When most people think homeless, the first image that comes to mind is a greasy, dirty and somewhat disturbed person who is content to just bum around the whole day. Today’s generation of homeless, however, are smart, driven people unable find a job that pays enough to cover the rent.
This dilemma is particularly visible in California, where the number of homeless families receiving welfare has grown by a shocking 98% over the last five years. This growth is nearly quadruple the growth rate of non-homeless families who get welfare assistance as well.
This new breed of homeless families has been branded CalWorks families – and they are going to face even tougher challenges ahead of them.
Now Gov. Jerry Brown is proposing that CalWorks receive a budget cut of around $1 billion. If this proposal passes, then we can expect to see even more CalWorks families thrown out of their homes and into the streets.
As one caseworker puts it, “The rents are so high and the grants are so small, it doesn’t leave them with hardly anything. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
I’m not blind to the fact that our country needs to save money where it can. It’s just that I cannot help but lament how we prefer to pass the buck to people who will be most drastically affected by the cuts. I am concerned about what will happen when these people get desperate, especially when we start talking about crime here.
You might hate me for saying this, but I think the big “T” word might have to come up sooner or later: taxes. I loathe the very idea of being slapped with a tax raise, but it does have a better ring to it than having to face a wave of crime and homelessness.