I felt like I had been kicked in the guts when I realized that some of these children were being shuttled from school to a homeless shelter. ‘This is where they live,’ I thought, ‘this is the face of the new America!’ – A school bus driver
With staggering unemployment and relentless foreclosures and evictions, working people are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet. To avoid homelessness, many are forced to double and triple-up, and others move in with relatives despite the glut of homes sitting vacant. This economic crisis has taken an enormous toll on families.
One in every 50 children is currently homeless – with that number expected to climb with rising foreclosures – while one million children have lost medical coverage since the economic crisis began. (National Center on Family Homelessness, 2009)
Banks got bailed out so they could kick us out of our homes? And Wall Street got bailed out to continue to hemorrhage hundreds of thousands of jobs? A moratorium on evictions and foreclosures would have done more to stabilize peoples lives than the massive corporate handout.
If we are in an economic upswing, then where are the jobs? Ironically, while hundreds apply for the same job, others are juggling two or three low-wage, part-time jobs that often have irregular hours. Irregular hours and time away from children can wreak havoc on families, which is further complicated by the high cost of and need for child care. Free child care should be provided to working families.
With little to no discretionary income, the decision to put gas in your car or food on your table becomes uncomfortably real. What if that little noise under your hood means a costly auto repair that you cant afford? More importantly, what if you get sick and are unable to work?
The new normal seems to be two part-time jobs and working odd hours for very low wages, working harder and faster as employers try to save costs to increase profits.
Rather than accepting the corporate model for organizing society, we should organize society in the interests of working people and the common good. No one should cash in on what should be basic human rights for all people: clean, affordable housing, a living wage, free, quality health care, free, quality education, free day care, and the right to safe, nutritional food.