Wednesday, October 5, 2016

"A THIRD OF THE HOMELESS PEOPLE IN AMERICA ARE OVER 50. I'M ONE OF THEM."

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Several days ago I read an important article on Vox about the increase in older people who are homeless. You can find it here: https://goo.gl/w94bEM


In case you don't have time to read the article, although I recommend making time, I'll sum it up for you: CeciliaSue Hecht experienced a series of losses and economic setbacks that led her to live in her car with her dog, Cici. They've been homeless for two years. Cecilia Sue is 66, has a college education, gets writing gigs and PR work when she can, but the economic hardships in the United States have had a severe effect on her ability to earn a living. She has also developed health problems.

CeciliaSue blogs at Have dog blog will travel, where you can see a photo of her boon companion, Cici.

CeciliaSue's story made its way to my heart and soul where it grabbed me and asked, What are you going to do about this?

My concern wouldn't let go, probably because homelessness is one of my greatest fears. Before my then husband served me with divorce papers, he sent me an email that said he fully expected to support me for one year.

One year? I'd be on the street in one year because I can't earn enough money to support myself. I was terrified to the point that I broke down and could barely function. I saw my doctor, who told me, No, Janie. Your husband will have to support you for the rest of your life.

So far, between maintenance (the new word for alimony), editing, and careful use of my funds, I'm okay. I have a small, comfortable house. I pray to God that I never lose my home.

After I read the Vox article, I became a follower of Have dog blog will travel, where I learned that a "YOUCARING" fund has been set up in an attempt to raise $10,000 for CeciliaSue and Cici. As of Tuesday, October 4, at 9 p.m., $2,385 has been donated at  https://www.youcaring.com/celiasue-hecht-594952.

How could I help? How much could I give? I go on a fun outing about once a year. During September, I saw Brian Wilson in concert. I took the amount I spent on the tickets added to the cost of gas and parking and eating dinner before the concert. That gave me the amount I could and should donate.

I have done so.

I won't ask you to make a donation. Perhaps you don't have money to spare. You probably support charities in your own communities.

But I've made you aware of CeciliaSue and Cici. Their situation provides us all with the opportunity to decide to make a difference.

If you can't donate money, then perhaps you have something else you can give, such as a job, your prayers, your good wishes, and publicizing the fundraising effort.

I hope you'll hold CeciliaSue and Cici in your hearts.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

38 comments:

  1. This is sad and I had a client who was also living out of her car...a Lexus! She was married and was used to the high life. She could have had a place from the funds she was receiving but she was so used to her former life, she could not adjust. She was still paying $1,200 per month for the car. I knew that her situation needed to change and she needed to talk to a counsellor. I still think about her and hope she is ok. She cleaned herself up at the gas stations or the mall. She would go to make up places in Sears or The Bay to put make up on. It was very sad. I hope this lady finds the funds to get off the street. I hope she can get onto a housing list and has enough to eat. I follow a blog where this lady helps the homeless and asks for donations of anything knitted plus toiletries, socks etc... she has many wonderful people who have knitted things like hats, mitts and scarves to afghans and it all goes to the homeless.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. It's difficult to make a dramatic lifestyle adjustments. Donating knitted items is great.

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  2. What a sad article. So many people/families are one paycheck away from being homeless.
    Jobs and whole companies are being sent to Mexico, India, Indonesia and China. Jobs are being given to illegals and paid under the table.
    My Mum was suppose to live on $400 a month I think it might have been lower. But if you are an illegal who has a baby in Arizona you get anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000. a months in food stamps, aid to dependent children and section 8 housing + The more children they have the more money and all without fathers !
    I too am divorced. I watch my savings. I am lucky and own my car and home. But I also don't have 30 jeans and 100 pairs of shoes. I am ill and fairly housebound. I live very simple.

    This could have been me.

    I couldn't find the donate button.
    cheers, parsnip

    ReplyDelete
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    1. https://www.youcaring.com/celiasue-hecht-594952

      This link is in my post. It's where you can donate.

      It's not just illegals who get paid under the table. That method of payment seems to be more common now. Or at least I've learned more about it.

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  3. Hi Janie - it's good we can still donate even a small amount ... I know I do. Helping out, keeping a positive outlook always helps and helps others .. all the best - Hilary

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    1. It means a lot to me to help someone, and I see it as an important responsibility as a citizen of the world.

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  4. hope God softens the heart of people around her and she gets herself a shelter

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    1. Currently, she has a place to stay in a trailer, but there's no running water. CeciliaSue and Cici need and deserve a real home.

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  5. After a 30 year traditional marriage, damn right you were entitled to more than just a year of maintenance. Glad you didn't let your ex get away with that nonsense.

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    1. My doctor and my lawyer didn't let him get away with it. I would have rolled over and died without help.

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  6. I can't imagine being homeless tho I almost was once when I couldn't find a place to rent I could afford. That's one of the problems about our (US) welfare system; it helps too many people who don't really need it and doesn't help so many of those that really do. You are a saint for giving up your fun thing to help this woman.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I didn't mean to give the impression that I gave up my night out. I went to see Brian Wilson during September. That was my one big event for the year. I donated the same amount that I spent on my night out. It seemed right to me. If I can spend the money to go out to dinner and to a concert, then I can use the same amount to help someone else.

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  7. I will be reading the article later today when time permits me to give it my full attention but I will jot down a few quick thoughts before I run out the door this morning.

