Today I enjoyed my first meal as a senior in a senior center. I am attending a housing class at the local Salvation Army offices and the senior center is nearby. I am still discovering the facility, but the meal was very good. The menu from May looks like it was also very good.
I can't say it is my first meal in a senior center because, many years ago, I had a one in California as a guest of my birth father and his wife. I am aware of Meals on Wheels for seniors, but haven't really had much experience with senior issues before.
My costs for having senior meals is reduced to $2 per meal because I receive food stamps (SNAP). The normal cost per meal is $4. I could never afford that, and don't plan to eat there all month. It costs me $5 for a transit day pass just to go anywhere beyond my walking distance. Since I have to get a day pass to attend the class I am going to, I can just go early to take advantage of the meal, especially on Thursdays, when there is a Bible Study in the morning.
The housing class I am attending is for people with problems getting housing, like evictions, criminal histories, disabilities, low incomes, and more. With no income from work to pay the rent, I was forced into eviction at my last apartment. I decided it wouldn't hurt to attend the classes and see if they help. I don't know what the future holds, but I continue to look for ways to achieve MY goals... which include home ownership, preferably a farm property (on a major bus line!).
By traditional standards,
there is nothing available to poverty households.
But I know it isn't an impossible dream...I would finance the possibility if I had the funds, and I know it would benefit families, communities, and governments, to establish options for low-income populations that don't involve subsidies and years of waiting for rentals.
Low-income households pay rent, so they can pay a mortgage. What they need is NO MONEY DOWN or SWEAT EQUITY purchase opportunities, AFFORDABLE HOUSING and FLEXIBLE PAYMENTS for those times when personal or family issues overcome their life. The greater ongoing need is for STABILITY, PERMANENCE, A PLACE TO BUILD FROM. Home ownership is not just for those who can meet the bank's requirements, it is for every family.
It would have changed the lives of myself and my children. It will change any life that is allowed to own their home instead of paying rent.
Housing issues are why I am so involved in discovering alternatives, like tiny houses, $20,000 Houses, Habitat for Humanity housing, abandoned properties, foreclosures, HUD houses, etc. I don't think we need to subsidize housing when we could just finance housing options for low-income home ownership, which will bring stability and investment to poverty households... Instead of a revolving door and missions and jails and other housing issues, a sense of permanence can begin and be built stronger as time goes by.
There are some young mothers in my housing class... what if they were able to purchase their own homes, and begin to build a more permanent future for themselves and their children... how would their lives be changed?
Ownership allows people to build relationships in their neighborhoods, in the schools their children attend, in the community where they shop and work. It is the same dream every American wants, it just needs some flexibility to be accessed by low-income families.
I don't know if GOD will ever let me build some of these dreams, but maybe I will live long enough to see them accomplished, if not by me then by someone else who cares about the poor.