DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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18 October 2008

Poverty

I got back from the conference a little earlier today and have since caught up with a bit of sleep on the couch. It's a different world out there! I'm happy to be home again with Hanno.

Last week, a day was set aside by some bloggers to write about world poverty. I didn't write anything on that day because I was at a conference discussing the problems that poverty invariably bring to those living in those circumstances. The conference link is here. I found fifty percent of the presentations and workshops I attended to be very helpful. I also made very good contacts and hope to have a No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS) operating very soon at the centre I volunteer at.

I also talked to some specialist workers fairly close to our Centre who work solely with the homeless. Our homelessness problem is increasing and I'm sad and a bit ashamed to say that, at the moment, there isn't anything we can do for those people who come to us for help. There is no where to send them - no emergency housing available, no short term fixes, no long term ones either. I hope the current government comes up with a solution quickly. There is a quote, I forget by whom, that says something like the strength and worth of a country is judged by the way they treat their poor. Australia is usually a benevolent country but we are falling far below our own standards in this area.

I'm pleased to tell you all that the Simple Green Frugal Co-op is going really well and already has a readership of over 2000 people a day. I'm hope that, with the other writers, we build up a site that helps people move easily towards a simpler kind of life. Enjoy your weekend. :- )


14 comments:

  1. I'm so glad there are people like you in this world who truly want to do something to help others who are less fortunate.

    A no interest loan scheme would have helped me tremendously while I was living in poverty (poverty by UK standards - not enough food for the family, inadequate clothing/heating/lighting etc). I spent 6 months waiting for the benefits agency (welfare) to come through with financial help and although I received back-pay, it didn't help us during the time we were struggling. A short-term no interest loan would have been the perfect solution in the meantime.

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  2. Would someone leave a post as to what caused their poverty. I think it is important for people to understand that it isn't waste that causes poverty. I believe there is a misconseption about the causes. When living at a poverty level income mine was caused by divorce planned and calculated by the man I loved. He began making a lot of money and was putting it aside it became such a large amount that he did not want to share it with me. (I learned this later) He was emotionally abusive and worked for years to cause me to fear him. I was happy to get away from all that and yet struggled to make it. We are fine now but the poverty level income was not because I was wasteful.

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  3. Hi Rhonda, we run a NILS scheme from our NFP organisation. If you ever want any copies of our hand outs etc let me know. I will email our work link for our website if you wish, you will find more info there
    Blessings:)

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  4. It's not much better here in the U.S. either.
    When my husband suffered a stroke and a brain aneurysm last October, we were fortunate enough to have some money to live on for a while. But when it got to the point that we needed help from the state outside of them providing food stamps and a small cash allowance (as in help paying utility bills, rental assistance, etc.), it was all up to me to find the help. I was given a 50+ page handout full of agencies and phone numbers, and I can tell you---I spent hours calling different places and found very little help.
    Most of these agencies listed either had no money left, no longer helped, weren't supposed to be on the list in the first place, or simply referred you to other agencies. It was a very humbling experience, but I can tell you, I spent most days in tears because finding help was next to impossible.
    Help with paying rent or finding low-income housing was even worse. The waiting lists were filled at least 6 months out, and the housing that I did find, cost more than the state was giving us in cash assistance. Only by the grace of God did I find a number for the place we're in now, or we (myself, my husband and 5 kids) would have been living on the street.
    Politicians talk about the homeless situation a lot, but not much gets done. Budgets get cut, funding gets cut, people get lost in a sea of paperwork. It's sad, it's frustrating, and it can be very demeaning.
    If the saying holds true, that the strength and worth of a country is judged by the way they treat their poor, then this country is in BAD shape.

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  5. Hi RHonda Jean,
    Our Homeless Pop. is growing also!
    THe economy as everyone knows is horrible here. THere's more Women and Children and Families homeless. Dur to loss of Jobs, losing their homes. Horrible!
    There's a horrible misconseption they are there by choice.:o( Our shelters are full.
    We can take food, blankets, socks, coats etc. and drop off ,which is good. THere still needs to be more help offered!Short and Long term!
    HAve a great wk.end!
    Blessins',Lib

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  6. It seems to me that the churches should be stepping forward and helping with this problem, rather than just sloughing it all off on the government.

