Matthew Lickona 2:29 p.m., May 24
Physically and financially, I'm in better shape today. I'm healthier (no more caffeine and no more nicotine!) and I have more dollars to spend on food. It's a shame to admit that I'm better off as a homeless bum than I was as a productive member of society. Yet it's true.
As a working woman, my job took six days of my life out of every week. Yet I was still not a full-time employee. I averaged 30 to 35 hours per week, at minimum wage, which is currently $8 an hour. After paying rent and eating beans (I had no oven to cook my beloved cornbread), I barely had money left. I had no bills, owned no car or pets, and I only shopped at resale places for goods and clothing. I felt frustrated, hopeless and like I was just spinning my wheels.
Now I live in a homeless shelter. I get three healthy meals each day and I also get foodstamps. I buy mostly liquids, like water and tea, with my E.B.T. (Electronic Benefits Transfer) card but I also treat myself to ice cream and chocolate too. Foodstamps have been a blessing in my life as have homeless shelters.
It would help a lot if I could get cash assistance , aka General Relief because I could use a new pair of shoes. But I only qualify for $41 per month. The catch is that I would be required to work 80 hours per month for that $41. (Yes, that works out to 50cents per hour or 1950s wages.) I like to make my money the honest way. I am a Goody Two Shoes and I almost jumped at the opportunity. I said "almost jumped". I caught myself just in time before I went into the abyss of abject poverty. Desperate people are vulnerable to this type of exploitation. That is why Social Security was invented. But alas the villians of America are trying to tie Social Security to the railroad tracks of progress so they can plunder the poor. (Wealthy people are under the delusion that we poor folks are having a ball in life. Hey Billionaires of the world. Being poor and homeless sucks. We have no fun and no lives so get over it.) Heaven help us all.