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New Face of Homelessness aka Economy Sucks Journal #2 2.7.09

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Darlene and Jacob.  Teddy.  Craig and Margie.  All are the new faces of poverty.  Six months ago each had jobs, homes and middle class incomes to support themselves and their families.  Now two families are homeless and the other teeters on the brink.  Their falls have been fast and hard.  Darlene has a college degree and worked in the mortgage industry until October.  Her husband Jacob was a tree trimmer.  They made over $65,000 a year and at one time lived in a five bedroom home.  Now they bounce from shelter to shelter with three children.  They have each other and hope.  That’s about it.

Teddy lost his job as a machine operator before Thanksgiving.  This single dad is living in his father’s house now and was unable to afford his medical expenses when he recently broke two ribs.  All he wants is work.  Craig used to look at homeless people and say “get a job.”  Then he lost his supervisor position at a shopping mall before Christmas.  He had just returned from a training course in California.  He got stiffed by his employer for the expense money.  Now he sleeps under the railroad tracks and his fiancee, Margie, is in a shelter.  They sell the Homeless Voice newspaper on the 16th Street Mall to survive.  People walk by them as though they are invisible.  Craig’s feet are covered with blisters from walking everywhere.  Margie worries about Craig’s safety everytime she says goodnight to him.  Now when he sees worse off homeless people he sometimes takes them leftover food or a smoke.  He doesn’t view them the same way.

They say many of us are one paycheck or one crisis away from homelessness.  As more and more people lose their jobs, their insurance and their homes, the face of homelessness is changing.  The folks at Colorado Coalition for the Homeless (www.coloradocoalition.org) say its a state of emergency.  The safety net is full of holes.  For Darlene, Jacob, Teddy, Craig and Margie it just sucks.

For more information on Vicky Collins visit http://teletrendstv.com

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Author: Vicky Collins

Vicky Collins is a freelance television producer and journalist based in Denver, Colorado with a diverse portfolio of projects that including network news, cable programming, Olympic sports, corporate and non-profit videos. She is also an accomplished writer and photographer who is particularly interested in world travel and issues of global poverty. Some of her most satisfying assignments have been covering disasters, working in the slums of developing countries and telling stories of people who show great courage in the face of adversity. She has been in all 50 states and on six continents and many of her television stories and photos are posted on her website at www.teletrendstv.com. To contact Vicky Collins directly email vicky@teletrendstv.com or tweet @vickycollins.

2 thoughts on “New Face of Homelessness aka Economy Sucks Journal #2 2.7.09

  1. Sad to here of there bad luck but the simple facts are that they were all living well beyond their means!

    Who really needs a 5 bed room house, 2 or more big new cars or trucks. Three or four television sets, cable and or direct TV with 100 channels,2 or more computers. Internet access in every room of the house. Cell phones for every member of the household.

    They mad poor decisions and are now paying for there lack of foresight and poor judgment.

  2. I agree there is alot of conspicuous consumption in America and we all should save and watch how we spend but I don’t think the reason these people fell into hardship was because they were living way out of their means. I think a cascade of calamity and no safety net brought them to their knees.

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