Living in Broken America

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By Cindy Robinson

The United States of America is broken. We live in a country that is failing its citizens. Growing up I learned about the different political parties representing our country, that each has its own ideals based on their moral beliefs. We learned the purpose of having a fairly equal representation of those parties in our governing offices is to work together, to compromise on issues affecting our country and its citizens – things like healthcare, wages, housing, and protecting our population.

However, our political parties of today have long forgotten the art of compromise, their primary goal is only to further their own agendas and keep the pockets of those already rolling in wealth well lined. Our parties no longer work together to help the American people. They merely work against the opposing party to prevent any positive change for the American people without any regard for the impact these decisions will have on Americans.

An article recently posted on PBS.org pictures hunger in America, showcasing how a variety of families survive on their meager earnings and the small amount of government assistance each receives.  http://www.pbs.org/newshour/art/picturing-hunger-in-america/#the-rundown . The article also highlights how those in need spend endless hours waiting to get any assistance they are applying for. How is an unemployed person supposed to effectively search for a job that will sustain them when they spend half of one day waiting to turn in paperwork to apply for food stamps only to be told they need to wait further to actually receive the aid if they are approved? Then that person spends the better part of another day waiting to turn in paperwork for the next type of assistance they may be applying for.

Back in December Congress voted to end the extension of unemployment benefits for more than one million Americans. The rug was instantly pulled out from under anyone on unemployment. Instead of receiving a bi-weekly unemployment claim, they were mailed a surprise letter indicating their claim had ended, even if they had money remaining on their claim. While I understand, and support one of the opinions behind this move – to get those off unemployment that are just milking the system, its overall effect has been to send more Americans into the system of applying for benefits, increasing the burden on our already overtaxed economy.

I am one of the more than one million Americans affected by this vote. I was laid off by my employer of nearly 8 years in 2013 when they decided to close their California office and move operations east. In addition to constantly applying for as many jobs in my field as possible, I have spent the better part of the last two months seeking assistance of every kind possible that I could locate with almost no results. I started with dialing 211, the United Way, which is supposed to be a collective listing of resources that a person in need can contact in their area. The people that answer the phones are woefully under trained. I called twice in fact and each time they looked up resources by my zip code and simply told me there wasn’t any rental assistance available in my area and they also weren’t helping with gas bills right now. They neglected to tell me that there is an entire list of resources available on my county website and that while some agencies are approved to offer rental assistance, they are out of funding right now and the same goes for utility bill assistance. I only discovered that these resources existed because I am a tech savvy person. What happens when an elderly person or anyone who isn’t tech savvy calls and receives the same answer? Does that person just give up because they were told there aren’t resources available?

America-BrokenWhile I am finally being called in to interview for some great companies in Southern California, those who are hiring are also being very thorough and going through long lists of applicants to decide who is right for the job. Long gone are the days when you’d interview and be hired on the spot or within a couple days, organizations are now taking weeks to make a decision.

During my research for great resources to help sustain my household during these challenging times, I entered a contest on 102.7 KIIS FM, Los Angeles hit radio station hoping to win a $1,000 prize. I discovered there is also a Ryan Seacrest Foundation and sent in my information to them. I never heard back from them, even though I provided information on the deadline I was facing.

I’ve reached the point where I am losing everything. The long list of resources who’s primary goal is listed as preventing homelessness don’t have any assistance to offer, decisions on jobs applied to are moving forward slowly so I am losing my rental home of six years.

I’m a college educated administrative professional with strong computer skills combined with great social media and freelance photography skills looking for a job in the Inland Empire area of Southern California along with a needing a new home that will accept me, a child, cats, dogs and an alligator lizard.

download It seems the only true assistance out there today is community, people helping people as our government and assistance organizations continue to fail us. Today’s headlines focused on the story of Shanesha Taylor in Arizona, a homeless mother of two, who left her young sons in the car while she went into a job interview. While I don’t condone leaving young children unattended, why aren’t there more readily available resources in this situation? How is she supposed to get a job and take care of her family if there isn’t child care to support her so she can go on an interview? Luckily for Shanesha, Amanda Bishop stepped in and set up a fundraising effort on youcaring.com and quickly raised $70,000 for the mother of two.   http://ktla.com/2014/04/01/homeless-mom-arrested-after-leaving-kids-in-car-during-job-interview/#axzz2xhHpgbUy She’s one of the lucky ones who had a kind stranger step in to help her during her time of need.

So I’m asking each one of you that read this to please help those in need around you, even if you don’t know them. We’re all battling something but if more of us work together, lives can be saved, lives can be improved. Be grateful for what you have and share your extras with those who need it.

 

 

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