They say all good things must end some day but for one Thomas Jones that some day just arrived. It was just yesterday that he lost his job. A job he held for over 20 years. Now, at age 63 still in reasonably good health couldn’t understand why the company he worked for would suddenly and without cause just up and showed him the door. Thomas whose sole earnings were his measly paycheck, just enough to keep a roof over his head, food on the table and gas in his car never really had enough to sock away for that rainy day that just arrived. If this sounds all to familiar it should. All across the country young and old alike are being victimized by an economy that has gone out of their way to perpetuate the 1%. And, as for Thomas who is now a senior citizen will find it almost impossible to land another job. With mortgage due and a refrigerator that is almost empty as the gas tank in his car realizes tough choices have to be made real quick.
Within a short span of six months with his unemployment benefits now expired Thomas tried to contact his bank to see if he could make deferred mortgage payments only to be told that they were going to foreclose left Thomas devastated. Not only did he loose his wife a few years ago but his job just recently and now his home is a tragedy no one likes to think about and yet situations like Thomas are all to common place today. After a lifetime of working hard Thomas began thinking that his only income now was going to be his Social Security. Thomas found out that the bank foreclosed because his mortgage payment was equal to over 65% of his now income. With rents for available apartments being just as high left Thomas with very few options as to where to hang his hat. This is happening all over the United States. Especially hit hard are our seniors who rely on Social Security as their only means of support.
As high end real estate developers gobble up land and in turn build expensive homes and condos people like Thomas are displaced. It happened in the Florida Keys some time ago where developers rushed in built high end real estate and consequently forced the long term residents out because they couldn’t afford the prices that came about from all that development. This is happening at a record pace all over the country along with companies like the one Thomas worked for are laying off older workers by the thousands either to cut costs, replace with younger less experienced workers or just closing the company to relocate most likely to another country.
Think about what is happening to people like Thomas, the economy is booming for the upper class all the while the low wage earner and Seniors are being victimized by policies that continue to favor the wealthy. In reality, what is really happening is having a direct negative economic impact all across the country. With rents being too high where was Thomas going live? People like Thomas are being force into that vicious cycle of poverty that has drastic consequences not only on communities but on the health of all those who are being victimized by an economy and government safety nets that only exasperate the growing number of people who are becoming homeless.
With today’s Republican mind set in government those Social Security cost of living adjustments nowhere near account for the ever rising cost of housing. And if one is fortunate to qualify for Food Stamps another one of governments safety nets still don’t equate to the cost of living increases that never keep pace with the rising cost of food. In counties all across America contrary to what is being reported millions of Americans are facing each and every day in dire circumstances and whose voices have always fallen on the deaf ears of our politicians and policy makers.
The hard reality today is the fact that more of our citizens especially our seniors continue to be thrust into that vicious cycle of poverty and homelessness. Sure there are places where the fortunate ones can find shelter but with the rate of people being displaced there is a very acute shortage of helping hands available to curb the rising surge of people thrust into situations they really don’t have much choice of avoiding. Even with all those safety nets that so many of our Republicans keep touting and want to cut too many have lost their homes, their dignity, and their pride. We haven’t seen anything like this since the 1930’s.
This dramatic rise in homelessness especially our Seniors is a sad commentary of our whole society today. We have to remember that there are many causes to why there is such a startling increase in the number of our Seniors who are now thrust into that all to familiar state of despair. One of the largest causes that has attributed to the drastic rise of homelessness resulted in our failed governmental trade policies of over 20 years ago. Back in the 1990’s the United States was going through a drastic economic shift. This shift from a manufacturing base one to more of a service oriented economy took away much of the buying power of the public. As a consequence many workers were left without the incomes or the means to save for that rainy day. With today’s current trend of policies coming out of Washington the chances of ever getting back the economic strength and the buying power for millions of Americas that they once had is next to impossible. Most of the population today are no longer able to save money or pay down debt. Instead they have created the enormous debt that have contributed to the current economic crisis.
In the first decade of the 21st century more Americans were lurid into the worst housing collapse since the 1930’s. What too many didn’t realize that that the banks knew all along that they were going to make a ton of money by restructuring loans to make it far easier for non qualified buyers to qualify for home loans. But with the trend of stagnant wages, loss of jobs, and health crisis contributed to the fact that many of these people who qualified for the original loans were now unable to make payments. The end result banks foreclosed on these thousands if not millions of homes all across the country. This leaves people like the Thomas Jones really our in the cold.
What makes homelessness such an increasing crisis is the fact that too many people are still are finding it more difficult to pay mortgages or rents for apartments. Many landlords today are also now finding it more difficult to finance the upkeep of their properties. This results in many times they sell their properties or are forced to evict tenants because of their buildings are in violation of state building codes leaving the occupants with no place to go. Compounding these dire circumstances is the fact that today’s personal savings at record lows. In the end these people who have been force out of their apartments or homes due to job loss, foreclosure, fire or any other disaster don’t have the funds set aside for moving or a down payment for another place to stay. Sad to say that the foreclosure rate nation wide is still climbing.
As more and more seniors being left out in the cold there is a major health crisis that coincides with the rising homeless population. We already have a physical and mental crisis in our country but to add the burden of that growing number of homeless seniors just exasperates the existing health crisis we have today. Being homeless means it almost impossible to find and secure the beneficial food that is so important to maintain ones own physical health and if more people continue to live this way many will succumb to mental and other health problems causing further financial and economic hardship on the rest of the population in the United States.
Another factor to consider is the fact that too many have the perception that being on the streets is their fault when too many times circumstances that led to their untimely situation are governmental, banking and corporate policies added to the circumstances that really led them into this vacuum of despair.
To vastly reduce the increasing plight of so many only a total reform of governmental policies will be effective. That is the intent of National Economic Reform’s Ten Articles of Confederation. The plight of so many of our citizens today is a major blight on our society. That rising tide of despair continues to swell over our nation. As for Thomas Jones who is part of our growing senior population is still trying to survive in a land that has become very hostile toward the situation that so many homeless people have been forced into. Forced into by circumstances that were beyond their control. Yet, our governmental officials many of whom continue to ignore, or just offer token solutions to an ever growing crisis. A crisis that could easily be eliminated.