Poverty in America

By: Mike Springer Email
By: Mike Springer Email

Tallahassee, Fl --May 16, 2012--

The face of homelessness in America is changing, as more and more people struggle with poverty.

"My perception of homelessness was you know, you know those people they just don't want to work they just want, you know, someone to give them something," says Beatrice Beverly whose family is struggling with poverty.

That was Beatrice Beverly's perception three years ago. When she had a home and steady job that put food on the table.

But her life soon changed. She became pregnant and resigned from her job as a caregiver with psych patients. She says she was concerned for the baby's safety.

Out of work, she lost everything. Now, this is home. An 11 by 12 square-foot room that Beverly shares with her two daughters and granddaughter.

"Having a family and being here is really, really, really tough because as a mom I'm supposed to be the caregiver, the caretaker of the family. And by being here, you know? I feel like, you know? I've gotten defeated in that purpose," says Beverly.

Defeated, but not broken Beverly continues on. Searching for work and a way to provide for family once again. As they've taken shelter here at the Big Bend Homeless Coalition.

"With the economy being so bad, it's not been easy, you know? I've gone, I've done applications, but I've gotten nowhere," says Beverly.

Beverly gets up at 7 a.m. everyday. She gets her little ones dressed and heads out the door. Walking up and down the street, applying everywhere and anywhere. All while trying to care for her three year old daughter who has bronchitis. Beverly is putting in the long hours because she knows time is against her. Her family can only stay at the home for six months.

" I feel like this, everything in my life happens for a reason. A lot of times I don't understand the reasons," says Beverly. "But again, life don't stop because of a bad decision. Life don't stop because of a mistake. And now I'm in the process of living through those bad decisions. Living through those mistakes."

"Poverty is a significant problem right now," says Susan Pourciau of the Big Bend Homeless Coalition.

Susan Pourciau works for the Big Bend Homeless Coalition helping families like Beverly's through those mistakes. Pourciau says the troubled economy along with rising health care costs have led to the rise in poverty.

"We see a lot of folks who have lost jobs. A lot of people who have lost benefits from the government," says Pourciau.

According to the 2010 U.S. Cenus, about 46 million people across the country are living in poverty. And about 5 million of them live in Florida and Georgia. But for those like Beverly, the only benefit they're seeking is a job and the chance to reclaim the life they once had.

"Kind of like that old saying, 'Give a man a fish, feed him for a day, teach him to fish, feed him for life'. If you know, we had more people that'd be willing to take a chance on us as far as employment, you know?," says Beverly. " And you know, kind of like teaching us to fish. Giving us a chance to rebuild our life."

That's what Beverly is hoping for, a chance to learn how to fish and to reel in a better life for her and her family.

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