Many expect to see middle-class America in cozy homes. Warm and inviting with a white picket fence and a grassy yard for kids or grandkids to play in. But for some middle-class families, they are finding they no longer have a home.
The middle-class in California homeless? Yes. And it is becoming worse.
Marva Ericson, who is a nursing assistant became homeless after a series of seizures let to a diagnosis of a brain tumor. After going through treatment while caring for her 90-year-old mother, Ericson was evicted from her small apartment, with rent of $1,000 a month.
Ericson found out about a program called, Safe Parking Program, run by the New Beginnings Counseling Center. The Center aims to provide a secure area for homeless to sleep in their vehicles. In elite areas such as Santa Barbara.
Currently, the Center assists 150 clients and the statistics are shocking. These are not people living on the streets. They’re not druggies, alcoholics or mentally ill.
40% are working but can’t afford an apartment because of the rising costs of housing.
35% are seniors
30% are disabled
Only 25% have an RV, the rest live in small cars.
A Senior couple currently lives in an old RV. They used to own a condo, but could no longer afford the high property taxes.
This is a crisis all across America. Some, such as Marva, now working two jobs, still cannot afford the high cost of rent.
We as a nation, a rich nation, should be ashamed! Housing costs keep going higher and higher, as does food, clothing, medication, yet wages are not keeping up. Minimum wage, even working 2 jobs at minimum wage, will not pay for a decent place to live. Lower rent housing is torn down to build high rise apartments and condos only the rich can afford, or at the very least, those with professional jobs that pay more.
We need to stop putting the poor on the streets. When are we going to start helping the working poor? Those who try as hard as they can, but just can’t live on what they earn.
And the elderly. Those whose homes may be paid for, but they can’t afford the rising costs of property taxes. Their home was their nest egg. It was paid for. They thought they’d live out their lives there. Now they too are sleeping in cars in parking lots. This is disgraceful.
If one small organization can help 150 people, more organizations, churches, etc., need to start a group such as The Safe Parking Program. Work with civic leaders. Police departments. Come together to keep people off the streets!