Real Poverty Right Here in the CBurg

EL limye billFebruary 18, 2013

I met with a client family who called for assistance yesterday. I have helped them fill out countless forms for social service assistance. I do not enjoy doing paperwork, but it’s a true need of the Haitian immigrant families I have the privilege to meet and know.

This family is in a constant struggle to meet basic needs. I call it the poverty cycle. Round and round they go–working for low wages, irregular hours, no health insurance, no credit, and no way to get off the spinning circle. It is *not* that this family will not work; it is that they do not have earning power. High school diplomas from their home nation mean nothing to local employers. So they get the most menial jobs, the ones no one else will do. If they can get the job in the first place.

This household includes a father and mother, an adult daughter and her toddler, an adult son, a teenage daughter, and three little girls. To house, feed and provide for all on limited incomes is impossible without help. So they seek food stamps and medical assistance.

Until last year, they qualified based on their income (with 3-4 people working). They still do qualify, but our local assistance office has gotten difficult to work with. I was shown a notice of decline yesterday for LiHeap (assistance for heating). See the attached bill. They cannot keep up. They are past due and have no funds to make it right before the next month’s bill is issued. The notice said they were denied for not providing two paystubs and a letter from another state that proved termination of unemployment benefits. It’s hard to understand. I personally scanned the documents and uploaded them to this family’s account. I can prove they were there before the due date. I recommended to this family that we call and set up an appointment. But this dear family said, “no more.” They believe the caseworker is against them.

So this family told me they are not eating regular meals. Additionally, they are $300 behind in rent this month. They were denied a credit card they sought to be able to buy groceries and pay their utility bills–the very basics. But because they have no health insurance, they have astronomical medical bills. It has destroyed their credit.

The wife/mother bowed her head in exhaustion and frustration. I tried to encourage her. I told her she was doing everything she could and to keep on. She really has no hope for things to get better. They just keep on surviving with what little they have while sinking further into the cycle of poverty that grips them.

They gave me the attached utility bill. This is my sincere appeal for others to join ACR in caring for this neediest of needy families. Together we can eradicate this one bill and provide a cart full of groceries. It will help, at least in the immediate. Can you help us? Please visit our giving page if you might.

THEIR NEED: $990.40 for the utility bill, $300.00 for food/rent= $1,290.40.

Thank you for your love for others.

For the children!

Kristie Fry,
Executive Director