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Let me make this clear; as the food stamps program is so punitive in this country one must be living in absolute penury to receive the benifits at all. The slightest income means benifits are cut. Usually at a one to one ratio. My whopping $710 in disability, far less than what it costs for housing using the three times your income rental formula, means I get a meagar $30.00 in food credits.

These people having their food budget slashed are not living high on the hog. As a matter of fact those familiar with the program admit the benefits do not last two weeks in the majority of households. So cutting this, even if it isn't cut enough to buy the average lunch, hurts. And it hurts those that have the least resources to compensate for the cuts.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Getting policies enacted is best way to beat GOP (4+ / 0-)

    We need spending to stimulate employment.  A review minimum wage and progressive taxation would start tackling economic inequality. Spending on infrastructure would create jobs that couldn't be taken offshore. And a securities transaction tax to make speculation less profitable.  Also immigration reform and a federal anti-gerrymandering and anti-voter suppression law.  Just my list for starters.

  •  can you explain the (3+ / 0-)

    three times your income rental formula a little bit more, please?

    Gosh, I think, this needs more diaries for the people who don't live on food stamps and have a roof over their heads and don't know much about foodstemps and the regulations for homeless.

    I wonder about the "household situation" of those who are homeless ... my bed is in the entance area of a  barber shop kind of household.

    •  When you go to rent an apartment (5+ / 0-)

      The standardized requirement is you must earn three times the rent to afford that space. So with $710 a month I can afford an apartment that is $236.66 a month. There are no places to rent that are that low that I know of. Of course there will be someone claiming that is doable but in a realistic sense for the majority of the poor it is unrealistic.

      •  It is doable. If you have Section 8. Good luck (5+ / 0-)

        getting on Section 8 if you haven't yet. Most places it's closed and there is a waiting list. Many places even the waiting list is closed.

        I've been eligible for Section 8 for years. Can't even apply.

        I'd like to start a new meme: "No means no" is a misnomer. It should be "Only 'Yes' means yes." Just because someone doesn't say "No" doesn't mean they've given consent. If she didn't say "Yes", there is no consent.

        by second gen on Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 11:50:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Section 8 has wait lists years long (5+ / 0-)

          And in most communities I've tried to get it the list was closed because it was over five years long. Section 8 is a pie in the sky that isn't really there. There are exceptions but those are few and far between.

          •  I really would like to see a special group (3+ / 0-)

            for everything considering homelessness. It must be talked about. And my feeling is, it's not. Charity is one thing, policies another, not knowing what it means to be in the shoes of a homeless person is not acceptable for anyone who is not homeless.

            We should know much more about how people become homeless, when does it start, why ... without blame gaming the issue.

            We all are not born homeless ...

        •  can you explain a little bit was section 8 (3+ / 0-)

          consists of? Just for the record. I intend to research that myself later, I just wished to have the hard facts altogether here.

          •  It's a HUD program for housing assistance. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mimi, Horace Boothroyd III, CroneWit

            It helps pay a portion of rents (and in some cases house payments) for low income individuals. It helps pay rent based on a percentage of the market value of an apartment or home. You are required to pay a percentage of that value, the program pays the rest. Landlords can opt out, but if they opt in, they must accept the agreed upon market value for the rent.

            For instance, my mother is on Social Security. She is almost 80. She rents an apartment that typically goes for about $800/mo. With Section 8 housing allowance, she pays just over $300/mo. For anyone thinking that's a lot of money for an apartment to begin with, it most certainly is. It is also a HUD housing complex that is income based. Even if you're paying your rent on your own, your maximum income is something like $30-35k. Not sure what it is today, but I almost moved there, and their max in about 2002 was $29k, and the rent was $750.

            I'd like to start a new meme: "No means no" is a misnomer. It should be "Only 'Yes' means yes." Just because someone doesn't say "No" doesn't mean they've given consent. If she didn't say "Yes", there is no consent.

            by second gen on Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 12:35:19 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I really would like to know more about that (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Horace Boothroyd III, CroneWit

              how they calculate your income and how low an income you have to have to apply for the HUD program housing assistance. I remember that some townhouse complexes in pretty expensive neighborhoods in DC had sections reserved for low income renters and the waiting lists were four years and more. That was in the nineties.

