Welcome to the world of Britain's working poor.
The Rowleys belong to a section of society not much mentioned in ministerial and media dispatches. They are neither the very wealthy affected by the 50p tax nor the "squeezed middle" expressing anxiety about child benefit and this week's budget; nor are the Rowleys representative of the long-term unemployed or one of the 120,000 "troubled families" in which the government is investing £448m over the next three years. [more inside]
"Imagine if you had never been homeless before and you'd just lost your job and you lost your home. What would you do? Would you immediately go begging or knocking on a door? No, you would downsize, move into cheaper accommodations, if that did not work you'd move in with friends or relatives and then you'd move into a cheap motel and then ... where would you want to go before winding up at a shelter door? You would much prefer to live at a park with your family and your dog." ... "In just about every major city, there are tent cities. Unfortunately, we're in a growth industry and the numbers are going to continue."
-- Michael Stoop, a community organizer for the National Coalition for the Homeless
, explaining that the surge
in American tent city shantytowns, first highlighted on MeFi in 2008/09: 1
, has not slowed. The Great Recession: Life in Tent City, Lakewood NJ
/ Photo Gallery
. [more inside]
As the UK coalition government
plans swingeing cuts and students
take to the streets to protest, one mother asks us to remember the 'Nouveau Pauvre
'. Some commentators react
unfavourably to her
impending 'austerity Christmas'. [more inside]
Last week in Detroit, where unemployment is close to 30%, one third of all households are in poverty, and whole neighborhoods have been abandoned
, chaos ensued
as an estimated 15,000 to 30,000 people lined up in the hopes of getting federal aid
. 65,000 applications were taken for a new program that will fund only 3,500 people (via
Too Poor to Make the News
"The super-rich give up their personal jets; the upper middle class cut back on private Pilates classes; the merely middle class forgo vacations and evenings at Applebee’s. In some accounts, the recession is even described as the “great leveler,” smudging the dizzying levels of inequality that characterized the last couple of decades and squeezing everyone into a single great class, the Nouveau Poor, in which we will all drive tiny fuel-efficient cars and grow tomatoes on our porches.
But the outlook is not so cozy when we look at the effects of the recession on a group generally omitted from all the vivid narratives of downward mobility — the already poor. From their point of view “the economy,” as a shared condition, is a fiction."