Thursday, October 22, 2009


Sheri West operated a shelter for homeless people, but last year she lost her
home in Cleveland and had to sleep in her car.
We are all familiar with the awful figures of unemployment and the re-possession of homes of the working class but behind these statistics lie the real shock of the lack of confidence to the personality of the people involved. Here is a particular nasty example of the trauma that can be experienced by even relatively comfortable workers who lose their jobs and their homes.
"Cleveland — The first night after she surrendered her house to foreclosure, Sheri West endured the darkness in her Hyundai sedan. She parked in her old driveway, with her flower-print dresses and hats piled in boxes on the back seat, and three cherished houseplants on the floor. She used her backyard as a restroom. The second night, she stayed with a friend, and so it continued for more than a year: Ms. West — mother of three grown children, grandmother to six and great-grandmother to one — passed months on the couches of friends and relatives, and in the front seat of her car. But this fall, she exhausted all options. She had once owned and overseen a group home for homeless people. Now, she succumbed to that status herself, checking in to a shelter.
No one could have told me that in a million years: I’d wake up in a homeless shelter,” she said. “I had a house for homeless people. Now, I’m homeless.” Growing numbers of Americans who have lost houses to foreclosure are landing in homeless shelters, according to social service groups and a recent report by a coalition of housing advocates." (New York Times, 19 October)
The real lesson to be learned from Sheri's plight is that there is no security for members of the working class. That is how capitalism operates - one minute in charge of a homeless shelter, the next being homeless yourself! RD

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