    I think many people wrongfully assume that they are exempt from being homeless. The reality is that given the right circumstances anyone can become homeless. Even the very wealthy wouldn't be immune given the right set of circumstances the would tank their investments. Sadly the non-wealthy are far more susceptible. I worry a lot about the cost of living and the minimal reserves that the general population has. My years in banking and my years managing the unemployment office both were eye openers at how vulnerable people can be.

    My heart breaks for those that are put in positions that are either out of their control or they don't have the resources to get things under control As a society I think we could and should be doing better job to house the homeless, feed the hungry and generally improve the plight of those that need a helping hand.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. You're right, Cheryl. Losing everything can happen to anyone. CeciliaSue has carried on in the best way she can.

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  8. I too, came close to being homeless with a 2 year old. My ex took everything and walked. He even took our only car but left me with the payment. I was trying to keep a roof over our heads and pay lawyers so that I wouldn't lose my daughter. You can go from a small but good life to nothing in the blink of an eye. I think that is why I am ever so careful and so grateful for everything that I have.
    What's the old saying, what doesn't kill us makes us stronger. Or is it makes us drink? Not sure on that one, ;p

    ReplyDelete
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    1. That's scary, Sonya Ann. I watch every penny.

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  9. I just read about an 82-year old woman who lives in her car in a Costco parking lot. Most European countries have some sort of safety net for the elderly. I thought we did too, but I guess the holes in the net are to big and too many fall through. This makes me angry.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. U.S. safety nets have big holes in them.

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  10. I don't often think about how lucky I am to always have had food & shelter--you better believe I made a donation!!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I knew you would and knowing that you would makes me cry because I'm so grateful to know you.

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  11. That is so sad. And the thing is it can happen easily to anyone.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Hurricane Homeless can change its trajectory at any time, as Matthew has done. Now he's supposed to head up the Florida coast. We have mandatory evacuations for everyone who lives within a mile of the coast. Friday night is supposed to be the worst.

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  12. Dagan's Dad threw ten dollars at me as he told me I was the stone around his neck. I know he did it because he totally believed the doctors and expected Dagan to die and couldn't handle it--but there I was with a very sick 9 month old baby that needed 24 hr care so I couldn't work--had nothing--didn't even know how to drive. My folks helped me out. I got a very cheap apartment and had to go on welfare.

    But in order to get help you have to already have nothing. All these decades later I could get help after health problems caused me to lose everything--even my car (yes I learned to drive when I was 30--LOL!) But on disability I could only get the amount from SS that I would have gotten based on how much I had earned in my lifetime...and I couldn't work for years with a life-and-death sick child, had no college, and made minimum wage when I did work. If I didn't get help from federal housing I wouldn't have had enough to rent an apartment. I am so grateful for the help I can't even begin to express it. (I lived on the street for a summer as a teenager with everything I owned in a shoulder bag, so I know what it is like to have no roof over your head and not even a car to sleep in with doors to lock.)

    I totally believe more of the older population can be ending up homeless because, in general, nobody likes to hire or keep people over 50 anymore. So they are lucky to get a minimum wage job sometimes even with a college education. The surprising thing to many people is the percentage of homeless people and families where they are working jobs but can't make enough to even rent a place to live. All it takes is a serious health issue in this country and you can lose everything you own...and how many people are living alone. That is on the rise, too. Sorry to babble--this is an issue close to my heart, as you know. (Which is why the trivia complainers in this senior complex drive me up the wall--ROFL!!) I am so grateful to be here that it can bring me to tears just thinking about how close I came to being on the street again...and not as a healthy young teenager...and still no car.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. You're not babbling. You bring personal experience to the topic of assistance--or the lack of it--in the U.S. I can see that the number of older people living alone is on the rise based on my situation and what I see throughout my neighborhood. I won't get much money from Social Security because I worked so little and earned so little (I qualify for part of X's SS, though). Why doesn't childcare allow us to qualify for Social Security? It's not right.

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  13. I think it is sad that there are so many homeless people not just in America but all over the world

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    1. Yes, it's a worldwide problem. It could be solved in the U.S. by renovating abandoned buildings, but we have people like Donald Trump who think the homeless are lazy slobs.

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  14. Donation made! Thank you for sharing this. We always try to help when we can and I'm glad we found saw your blog post today.

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    1. God bless you. The fund is up to $2,530.

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  15. What a sad story. Homelessness is a crime against humanity. No one should ever have to live that way.

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    1. Absolutely, Martha. The U.S. can end homelessness but refuses to do it.

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  16. Thank you for sharing this story. I'm going to pay her a visit now. Love to you both.

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  17. You are a good person to make us all aware of this lady and her situation. It's so sad that there are many like her.

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  18. This is one of my bigger fears as well. Without court ordered, hard fought and sometimes unpredictable help from my ex, me and the kids won't make it. Despite working multiple jobs and not living a luxurious lifestyle, I go to be every night with money worries. Thank you for sharing this article with everyone. More people need to understand how easily this happens

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  19. This is something I think of frequently since I'm one of those who could be a short few steps away from dire financial circumstances. Probably a lot of folks my age made the same mistake financially speaking that I did and now have no savings or retirement program other than social security.

    Fortunately my wife still has a good income with benefits--she made wiser career choices than I did--but if anything happened to what she has then we would be facing some real problems. Hopefully, things will continue okay for us as long as her pension plan doesn't go bust or have any severe cuts made to it.

    Things are getting scary for those over 60 (well actually for everyone) and this generation has much larger numbers of aging citizens than the generations before us. This is likely to be a major issue in coming years. It already is.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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    1. I'm glad your wife has a good income. Pension plans are not reliable these days. It's sad and unfair.

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