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  7. In Ohio we have not any NILS but we have passed a law to stop predatory payday lenders who charge more than 300% a year. And a lot of poor people are angry that this has been stopped. I don't think enough realize how this snowballs into a mountain of debt, or how costly it is. I hope the next administration will help more to assist people in poverty and lift them out of it. Globalization certainly hasn't worked out the way the people who were pushing it said it would. Not anywhere, really. We all need to try to help in our own areas, and your work is really very inspiring.

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  8. Rhonda...
    you've made a typo that is actually funny (in a creepy sort of way.) Instead of '...treat our poor' you've written '...threat our poor.'
    As if they haven't got enough to deal with without being bullied as well!!

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  9. oh dear, frogdancer, thanks for pointing that out. I've fixed it. :- O

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  10. molly, that would be wonderful. I'd like more information from places operating this scheme successfully. Thank you!

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  11. The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.
    -- Fyodor Dostoyevsky

    And how the society treats its poor, I suppose, as well. I work for nonprofit community mental health and in twenty years have not seen so many homeless and about to be homeless. People are getting their utilities turned off in record numbers. I tell you, it's darn silly to even entertain the thought that I can help these folks with depression when they don't even have a roof over their heads. I consider these needs to be "rights" in a civilized society. Religious organizations providing charity are not the answer to this problem.

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  12. It is sad and many here in the USA who are turning to the church food banks are finding less or no food as people are not giving as they have in the past.

    Really sad and really scary to see the state of things.

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  13. The state of our economy (in the US) has been a wake up call for our family to become more self-sufficient, to cut costs, and to find ways to invest for the "unknown." I think it's vitally important for folks to be vigilent in their responsibility to do these things with their own finances. Hoping the government will help out, as noted by a few commenters, will leave us disappointed and frustrated.

    I used to feed the homeless in NYC and we definitely met folks who, by no direct fault of their own, were homeless. However, many of them were homeless because they just didn't want to have a job or had substance abuse problems. Some of these folks would refuse food because they only wanted cash to buy alcohol, drugs, etc. Very sad...I think there needs to be a process for folks, who truly want to work, to find a job, housing, etc. but it's a slippery slope when we start involving too many government "programs" because they will eventually also help those who are simply looking for an easy handout.

    And I agree that charity starts at home (and the church). Nothing was greater blessing than when a bunch of us went out once a week to walk the streets of NYC to feed and minister to the homeless. May we all, who are able, be willing to share what we have with those in need.

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  14. I'm in the "in-betweener" situation. We live simply, no cell phones, lawn garden and farm produce and re-used tin foil. We live this way by choice. Technically we'd have plenty of money if I went off to work full-time and sent our very bright, ADHD son to get medicated in public school. Unfortunately factors in most workplaces make me physically quite ill and I'd end up on medication too... sick, stressed, and unhappy, but we'd have more in the bank!

    How else might we have a lot more in the bank? Technically our "federal income tax bracket" is around 5%, but once you add up all the charged-extra social programs (Medicare, medicaid, Soc Security, state income, etc.) we lose a full 20% of our paycheck to the government, and that's just off the top... not counting any sales tax, auto registration, and other bureaucracies.

    As a result, we have nothing in the bank to fill the oil tank for the winter, and we make (I am NOT KIDDING) $500/year over the amount we'd have to make for fuel assistance.

    We're going to try a nonprofit organization just to get the oil tank filled. Just for this year. Hopefully we'll make it through the winter without major car repairs and can fill it ourselves the next time. Usually we're able to make ends meet with enough stretch to save just a little, but the oil prices did us in this summer.

    Hopefully the next politician won't raise our government 'contributions' in order to give out more goodies to people who already live at a higher standard than we do. We gladly give when we can, but it's usually what we can afford to give... suppers, time spent cleaning/fixing, etc.

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