              I should educate myself of all of it. Somehow drowned under my radar of conscience since 2001.

              For example how does a homeless person keep an address to get mail? Do they need friends, who allow them to use their own home address?

              •  Here's a start. (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mimi, Horace Boothroyd III, CroneWit

                I'd like to start a new meme: "No means no" is a misnomer. It should be "Only 'Yes' means yes." Just because someone doesn't say "No" doesn't mean they've given consent. If she didn't say "Yes", there is no consent.

                by second gen on Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 12:52:41 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  'Project-based' vs 'voucher' HUD housing (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Horace Boothroyd III, mimi

                There are two ways to get a HUD subsidy for housing.  second gen has done a good job of describing the 'voucher' program -- in which you, as an individual receive a voucher 'attached' to you, that you can take to landlords.

                The other way is called 'Project-based' -- the 'project' meaning an apartment complex where the Owner has a contract with HUD (and possibly with some State funding as well), and must administer the project according to HUD regulations.  If you can bear to wade through a dense bureaucratic document, you can google 'HUD Handbook 4350.3', (find the current version, old & new ones are listed at, and read the chapter on Eligibility.  Sample leases (which must be used) are in the Appendix.

                Within project-based HUD housing, there are two categories of projects:  those for disabled and/or elderly (I don't remember the age cut-off, sorry), and those for all ages, including households with children (I'm in this kind of housing).

                Based on what I've heard & seen in the local paper, the impossibility of getting a voucher is common -- and the voucher program funding seems to be cut often.  Funding for project-based housing seems more stable, perhaps because of its being interwoven with banking and private owners (some corporate).

                You might do better by finding the project-based Section 8 housing in your locale and just going in for an intake interview.  You'll have to report extensively on your income/expenses (including medical) -- pretty invasive, but just be honest and help try to find any info they may need.  I'll forewarn you -- even getting an interview may take months.  But if they say 'we don't expect openings for xx months', but are willing to set up the intake, take the appointment so you are on their waiting list.  You never know when an apartment will open up.

                As for your other questions about services for homeless and impoverished people, that all depends on your locale.  In my town, there is a service location, developed in 2000, that provides services such as a 'mailbox' for homeless.  Use your google-fu and do some searching; or you could contact, say, your local Food Bank or Food Stamps office and ask for referrals or contact lists.  And that 211 phone number in HB's letter above?  It may not be nationwide, but many areas have adopted this service -- you can call and ask your questions, and they can give you contact info.  With luck, you'll find some kind of central location that can give you info on all the services available locally, and maybe even some case-management to help you negotiate the maze(s).

                Wishing you good luck!

  •  I'm also at $710.00 a month and while my (8+ / 0-)

    section 8 portion of the rent recently went up another $80.00 my food stamps went down by $10.00 to $128.00 a month.
    One thing I do feel lucky about is that this town (Bellingham Wa.) has a good Food Bank which I'm allowed to hit four times a month but there are far too many places where this isn't the case and my heart goes out to those people.

    However if I get help with my electric bill in the near future my food stamps will go down again, just gotta keep 'sharing that sacrifice' I guess.
    I also continue to be concerned about Obama's relentless efforts (one Cat Food Commission after another) towards his 'grand bargain', aka grand swindle of the poor, elderly and veterans.

    Move over Bill Clinton you are no longer the best Republican they ever had in office, Obama's chained CPI is his answer to Clinton's 'welfare reform' and Obama's Trans Pacific Partnership, aka 'NAFTA on steroids' will totally eclipse Clinton's NAFTA.

    without the ants the rainforest dies

    by aliasalias on Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 11:40:51 AM PDT

    •  My family is considering moving your way... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Horace Boothroyd III, aliasalias

      what's it like out there?

      I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 12:28:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  this is a town with a lot of activist groups and (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Horace Boothroyd III

        imo having a University is always a plus for a city or town. I see most of them as raising the average of the overall mental gene pool wherever they exist.

        Scenery wise it is beautiful and there are groups fighting to keep it that way by doing things like stopping the construction of the biggest coal terminal (s) in north America.

