Welcome and thank you for taking to time explore with me the serious problem of the hidden poor.
This subject is going to require continued and in-depth coverage, because it seems pretty clear to me that there is an epidemic affecting our communities. I can virtually guarantee that everyone now reading these words is either in this category right now or has a friend, family member, or neighbor right now struggling to keep themselves afloat.
Hopefully we can help raise awareness, stir empathy, shed stigma, debunk stereotypes, and ultimately affect positive change in real homes around our communities and beyond.
Many are living desperately close to the edge, scraping from paycheck to paycheck, not knowing from day to day if they will, in fact, make it. And if they do survive the month, there is not respite. The next month-long fight begins immediately.
What is the problem we are talking about? What is the hidden poor?
At this stage of the series, I have not conducted any formal research into this. I plan to and I invite feedback and input from any and all readers. But I have eyes, and I have personal experience. We surely will dig into the data and statistics, discuss systemic and governmental catalysts, and I’m sure we can whip up a handful of colorful charts and infographics. For now, I’d like to keep it at “ground level”.
For now, I’d like to keep it at “ground level”.
I don’t need a team of researchers to assure you of this desperate issue. I could (and will later in the series) tell you about my personal experiences. I’m not ready yet to share that – and that is part of the problem, isn’t it? Embarrassment, shame, feelings of failure… These are not easily salved.
One does not need first-hand knowledge to recognize the obvious external signs.
None of us can drive more than a few blocks in any direction without passing a dollar store (which is always packed) or a pay day lending franchise.
Regular people are being squeezed financially on every front. Once you find yourself with no savings and getting a little further behind each month, what happens when the fridge breaks? What happens when the truck’s brakes need replacing? What happens if you lose your job or your hours get cut? Where does the money come from when you are tapped out and already behind on key bills? When you are already existing on the very basics at the grocery store (when you can buy groceries at all)?
What options, if any, does one have at that point?