Was Hands Across America a success? Yes and no. Yes, for those who can placate their consciences by paying $10 to hold hands and sing for 10 minutes. The participants got to feel good, but I don't. Next week I, too, will be homeless.
Why am I becoming one of the homeless and hungry? I am one of the ignorant ones that our President was refering to. Sure, I receive food stamps while trying to live on $268 monthly, but those benefits were reduced when I lost my phone service because I couldn't pay the bill; $268 doesn't stretch to pay rent and utilities no matter how frugally I live.
Reduced housing costs, such as lost phone service or shut-off utilities, results in reduced food stamp benefits regardless of the continuing financial obligations. Cash aid? The Department of Public Social Services has told me that I am now getting more from state disability benefits than I would on general relief. At this point I am ignorant of where to turn for help after exhausting all known contacts with public service agencies and I am resourceful at ferreting out possible referral sources.
Where am I going? I have no idea. Were I a recovering addict/alcoholic, a battered woman, a mother with dependent children, or disabled "enough" I might find temporary emergency shelter or qualify for subsidized housing. I'll probably lose the rest of my food stamp benefits as soon as I'm on the streets because, in theory, I'll no longer have housing costs.