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March 13, 2013

ANDERSON: Poverty and income: What’s it all about?

(Continued)

Most of the people who live at the shelter worked very labor-intensive jobs that damaged their bodies and had very low wages. Of those adults that are not disabled, four are pending disability, the remaining are looking for work, working and earning lower than a living wage or in school for training. They are making every effort though. Of course you have those who don’t try, but eventually the light goes on and the motivation to work kicks in. 

Last Friday, we were having a residents’ meeting. One of the happiest announcements in a while was that a long-time family (nine months) got their apartment through the Homeless Veterans’ Program. They have since moved out. Both of them intend to come back and volunteer on Friday and Saturdays. 

The man got his veterans’ services while at the shelter and she got a job at a local retailers over Christmas when the retailer brought gifts to the shelter and they were impressed at how she helped them get the gifts in, distribute them to the residents and served the other residents in general. For the first time in nine months, their daughter, age 9, will have her own room. 

The whole room broke into applause, and that is what it is all about.

— Barbara Anderson is executive director of Haven House Services Inc.

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