Poor and homeless Americans - how do they live?
Categories: North AmericaBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/article/poor-and-homeless-americans-how-do-they-live.html
Life in America is strikingly different from Russian. Of course, Americans incur expenses many times greater - elementary, food costs much more. But their incomes are much higher, as well as the level of social security. I propose to look at the conditions in which the poor and poor Americans live.
(Total 21 photos)
The poverty line in the US is $11,490 per year for one person, $15,510 for two, $19,530 for three, $23,550 for a family of four. It is immediately evident that the income that is considered the poverty level in the United States is higher than the average salary in Russia. Well, it is worth noting that people below the poverty level in the United States do not pay any taxes, while recipients of the average salary in Russia pay 13% of their salary. Well, the average Russian spends half of his salary on food, while this poor American gets food for free (the state gives a bank card to which money is transferred every month to buy food). Heating and electricity are subsidized. Well, medical care for poor Americans is free, and better in quality than in Russia. Well, the general price level in the US is lower than in Russia (with the exception of bread, which is still cheaper in the Russian Federation). This is such a lyrical digression about the relativity of the concept of "poverty," which explains why the American poor and unemployed do not queue at the embassy of Russia or other countries.
What is the portrait of a very poor American? 1. People with mental disabilities. There is no forced treatment here, and if a person has serious mental disorders, and there is no support from relatives, then most likely he will be very poor (and probably homeless). 2. People with addiction to drugs and alcohol. Well, everything is clear here, and it is difficult for them to find a job, and the money they earn is quickly spent. 3. Single mothers, without education, and without family support. In such a situation, it is very difficult for a mother to find a job that pays enough to pay for kindergarten and lift this family out of poverty. There are government support programs, but as a rule, many of these mothers are too irresponsible to use them effectively. 4. Older people who did not work / save enough to receive a normal pension. Many elderly immigrants from Russia who come to the United States at an advanced age fall into this category. 5. Prisoners who are released from prison. It is difficult for them to find a normal job.
These Americans make up 10 to 15% of the population, and they make up the vast majority of the poor. I do not include illegal immigrants here, because they usually work and earn enough not to be poor.
We will write separately about the homeless. Most of the homeless are poor (although there are also quite wealthy homeless, ideological ones), but far from all the poor are homeless. By the way, in the US, being homeless doesn't mean you don't have a roof over your head. There are many homeless people in the US, but most homeless people don't live on the streets. Most live either in hotels (provided by the state), or in temporary apartments (provided by the state, especially families with children), or in temporary shelters for the homeless, or with friends, or at worst in their cars. Those who live on the streets tend to be mentally ill and/or addicted to alcohol/drugs. Moreover, each of them receives almost automatically $200 for food and $710 in cash.
For example, here are photos of a typical homeless shelter. The shelter is funded by both the government and private charities. Up to 800 people can live in this shelter, and they have a medical and dental clinic, a psychiatrist, conference rooms, a church, a cafeteria, a kindergarten, a basketball court, and even a pet shelter.
1. Bedroom. For families
2. Bathroom adapted for the disabled
4. Shelter for dogs (after all, a homeless person can have pets)
7. Medical Center
8. Yard and basketball court
9. Outside view
10. Shared bedroom, for people without a family
But back to those who are not homeless, but simply poor. How do they live? Here is a recent example that I came across. A family of Cuban immigrants who hardly speak English at all. Husband - receives $710 disability benefits. The wife receives about $1,000 in disability benefits. In fact, they are both able-bodied, but they simply do not want to work, and they are satisfied with receiving benefits. Therefore, they feign disability, say that they have severe depression and cannot work. In order not to reduce the amount of benefits, they are officially divorced. In addition, they receive about $ 250 food stamps, sometimes there are occasional part-time jobs, $ 100-200 a month, and they also rent out an extension to their house for $ 450 a month. Also, the state pays for their mobile phones, and partly for their electricity. In total, they receive about $2,500 doing nothing and sitting at home all day. Their medical care is free. They don't pay any taxes, of course.
They live in a house with an area of about 120 meters, with a fairly large plot of land on which several fruit trees grow - mangoes, avocados, and coconuts. In their house, there are two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen, an office, a patio with a canopy. The truth is, they have a problem with the fact that they're paying a $1,050 mortgage on this house. The thing is, they bought the house 10 years ago for $100K, and in 2006, when the price of the house went up, they did a semi-large "cash-in refinancing." This is when the bank lends you more than you owed on your previous mortgage. So they took $30K of money out of the house and spent it on trips to the Dominican Republic and their native Cuba and a new $25,000 Nissan Murano. True, now they are paying for their frivolity, and they pay quite a lot for their house.
In an additional annex to their house lives a young woman who recently arrived illegally from a country with an almost victorious revolution - Venezuela. This extension is a studio, approximately 35 square meters, with a separate entrance, a bathroom, and a small kitchen. I don’t know anything about the woman in detail, but I was told that she goes to work at night, and sometimes returns from work in the morning. Therefore, I suspect that she works in the service industry. This woman is now pregnant. When she gives birth, she will join the lists of the poor, because it will be quite difficult for her to continue working with such a work schedule. Or maybe she'll give him up for adoption, who knows. By the way, pregnant illegal immigrants have free medical care, free childbirth, and after birth they will also receive money for food, and how much money there is in cash for life. And the child will be an American citizen - also likely to be poor for life.
And finally, a few more photos from poor areas.
14. Poor houses always have a lot of cars parked. Because many people live in the same house.
16. Police on duty at the intersection
17. 5 old cars near the same house, a sure sign of a bad neighborhood
20. And here is the trailer park.