Tuesday, May 20, 2008

sign of the times

CNN is running a story today about (mostly middle-aged) women in Santa Barbara, CA who are living in their cars. These women have lost their homes for various reasons and even though most of them have jobs (ironically enough, one woman is actually a mortgage processor) it is not enough for them to afford a place to live.

The city of Santa Barbara has opened up parking lots for "women only" to let them sleep in their cars from 7PM to 7AM. There are no bathroom facilities available but it is a safe area that is gated off at night and they can sleep there without anybody bothering them. Other cities around the country are actually looking into having a program like this as well.

While I applaud the city of Santa Barbara for doing something to help these women, I know the people we see are just a small fraction of the homeless people who are actually out there and go largely unnoticed around the country. I can't help but think there has to be a better way to help these people besides allowing them a place to sleep without being arrested or murdered, but not giving them anything more to just get back on their feet.

Unlike most homeless people in this country, these women don't seem to be addicted to drugs or suffering from mental illness, but rather they seem like you and me. This really is something that can happen to anyone; anyone without perfect planning for the future or with a run of bad luck. We all need to be constantly on the alert, always thinking about the future. Chris and I have recently begun seriously putting money away for the future and paying off credit cards and student loans and only paying with cash and all those things Suze Ormand and others tell you to do but this gives me a new appreciation for the fact that I have the opportunity and the ability to do that. Some people live paycheck-to-paycheck and if they get sick or injured or fired, within weeks, they could just lose everything.
I really don't have and answer, but the government can't just ignore this because the way the economy is going, there is only going to be more of this in the next few months and years.

(*deep breaths*)And now, I am going to go give my dog a bath. That always makes me feel better. The rant is over.

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