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The Great Recession is the Result of Republican Party Rule


Handing Out Money to Stave Off Homelessness

Published: April 19, 2010


He had lost his $75,000-a-year job as a mortgage consultant, his three-bedroom house with a Jacuzzi, his Lexus sedan. He could no longer pay even the rent on his cramped studio apartment — not on his $10-an-hour part-time job as a fry cook at a fast food restaurant.

Faced with eviction, he was staring last month at the imminent prospect of joining the teeming ranks of the homeless. His last hope was a new $1.5 billion federal program aimed at preventing that fate. Within days of applying, a check for $775 was on its way to Mr. Moore’s landlord, enabling him to stay — at least for now….

“We’re behind on January and February rent,” she says.

Ms. Martin is mortified to be asking for help. She grew up wealthy, with vacations spent on Caribbean cruises. “I had everything I ever wanted,” she says.

She and her husband run a house-painting business that has been in his family for three generations. (Martin is her maiden name. She declined to be identified by her married name for fear of embarrassing her husband’s family, whose name is emblazoned on his truck.)

They have three boys, a 12-year-old, and 9-year-old twins. At the house they have rented for seven years, on a street lined with well-tended lawns, the walls are covered with photos of her boys displaying their batting stances.

Until 2008, their painting business was pulling in $100,000 a year, which paid their $2,450-a-month rent and allowed them to buy a trailer on Clear Lake, where they took the boys water-skiing.

But last year, in a weak economy, they earned $38,000. They sold their trailer. They ran through $15,000 in savings. One day last winter, Ms. Martin noticed the refrigerator was nearly empty, and her checking account balance was down to $100. She drove to a county office and applied for food stamps.

“That just broke my heart,” she says.

Her father has money to help if it really comes down to it, she acknowledges.

“I don’t see him letting his grandkids land on the street,” she says, “but he’d hold it over our heads for a long time. That would lower me to a level that I wouldn’t want to go.”

So she is here, at Samaritan House, filling out the paperwork for the homeless prevention program.

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