181. Looking Out for Each Other

It’s hard to ignore the fact that this country is facing difficult economic times. While the Presidential candidates focus on the need for change in this country, it’s all too easy to forget that it is up to individuals like you and I to also make changes in how we look out for other Americans. 

Recent statistics show the true profile of our economy:

  • The number of jobs with pay below the poverty threshold increased to 29.4 million, or 22 percent of all jobs, in 2006 from 24.7 million, or 19 percent of all jobs, in 2002.
  • The number of low-income families rose to nearly 9.6 million, or 28 percent of the total population, in 2006 from 9.2 million, or roughly 27 percent, in 2002, according to the report. The number of children in low-income families rose by roughly 800,000 during the same period, climbing to 21 million from 20.2 million.


“The real surprising news, the alarming news, is that both the number and percentage of low-income families increased during this period,” said Brandon Roberts, co-author of the report. “This was a time when we had solid and robust economic growth.” (CBS News: Working Poor on The Rise)


 Jobs that pay wages at the poverty level (<$42,228 for a family of four) and the lack of affordable housing , added with the recent foreclosure crisis makes for the unfortunate combination of Americans who find themselves homeless. Over 1/4 of all Americans are at the poverty level of wages !Many  of our nations’ homeless population are hard working citizens who simply can’t make a living in the current economic climate.

While the government is bailing out financial companies and CEOs have golden parachutes to pad their falls ,who is looking out for Americans who find themselves homeless? There is certainly scant news about this group of Americans in the media lately. Not enough government funding has be allocated to crisis services for the rise in the homeless population. Shelters throughout the country are reporting a sharp rise in people who seek shelter services . Sadly most shelters don’t have enough beds for all those in need.

One group of Americans has decided to make some changes in regards to looking out for the homeless veterans of our country. The LaFlamme-Kusek American Legion Post in Connecticut has decided to look out for their very own by applying for a state loan that would provide housing and supportive services for homeless veterans.  Sadly, The VA has not been able to step up and take care of our veterans  in a way that significantly gets our veterans off the streets and into housing and gainful employment. It seems that once again our government has not been focused on the true victims of the current economic crisis.

Society should help all homeless persons. But we have a special obligation to veterans, especially those who suffer homelessness because of service-related disabilities such as post-traumatic stress disorder. The 167 members of LaFlamme-Kusek American Legion Post were trained not to leave wounded comrades on the battlefield. They are keeping the same faith by bringing fellow veterans in from the cold.


Changing our focus to doing the right thing for all our homeless citizens isn’t a top priority of our current goverment  but it can be a priorty for individuals, communities and organization. Looking out for each other is simply the right thing to do for America.


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