September 30, 2012

Bre­anna is mar­ried and has 4 chil­dren ages 15, 11, 3 and 1. She was in a severe car acci­dent sev­eral years ago that has caused per­ma­nent dam­age to her back. Dis­abil­ity has denied her for social secu­rity ben­e­fits. Due to her back injuries and hav­ing two small chil­dren to take care of, she is unable to find employment.

Her hus­band has tried hard to find a liv­ing wage job, but does not have the skills to find a job that pays enough to sup­port the fam­ily. A cou­ple of years ago they lost their place to live and had to move in with her husband’s fam­ily, with all six of them dou­bling up with his par­ents. They accessed ser­vices such as SNAP and TANF and applied for all of the hous­ing lists.

Her hus­band was finally able to find employ­ment in Salem and a year later they were accepted for Mar­ion County hous­ing. This meant that they had to move to a small rural town out­side of Salem in order to get into sta­ble hous­ing. This made it a long and expen­sive com­mute for her hus­band to get to and from work in an unre­li­able vehicle.

Breanna’s hus­band lost his job, and their fam­ily doesn’t know any­one in the small town they live in. They are strug­gling to make ends meet. Bre­anna speaks of her day-to-day strug­gles with sur­viv­ing on lit­tle to no income, her desire to give her chil­dren a good life, and how dif­fi­cult it is to have to always ask for help. She explains that her sit­u­a­tion makes her feel iso­lated and depressed, about how she is unable to look towards the future because all she can see is right now is what’s in front of her. She has hope to one day be out of poverty, but she does not see how that can hap­pen or how that will look. Bre­anna talks about being “stuck” and how she hates feel­ing “less than.”

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  • The training taught me to “manage what I have better and be more aware of the stress level it causes to not be able to meet ‘your’ needs.” (Poverty Awareness Training participant)