#1 Once prosperous New Yorkers forced to live under canvas in New Jersey woods09-26-2011, 11:55 AMThe white picket fence and manicured flowerbeds outside 1 Paradise Lane are straight from a picture postcard of idyllic suburban American life in the 1950s.
But its walls are no more than canvas. Its porch overlooks smouldering bonfires and scrawny hens scratching at dirt. And mail never arrives in the letterbox that was hand-painted by Marilyn Berenzweig.
Mrs Berenzweig, 61, used to make $100,000 (£63,333) a year as a designer in New York’s garment district. Now she and her husband Michael are down and out in 'Tent City' in Lakeland, New Jersey. There is no electricity or running water and racoons steal their food. “It’s not an easy life,” she said.
She and Mr Berenzweig, a former radio producer, are two of the 27 million Americans out of work or under-employed as recession stalks the US once more.
New census figures this month showed that poverty is at an 18-year high, more than one in seven having to survive on less than $11,139 (£7,054) a year each or $22,314 (£14,132) for a family of four.
The couple had to leave their $2,000 (£1,266)-a-month house after Marilyn lost her job. They lived with their 40-year-old daughter and her family for four months before a row drove them out.
After reaching the 90-week limit for unemployment benefits, they now receive less than $100 (£63) per week between them in food stamps. “The nearest supermarket is 2.5 miles away,” she said. “Usually we walk”. Social security will kick in only when she is 62, and her modest pension at 65.
“I'm scared about how life is going in America,” said Mrs Berenzweig. “I hope we'll move into an apartment again one day. But we need money.” ...
09-26-2011, 02:11 PM
There has got to be more to their situation than they are telling.
I have a friend who will be in that position at that age, if she continues to avoid finding a career type job. No pension, no savings, no health insurance other than Medicaid. She doesn't own a home or a car, or anything of value.
09-26-2011, 03:16 PM
- Join Date
- Mar 2010
I'm seeing more vehicles that appear to be doubling as homes. The other day at North Shore, I sat and watched a man maintaining his rolling dwelling. As Michael Jackson music (cassette I believe) played on a boom box which had been Mickey Moused to the cigarette lighter, this man aired his bedding on the roof of the mini van while he cleaned and organized the interior. The front passenger seat and foot zone appears to be his pantry. He was organizing his food, removing packaging and placing like items in their proper plastic bins. He didn't appear to be mentally ill, merely orderly.
You can usually see a couple homeless or borderline homeless people at the beach at North Shore. They can shower in the outside showers and use the restroom, allowing them to be clean and have some dignity. My mother was once at North Shore pool and in the changing room when she realized that the reasonably well groomed and dressed woman in the locker room with her was actually a homeless woman who had paid the admission charge to use the facilities. She bathed, shaved, and fixed her hair, put on some clean clothes and rinsed out some personal items.
I guess if you are going to be homeless, Florida beats the hell out of some other places. At least we have easily accessible showers available to the public. You won't find those in DC.
I also see some motorhomes on their last legs which appear to be rolling residences of the necessary rather than the recreational kind. Some of these old rigs look like their remaining miles can be measured in days. They park at the less popular beaches and parks in hopes that no one will complain. Occasionally they will risk an overnight. We also have people living on nearly derelict boats anchors just outside the swim zone. The distance makes it look scenic to the untrained eye, it's only when you look closely that you notice that some of the boats have no sails, one even has no mast. I see the occupants rowing in to go to work or hang out on shore (OK, so they go to the bar) and I think about how miserable it must be to have a run of the flu or potty-intensive bouts and be living on a boat with no heat or AC and no working bathroom. We don't want to know how they work around that.
Times tough for a lot of people. I've read that we are one of the most charitable people in the world. Hope springs eternal.
09-26-2011, 04:10 PMI've read that we are one of the most charitable people in the world.Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.
- Join Date
- Jun 2005
- Woodland Park, Colorado, United States
C. S. Lewis
Do not ever say that the desire to "do good" by force is a good motive. Neither power-lust nor stupidity are good motives. (Are you listening Barry)?:mad:
09-26-2011, 10:25 PM
Thanks for this article. Whether 100% factual or not, is very telling.
I do believe that many Americans, formerly tax-paying folks with comfortable incomes, the so called "middle-class" or whatever, are ... if not already in this dreadful unemployed and homeless state, will soon find themselves in it.
It truly breaks my heart. More than that, it infuriates me to no end.
And we all know just whom to thank! ... :mad:
It's working! ... It's working!
Just as ... I planned!
This despicable man is succeeding in bringing down this country intentionally!!!
Last edited by ABC in Georgia; 09-26-2011 at 10:33 PM.Considered a black sheep by my mixed-bag of Liberal nutcase family members ... but still love them all anyway!!!
American By Choice ~ 1980
09-26-2011, 10:59 PM
I think people are missing a very important detail in this story. The New Yorker is 61. That is NOT retirement age in this country. Early retirement is fine, if you can afford it. If you can't.....don't blame America for your lack of planning.
09-26-2011, 11:18 PM
Get a job scrubbing toilets if you have to. I'm so sick of these sob stories. There is so much work to be had. Shit, start your own house cleaning business. All you need is a bucket, mop, rags, sponges, all purpose glass cleaner, paper towels or newspapers(better actually), a vacuum cleaner, and a car. Nothing more, nothing less. The fucking laziness in this country astounds me.
09-27-2011, 12:08 AM
NJ ... Have to disagree somewhat with both you and Hawkgirl.
Hawkgirl, on her remark about "planning".
A goodly number of honest working folks, DID plan for their futures. Didn't however, plan on their house values plummeting thanks to the folks who bought in their neighborhoods, who were subsequently foreclosed upon, those folks who should never have qualified for their mortgage loans in the first place.
Once again the fault of the touchy feely Democrats ... Barney Frank et al and the subprime mortgage fiasco.
Want a true sob story? I'll give you one.
The woman who presently cleans my house, is an artist from a nearby town, who just 2 years ago owned and operated a profitable frame shop, selling artworks, making frames etc.
That business has now gone belly-up. She and her husband (disabled) ... are still paying the mortgage on the shop ... has it up for sale ... and NO buyers!
Know what else ... she was damned lucky to get a job cleaning houses in the first place, as many former customers of the cleaning service she works for, can no longer afford to pay for such services!
And round and round it goes, in a vicious cycle!
Not all, suffering in this horrendous economy are to blame. I once again place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the man who said something like ... " We are 4 days away from fundamentally changing this country!"
May he and his minions rot in hell!
~ ABCConsidered a black sheep by my mixed-bag of Liberal nutcase family members ... but still love them all anyway!!!
American By Choice ~ 1980
09-27-2011, 12:14 AM
- Join Date
- Mar 2010
ABC speaks the truth..........The sad truth.:(
Except for a few chance decisions that I made through the years, I could be one of 'those people'.
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