I must say that now is not the time for someone with high blood pressure to be working in homecare. Between the misinformation and lack of knowledge some of my people have plus the actual knowledge of what may happen to them if the GOP default, I'm stressed. Very stressed.
Senior apartment buildings are HUD subsidized. The average rent for a 1 bedroom apartment in those buildings without heat or utilities is $550 per month. If you're a senior with a higher income, say from social security and maybe a pension you aren't subsidized very much unless you have high medical bills. Your rent might be around $350 to $400. You get a little bit towards your heat bill and your medical copays.
If you are someone with nothing but your social security check and it's small, say less than $900 per month you pay just under $200. HUD pays the balance, only HUD can't pay right now, nor will it be able to pay until this mess is straightened out. If this shutdown goes to default, HUD may be gone entirely which means these people MUST pay the full $550 or move.
You can forget moving into a cheaper apartment unless some slum lord who doesn't take care of anything including mice or roaches (they exist) takes pity on you and rents you a hovel for $400 to $500 range. That range will leave them $400 to $500 per month to live on. Since we are coming into the time of year where heat is needed, they can plan on paying close to $400 per month there.
The SNAP benefits they USED to have have been cut to $125 per month and will be gone with the default. For all but one of my clients, meals on wheels is a thing of the past, so they are relying on their caregivers to do the cooking they can't do and then portioning it out to be put in the freezer. They can put it in the microwave to reheat and at least have 1 hot meal a day. When you're over 80 and have serious health problems like congestive heart failure, stroke disability, or breathing difficulties, standing isn't quite as easy as it used to be. Walkers require two hands to operate, last time I looked, people didn't have any more than that. And if we default, the caregivers are gone since we're paid by what the Tea Party calls welfare.
We're talking 5 buildings full of these people or 500 to 600 seniors and disabled. There are also 3 senior buildings that aren't subsidized since those are higher income. Rents there are $750 per month which they can comfortably afford, but they too will be hurt since default means no income for them in a month or two. My problem is that the GOP has no idea who they're hurting and nothing in place to protect these people while they take down the government.
We all know the faces of those who game the system, they exist, but aren't nearly as widespread as the GOP and their supporters believe. The GOP keep saying that SNAP benefits have increased while our economy is improving. This is true, but when you were making 80K a year and now work for 35K a year, someone has to feed your kids.
I don't know any employer who hasn't advertised for help and gotten less than 2 to 3 hundred responses. Local job fairs have people lined up inside the buildings and some of them have spilled over to waiting outside. Most of these people aren't qualified to take the jobs they're so desperate to have, they just keep hoping that a prospective employer will look at what they can offer to the position if they're trained. Frankly there are disabled people who would love to have a chance at getting a job if they could be trained to do it.
I haven't worked for a client through the agency I work for that has had more than $1400 a month in income. They weren't employed when the minimum wage was too much higher than $4 an hour. Some of these people lost their homes and all their savings to catastrophic medical bills. All they have left is their Social Security check and whatever subsidies the amount of income they're left with make them eligible for. They aren't the problem, nor is the single mother in a low paying job who needs SNAP to feed her kids. The problem is the failure on the part of businesses who like the big bucks they can make through tax shelters and moving jobs overseas. And, has anyone taken a good look at how much money the Pentagon wastes? You should, it's appalling.
In addition to the planes that are being sent to Arizona to the boneyard because after buying them, nobody has a use for them, there's the 1 Trillion dollars spent by the Air Force on a computer system that had to be scrapped because it wouldn't work. Then there's the 34 million dollars the Army spent on a state of the art headquarters in Afghanistan that never should have happened because we aren't being given the right to have a permanent base there. It's built, and nobody ever used it.
It's always business as usual at the Pentagon. The night before the shutdown they signed 5.5 billion dollars in contracts with 94 suppliers. While Congressional GOP are threatening our seniors and low income citizens, the Air Force thinks it needs a 6 or 7 million dollar gymnasium at the Air Force Academy in Colorado. Staying fit doesn't have to cost that much. We need to slash the Pentagon budget by 30%, use that money for education so people can receive training to take the jobs that they don't have the skill sets for now. Then give tax breaks to companies that create jobs in the US and not east overshoe or wherever these jobs exist.
Maybe if our government would get over the trickle down tax breaks create jobs economy they keep foisting on us and do the right thing, we wouldn't have to keep borrowing to pay our bills? More working stiffs mean more in the coffers to pay our bills with and it's really just that simple. Oh! And one other thing, GET RID OF THE DAMN TEA PARTY, THEY'RE DESTROYING OUR LIVES.