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marmite

From $70k To Food Bank, One Family's Struggle

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http://goldismoney.info/forums/showthread.php?t=251164

ALTADENA, California (CNN) -- When she was laid off in February, Patricia Guerrero was making $70,000 a year. Weeks later, with bills piling up and in need of food for her family, this middle-class mother did something she never thought she would do: She went to a food bank.

Patricia Guerrero was laid off in February. Desperate to make ends meet, she recently went to a food bank.

1 of 2 It was Good Friday, and a woman helping her offered to pay her utility bill.

"It brought tears to my eyes, and I sat there and I cried. I was like, 'This is really where I'm at?' " she told CNN. "I go 'no way;' [but] this is true. This is reality. This is the stuff you see on TV. It was hard. It was very hard."

Guerrero is estranged from her husband and raising her two young children. She's already burned through her savings to help make ends meet, and is drawing unemployment checks. She has had to take extreme measures to pay for her interest-only mortgage of $2,500 a month. In fact, her mother moved in with her to help pay the bills.

Guerrero even applied for food stamps, but was denied. Watch Guerrero describe going to food bank »

"I never used the system. I've been working since I was 15-and-a-half. I needed it now and it turned me down," she said.

Stories like Guerrero's are becoming more common as middle-class Americans feel the pinch of an economic downturn, rising gas prices and a housing crunch, especially in a state like California that has been rocked by foreclosures.

On Wednesday, a key government report on the battered housing market found new home sales fell to their lowest level in 13 years in February, suggesting the nation's housing market is still struggling.

Americans also have been attending in large numbers foreclosure fairs where mortgage lenders, financial planners and counselors offer tips to hard-hit homeowners.

"Our economy is struggling, and families in the 'Inland Empire' and across the nation are hurting," California Rep. Joe Baca said, referring to an area of Southern California in his district.

"Our housing market is in a state of crisis due to rampant abuses of sub-prime lending, and unemployment is rising. At the same time, the cost of necessities such as gas, healthcare, and education continue to rise." Map: Foreclosures state-by-state »

Daryl Brock, the executive director of Second Harvest Food Bank in California's San Bernardino and Riverside counties, said his organization supplies food to more than 400 charities in metro Los Angeles, from homeless shelters to soup kitchens to an array of food banks. While the majority of people they help are working poor families, he said they have seen some major changes.

In the last 12 to 18 months, Brock said, the agencies he supplies have begun seeing more middle-class families coming to their doors.

"Our agencies have said there is an increasing number of people coming to them for help," Brock told CNN by phone. "Their impression was that these were not people they normally would have seen before. They seemed to be better dressed. They seemed to have better cars and yet they seemed to be in crisis mode."

He added, "The only thing they can do is give us anecdotal evidence that they think it's because of the sub-prime mortgage meltdown and the housing crisis." See recent trends of foreclosure filings »

A former loan processor, Guerrero knows all about that, although so far she has been able keep her house.

She used her tax refund to help pay many of her bills for the first two months, but now that money's gone.

She says she's now in a middle-class "no-man's-land."

"It just happened so fast. It happened in a matter of -- what -- two months," she said.

She's eager to get back to work and to hold onto her home until the market turns. But for this single mom, every day it becomes harder to hang on.

Some interesting comments posted.................

70k a year, assume that's gross.....say she takes home 60......that is 5k month......and she is spending 2500/mo on housing......50%.......see the problem ?

...............................

That 2500 a month is also an interest only loan so she couldnt afford that house to begin with. I can assure you though its going to be my tax dollars that bails her sorry ass out.

...............................

not to mention Tn......'interest only mortgage'

ie she joined the scam, and now wants sympathy from everyone else.

as you said, she was way way over mortgaged, thinking the good times would keep on rolling.

................................

I love the part about how she eaves her coach bag and tiffany bracelet in the car when she goes begging for food. Any woman with half a brain would have sold that on ebay to pay for food.

Edited by marmite

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"I never used the system. I've been working since I was 15-and-a-half."

And when she stopped earning she was on $70k a year. But she never managed to save a bean

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"Our agencies have said there is an increasing number of people coming to them for help," Brock told CNN by phone. "Their impression was that these were not people they normally would have seen before. They seemed to be better dressed. They seemed to have better cars and yet they seemed to be in crisis mode."

What do these people do when the can afford to run a car ? Starve to death ?

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Don't laugh, in parts of America, that's a real possibility.

Yeah, remember what happened in New Orleans?! - it was frightening to see how quickly the situation degerated into survival of the fittest. They will need to be troops brought back home from Iraq etc. to keep the peace, if enough people hit the s*it at the same time in the US, anarchy will take over.

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Americans also have been attending in large numbers foreclosure fairs where mortgage lenders, financial planners and counselors offer tips to hard-hit homeowners

Not so much shooting fish in a barrel as putting sharks in with them. Nice.

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When the dot.con bubble burst in Silicon Valley soup kitchens were set up. People who one day were highly paid executives were the next unemployed and reliant on the soup kitchens. Colleagues of mine used to go and volunteer in them on the basis of 'there but for the grace of God...'.

People forget in the US just how much people have to pay into both health care insurance and also into stock options. One thing that shocked me in Silicon Valley was how few companies - none I recall - who paid a pension. In fact, one company I contracted for were annoyed that they had to pay pensions here in the UK whereas they did not in the US. To get some kind of pension the US employee typically gets loads of stock options on the cheap from his/her company and relies on that for a future pension. Alas, as was the case with Enron, dot.con companies and others, when the company share price dives people can be end up with no pension.

There is no social security safety net in the US. Any of us who lived out there would find it very easy to go from a good paying job and lifestyle virtually overnight to soup kitchen status if we lost our jobs. It ain't the land of milk and honey.

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Quite agree with the comments. The US is a tough place and always has been. The average person in the US has seen virtually no increase in their real standard of living for around the last 35 years; many millions of the workforce are on the brink of poverty all the time; this I would think is a fairly common tale.

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There is no social security safety net in the US. Any of us who lived out there would find it very easy to go from a good paying job and lifestyle virtually overnight to soup kitchen status if we lost our jobs. It ain't the land of milk and honey.

And if you have any savings there's virtually nothing for you here either. 6 months job seekers allowance isn't it before they cut that off from you?

The moral being: Put aside in good times.

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I never used the system. I've been working since I was 15-and-a-half. I needed it now and it turned me down

I wonder if that's because the sort of people like she used to be, continually vote to screw over the sort of person she is now. And what did the tax savings from having a smaller social security budget get her? Less than 2 months' safety net.

Edited by jimmy_joe

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And if you have any savings there's virtually nothing for you here either. 6 months job seekers allowance isn't it before they cut that off from you?

The moral being: Put aside in good times.

No safety net/welfare back-up at all!

Friend of my mine was over here from the midwest last month, bleak tales. One minute you can be living indoors, the next -outdoors, as your home has foreclosed!

I asked the question about benefits etc. He replied starkly, if you are out on your ear you sleep/live in your car. I asked "what about if you have kids?".

His reply? THEY SLEEP IN THE CAR WITH YOU!

He thinks we're way too soft with our benefit system actually!

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Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breath free.

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me.

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

No need for that now, they already live there.

:(

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And if you have any savings there's virtually nothing for you here either. 6 months job seekers allowance isn't it before they cut that off from you?

....unless of course....you hide your savings. Or is that something only the truely rich do ?

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How on earth does someone go from a reasonable income to total destitution in one month?

Like She said...

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  • 297 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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