        That's not why I moved here from Texas (I'm a multi-gen Texan) as I didn't know about the politics or activism of the area, I just wanted to live as close as possible to my son, daughter and two grandsons whom all live on the Canadian side of the border (all natural born Canadian citizens).

        without the ants the rainforest dies

        by aliasalias on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 11:29:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Electric help through LIHEAP shouldn't affect (3+ / 0-)

      your Food Stamps (if your state operates like mine).  If it comes from other sources, you may have to report it as income to Food Stamps.

  •  This is true. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Horace Boothroyd III

    It need not continue to be true. We'll know soon.

    One more round of Milt Friedman and/or trickle-down and I'm outta here.

    I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 12:26:18 PM PDT

  •  Horace, I am sorry to ask so stupid questions, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Horace Boothroyd III, CroneWit

    because I feel ashamed to never have thought about it before, but is there a dailykos group just for people who are homeless or perpetually struggle from homelessness to shelter to temporary housing solutions?

    I haven't checked the group list yet, but which group is mostly invovled in anything that matters to the homeless?

  •  I think people have to come out and (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Horace Boothroyd III, CroneWit

    "confess" to trying to live on food stamps. Then people will be able to know who they are hurting and having a face on it will make them less able to deny food to that person and others.

    It seems that all my life we have been bombing someone, teaching them a lesson. Every day I understand more deeply how violent we are. Violent to others and violent to ourselves. - Robert Olmstead

    by glitterscale on Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 02:18:21 PM PDT

    •  'Proud Member of the 47%' (3+ / 0-)

      My friend has this on a bumper-sticker.

      I was disabled at age 46 (1997) and, like many disabled people, was denied SSDI.  In 2000, family support ended.  I was lucky in that a 'one-stop' coordinating center for impoverished/homeless was opening just as my support disappeared.  This service helped me find legal assistance (for threatened eviction), HUD housing (mentioned in another comment here), Food Stamps (Medicaid denied for three more years), utility assistance (LIHEAP), and food resources.

      I turned 62 this year and now receive $713/month in SS Retirement.  This income (1) caused my Food Stamp allotmnent to drop from $200/month to $95 (ande I haven't checked to see if it will fall again in November), and (2) changed my HUD subsidy in two ways -- I went from paying $0 rent with $87/month utility subsidy to paying $113 with no utility subsidy (I now pay $87/month).

      These issues sometimes come up in diaries, and I'm glad, HBIII, that you plan to start a group around these issues.  Here's my 2 cents' worth:  IMO, this group shouldn't be just about venting, complaining, and commiseration, important as those are for survival of American poverty.  I can see two important uses for such a group:  (1) information- and resource-sharing, with people from better-served locales informing those in less-served locales; and (2) recognizing 'the 47%' as political actors, as a political demographic that cuts across (includes people from) all other demographics, and that includes almost half of 'the 99%'.

      •  Check your kosmail. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Then do a post on what you would like to see as the group.

        •  Thanks, HBIII, but I can't take on anything new (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Horace Boothroyd III

          at this time.  I'll be glad to support any brainstorming diaries on this though.

          The Information Pixies have been pointing me to poverty-related articles tonight, and they have underlined a few tidbits for me, which I'll share here, albeit in a rambling way.  Hope I can keep these links straight.

          For the first time since the 1960s, a majority of the children in public schools in the South and West of the United States come from families living below, at or not far above the poverty line, according to a new study.  [...]

          A decade ago, only four states reported that a majority of children in their classrooms came from low-income families. But since 2001, the number of poor students has grown by 32% nationwide; in the same time, national expenditure on public schooling has increased by only 14%.   [...]

          The study's authors focused on the 2010-2011 school year and used the number of students eligible for free or reduced-price school meals as a benchmark. Free meals are available to children from families with incomes below 130% of the federal poverty line; students whose household income is up to 185% of the poverty line can get reduced-price meals. Forty-eight per cent of all children in US public schools, from preschool to 12th grade, now meet either of these stipulations.

