Today's Tampa Tribune ran a front page story of Angel Adams, a local woman with twelve dependent children. She was recently evicted from her two bedroom apartment, so she gathered up her kids and with help from a family member, moved her family into a motel room for a week. She now reaches out for help through the local media, and to its credit, the media printed her story on the front page.
The woman will be vilified in letters to the editor because her kids have three fathers, and the father of ten of them is now in prison, leaving her without support. She will be criticized because she doesn't work at a job, as if anyone could support a family of two on a $7 per hour job (if you can find one), let alone a family of twelve. Another woman, married to a highly compensated husband--for example, a doctor or lawyer-- who does not work outside her home would be praised as a selfless "stay at home mom." But ... poor and unmarried, Ms. Adams will be trashed and called a variety of unflattering labels in the letters to the editor that will follow this news story. It didn't take long for someone to leave a comment on this blog, and I thought (almost) nobody reads it. Sorry, Pam--I don't have a house. Maybe the mortgage bankers that caused the great recession could donate part of their bailout billions to provide affordable housing to their fellow citizens who have none.
Interestingly, the Tribune's front page also features a story on "foreclosure mills," those lucrative and very busy law firms that process home foreclosures-- and throw families out in the street. Foreclosures are epidemic now. In Florida, the banks are petitioning our elected public officials to legislate quick and EZ foreclosures into law, bypassing the court system, resulting in more families losing their homes, faster. This brilliant move would result in more neighborhoods with dark empty houses, trashy yards, and crime magnets. One of those empty houses could shelter Ms. Adams and her children. All of those empty yards could be turned into community gardens, to feed the neighborhood, and beyond. Chickens could be raised in some of those empty yards, to provide eggs --and protein--for hungry children.
Angel Adams doesn't have a job. She says raising her kids is her work, and she calls them all "gifts from God." Down at the bottom of the same page, DJSP Enterprises-- and the law firm that spawned it-- processes most of the foreclosure cases in Tampa--352 this month alone. While Ms. Adams struggles to keep her children sheltered, America's foreclosure mills work to boot families out of theirs.
Update: 4-23. The hate letters against Angel Adams dominated the editorial page today, as I knew they would. The resentment that working parents feel --they'd rather be home with their kids, they have to work two, three jobs to have a place to live and a car to get to work..spills out in their letters. Instead of resenting Ms. Adams--she loves her children, and she just wants to take care of them--who by all accounts is a good mother, why don't people speak up against a system that keeps working people and especially single moms so impoverished? A minimum wage of $7 and change is a wage that nobody can live on. For that matter, neither is $8, 9 a livable hourly wage. It's time for a livable wage, a paycheck tied to local costs of living: housing, utilities, transportation, groceries, and that automatically adjusts up or down annually as others costs do, How about a living wage that makes food stamps obsolete? How about paid maternity leave for the first year of every child's life? How about job site subsidized day care centers to give working parents peace of mind, and to cut down on their commuting time? Angel Adams didn't construct the ridiculous system we now have that pays so many workers poverty wages, and allows tax breaks for corporations that take their well paying jobs out of the USA and relocate them in China.
Angel Adams' priority is her children. How vocal some people are when protecting the rights of unborn children, and they won't hesitate to call on government to step up to the cause. But once the children are born, how vocal they are in opposing any government assistance to protect and nurture those children if they are born to a woman who is poor.