing things for families like this.

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