Posted at 12:04 AM on June 26, 2009
by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Saving & spending
"None of my family knows my situation right now..."
That sentence from Annie Baxter's MPR piece today chilled me. The woman her husband, and four daughters are homeless and struggling but keeping it secret from their families.
Yesterday, I half-jokingly talked about recession etiquette. But it's a serious question here. How do you ask for help when you're that far down? Do we end up pretending in our conversations that we're all doing OK? Do we admit to people that getting laid off didn't just make life difficult, it put me and my family on the street?
Leslie Frost, a Public Insight Network source who runs a small family shelter in Minneapolis gave us a look recently at the hardships she witnesses daily and the increasing numbers seeking help. (Frost was featured in Baxter's piece.)
Frost told us the shelter was getting 300 calls a month now compared to about 50 two years ago:
The same reasons apply now: lost job, ran out of money, couch-hopped for awhile, wore out our welcome at all those places, finally ran out of options, called for shelter. But now, there are new reasons: landlord ran out of money, quit paying the water bill, couch-hopped, applied to new landlord, got turned down because current landlord isn't answering his phone to provide a rental reference.
Things may be OK for the woman in Baxter's piece. "It looks like the bus company will take her back as a driver this summer, and after a tough search, she found an affordable place to live." For a lot of people and children, it won't be OK and may likely get tougher.
How do you talk about when, financially, you're in serious trouble. Have you ever had to have that conversation? Share a story with us.