One Step Closer to Independence
We see them everywhere... part of the urban landscape. Dark ill-fitting clothes, shoes coated with dirt, much in need of a haircut. Mostly men.
Some are poor because of bad decisions, bad choices. But most are in this impoverished state because of circumstances they did not create. Many carry illness with them, along with job loss and no real chance for adequate employment. Some have never had access to quality education or the support to succeed.
After 30 years of marriage to a parish minister, I am aware that most families have someone whose life is very difficult.
In our family, my younger brother can resemble a homeless person. He suffers from schizophrenia and very poor physical health.
Because of his illnesses, he is unable to keep a job and lives on a monthly Social Security disability benefit called Supplemental Security Income (SSI) of $639 and $68 in food stamps – Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Can any of us imagine living on $707 a month?
Each month, Greg and I supplement his income with a cashier’s check and gift cards. We bought him a car so he can get to the grocery store and doctor’s appointments. He currently lives in New Mexico, and we hope he will consider moving closer to us.
What amazes me and inspires me is seeing how the very poor get up and manage to keep going day after day. In Delaware, in 2010, there were officially 471 homeless people in emergency and transition shelters. But we know that there are more unofficial unreported individuals.
When I work at Emmanuel Dining Room or Code Purple or Sojourners’ Place, I feel as though I am helping someone who could be my brother.
– Camilla Jones