I am poor

I am poor.
I am currently on SNAP and MassHealth I am so poor.
I live in a very ghetto rundown area where I hear gunshots outside of my window several nights a week.
I’m afraid to go outside to go for a walk where I live.
I have been looking for almost two years for a better place with no luck.
So many other people are looking too, because there is nothing out there that’s not insanely overpriced.
And if you do by some miracle manage to find a reasonable rental, the competition is so fierce that you have almost no chance.
People are really struggling out there.
I know a lot of you don’t see it in your white suburban bubble but I’m here to tell you they are.
There are homeless people on nearly every major intersection around here begging with cardboard signs.
In my neighborhood every week a big box truck pulls up into an empty lot with food and supplies and people absolutely swarm it every time.
People in my building move out in the middle of the night with as much as they can smuggle out because they’re about to get evicted.
I’m one of the “lucky” ones around here, and that scares me.
I have never been behind on rent.
I have excellent credit, and pay everything on time.
And yet I don’t ever seem to make enough to save up to get out of this hole I’m in because the cost of everything just keeps going up up up for no reason except that the rich say so?
I also have a disability which affects my ability to get a job.
Employers don’t want to hire a hard of hearing person once they find out.
And I don’t have the qualifications on paper for a higher paying job because of this.
So, that means I have only one chance of getting out of this.
I have decided to go into business for myself.
I am working very hard to create a better life.
But I wish I could create a better world.
So many people just seem to look the other way when it comes to poverty.
Like, they don’t think it can happen to them.
I’m white, well dressed, well spoken.
I came from a decent family.
But somehow, here I am.
And you could be here too, if things had gone differently.
Maybe you don’t like to think about that, but it’s true.
In spite of everything I’m still proud of myself for everything I have managed to accomplish.
Considering where I came from and what I went through growing up, I’m doing a lot better than whatever my bank account reflects.
I don’t have any addictions.
I’ve never had a child out of wedlock.
I’ve never stayed with an abusive man for any longer than it took him to reveal himself to me.
But right now, I need help.
If that’s wrong, then I don’t understand why.
I don’t need your prayers.
I don’t need your pity.
I definitely don’t need you to get mad at me for expressing my frustrations about all of this.
What I need is a safe place to live that’s not overpriced.
And not just me– so many people do right now.
People who maybe aren’t as articulate as me, and so are robbed of a voice as they continue to get pummeled on all sides.
But I want to help change that by speaking out about this.
Because it’s just not right that there is so little affordable housing out there these days.
That people can work a full-time job at double the national minimum wage and still not make enough to afford rent.
And for those of you who may think this is some sort of moral failing on my part?
That there must be something wrong with me for not pulling myself up by my bootstraps?
That I just need to work harder, do more?
So, what more do you want me to do here?
When every time I try to dig myself out of it they shift the goalposts just that little bit more?
And things become just that little bit more out of reach?
Because that’s how it is these days, everyone blames the poor, and for what?

For continuing to lose this sadistic game of musical chairs we’re all playing when there is enough for everyone in this country to have a decent quality of life?
While you continue to vilify the poor, all around us the rich continue silently lining their pockets with ever more profit.
And how exactly is such unbridled greed in the face of such rampant poverty making this country great again, that’s what I want to know?
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