The Battle Of A Lifetime

Posted: May 29, 2009 in Employment, Homeless Shelters, Homelessness, Housing, Money, Poverty

Like most American’s, I’m trying to be optimistic about our nation’s economy – hoping that that we will see a recovery sometime soon. However, and despite, a Reuters news report yesterday that "… initial claims for state unemployment insurance" were actually down for the second week in a row, I’m still being a bit cautious with my optimism.  

Even a recent White House report, which claims that 150,000 new jobs have been created in the past 100 days, isn’t enough for me to believe that we’re completely out of the woods with regards to the recession.

For one thing, the report doesn’t mention where those new jobs were created. Neither does it provide any proof that those jobs would not have been created regardless, or if those jobs were in the process of being created prior to the beginning of the year.

In addition, the 150,000 new jobs which the Obama administration says were created, is still a far cry from replacing the 2 million plus jobs which have been lost just since the beginning of this year. And, it does cause me to wonder if these "new jobs" are providing a livable wage or if they’re just paying minimum wage.

The reality is that, although there may have fewer people filing for unemployment these past two weeks, there were still 623,000 folks who filed for unemployment benefits. To me, that would seem to cancel out the 150,000 "newly created jobs" – meaning that, when it comes to jobs, this nation is still in deficit mode.

James Masi, an income strategist at Stifel Nicolaus & Co in Baltimore, Maryland, stated:

"The data are consistent with the view that the rate of contraction is slowing, but we are still working our way through a recession. We haven’t hit a bottom yet."

One of the negative by-products of the recession is the increase in homelessness. In some cases, the increase is in double digits.

A recent news article from Tampa Bay Weekly, said that the numbers of homeless in Pinellas County Florida had increase overall by 20 percent from just a year ago with,

"… an 82.7 percent increase in unsheltered homeless individuals and families, and a startling 108 percent increase in unsheltered and sheltered children under the age of 18 years.

The survey indicates that St. Petersburg has the largest homeless population at 45.8 percent with Clearwater second at 10.3 percent."

The article also pointed out that among the reasons for the increase, 86.3 percent of those who had become homeless recently were so due to "… loss of income, jobs and other financial reasons."

What I find sad is that historically we have done very little to provide for our nation’s homeless.

To be sure, there are shelters and drop in day centers for the homeless. But, these organizations and agencies have been woefully under funded – which allows them to offer only the most basic and meager of services.

We’ve spent decades ignoring the needs of the homeless. We’ve put off implementing the types of programs and services required to help them re-enter society. Consequently, now when the need is greatest, those who are finding themselves becoming homeless have no safety net to assist them – and it will cause them to remain homeless for longer periods of time. Some may never recover.

It’s anyone’s guess how long it will actually be before our economy is in full recovery.

Even if the economy did a full 180 turn about tomorrow morning, it’s still going be an uphill battle – especially for those who have become homeless due to the recession.

For them, picking up the pieces will be the battle of a lifetime.

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Comments
  1. AnAmerican says:

    From everything I have read about the creation of new jobs,the fastest growing job market is jobs at the minimum wage and unskilled jobs. It’s pretty tough to make ends meet on such salaries especially for families.
    Meanwhile, more skilled & educated workers are finding companies continue to make cutbacks and decrease employee benefits. It’s pretty clear that this recession is an equal opportunity crisis and for those of us who do have employment, I hope we see fit to reach out and help those who are not so fortunate in employment.

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