          In July, a report by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), which develops standardized tests, noted that despite US wealth, of the world's 35 richest nations it ranks second-highest in child poverty. The study's authors estimated that the nation's problems with child poverty ultimately cost it $500bn a year.

          Those of us who live in poverty know that the 'near poverty' levels (ie, the 130% and 185% 'above poverty level' in the first study above) are ridiculously low.  But the key point of that study is that three years ago -- before the sequester -- 48% of all US schoolchildren were poor enough to need food assistance from their schools.  In thirteen Southern and four Western states, the majority of students live in this kind of poverty.

          The Guardian article also points out that (of course) children of impoverished families need more extensive and better-designed coursework and early-childhood education -- more support, rather than the decreased support they are receiving due to RightWing policies.  This lack of educational support leads to citizens who cannot negotiate the responsibilities of citizenship -- to such a degree that author Neil Gaiman pointed out, in an unrelated article, that --

          I was once in New York, and I listened to a talk about the building of private prisons – a huge growth industry in America. The prison industry needs to plan its future growth – how many cells are they going to need? How many prisoners are there going to be, 15 years from now? And they found they could predict it very easily, using a pretty simple algorithm, based on asking what percentage of 10 and 11-year-olds couldn't read. And certainly couldn't read for pleasure.

          I found that same information -- the prison industry using the percentage of illiterate (for their age level) 10-11 years olds to predict future cell needs -- in a different article (or diary here?) tonight, but can't find the link now.  Here's a question no one seems to be asking:  Of those illiterate 10-11 year-olds are from the 48% of children who are living in poverty?

          Laura Clawson has an article up right now on low-wage workers and poverty ( ).  Her first graph shows percentages of workers in various industries who have at least one family member receiving some kind of poverty assistance.  The category 'all sectors' shows 25% of all workers receiving assistance.

          Let me summarize this:  One in every four American workers lives in Federally-recognized poverty; one in every two American children lives in this same poverty.

          No one ever seems to report on the welfare of the people who live with just a little too much income to receive aid, but not enough to get by on.  So I have no way of knowing what percentage of Americans fit into that 'not quite poor enough' category.  But they know what poverty is, too.

          And no one but me seems to know that the original 'poverty levels' and guidelines for the various 'War on Poverty' programs (the EEOC) were set by Dick Cheney, in his first Federal gig, which his pal Rumsfeld set him up in under Nixon.  Look it up.  And nobody else but me seems to know that the purchasing power of Food Stamps was based on a 'reasonable economic food plan' established way back then, when a can of Campbell's tomato soup cost ten cents.

          I've rambled too far already, but I still have a point to make or at least try to make.  Poverty in America is not just a 'workers/labor' issue or a 'women's issue' or the issue of any demographic subgroup, as I wrote earlier.  

          But those living in or near poverty can and should constitute a political constituency -- and the Democratic Party is the only currently-existing group that can possibly respond to their political and economic needs.

          The problem is that poor folks don't see themselves as a political class.  The first step in a solution would be for Democrats to involve themselves in political organizing of poor folks, such as getting them registered to vote and helping them get to the polls.  But that can only be done (in a non-patronizing way) by those same Democrats also becoming involved in the lives of poor folks, and coming to understand how oppressive America's treatment of her poor is, and working to change laws and policies so that America's treatment of her poor can become humane.

          Maybe we need to become Lyndon Johnson Democrats again, and undo the Cheney/Rumsfeld/Nixon policies while we show that the RightWing think tanks' depiction and prescriptions for the poor are as unrealistic as the rest of their economic policies.

          Okay, I'm done.  Sorry for rambling.  Good luck with your project -- I'll try to keep involved with it, informally.

      •  I think this group is as much (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Horace Boothroyd III, CroneWit

        about and for the homeless or those being threatened with it, as it is for those who are not.

        We, who are still lucky enough to be able to sustain our homes and livelihood, need as much help to confront our own actions and reactions and discuss those for the sake of finding solutions for those who are less lucky.

        I really support your point 1) and for sure point 2).  

      •  I read through diaries of the Income Inequality (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Horace Boothroyd III, CroneWit

        group this evening and see there is a lot covered. Learning a lot.

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