Monday, March 16, 2015

The Health of Poverty

There is not much to say about poverty that hasn’t been said before. It sucks. And most importantly, it is not usually caused by the person or persons it affects. It usually hits those who are older, or disabled, sick or has had the misfortune of employment. Or lack of it.
I’ve worked for over 20 years in homeless shelters and I’ve found that a good 90% are not lazy, weak or, in general bums living off of the government as some would imagine.  Poverty seems to strike those who have worked all of their lives and have fallen on hard times or have been stricken with disability or long-term disease. This always spells out becoming victim to government programs that are great in the temporary but never great in the long-haul. The old ideal that if we were good, followed the rules and went to college, then everything would go well and our lives would be blessed. Grimm’s Fairy Tales espouse more truth.
Be a person suffering from mental health issues and suffer through the act of being impoverished and this is a recipe for disaster.  Enter my eldest daughter, Jess. Unfortunately, she is the daughter of not just one but two baby boomer parents who are are victims of that long-ago fairy tale. Disabled, retirement age unable to find work because the world has condemned us for our age.  If that wasn’t enough, my beautiful adult child is the victim herself of autism, bipolar disorder and a bureaucracy that would rather hide her from the world than deal with the fact that one out of every 112 have autism.
So here we sit. A beautiful woman who is about 5’7, strong as an ox and aggressively violent when she is in her manic period. We’ve had to wait 2 years for her Medicare to kick in only to find out we have to wait until June to use it AND wait three months to be able to get an appointment to see a psychiatrist to give her an official eval.  We have insurance via ObamaCare but can’t use it because the deductible is too high.
Meanwhile, she rages on against her sister, her diabetic father and myself, who can barely walk across the room without stumbling in pain. She stands in the yard and screams that we’re killing her while we stand inside and watch and wonder which neighbor will call the police first. She kicks holes in doors, and punches the wall while I look for new places to hide the steak knives.
And we wait, and pray for help, and hope that she doesn’t go off because there are no pickles in the cupboards, or I ask her to take out the trash or do the dishes. And all the while the government plays chess with our lives.
Yes, there is a health to poverty. Unfortunately it’s heartbeat is slow and approaching a stroke at any moment.


  1. you might want to read this

  2. Thank you and I have. Not a big believer in sites like The Gawker nor in everything that comes out of the mouth of 'babes'.



The Castle Part 2 “Walk with me” The elderly gentleman extended his hand to the young Victoria. She turned to see the attendants...