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2014 Poverty Guidelines

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

 

 

Comments From Our Clients

For years, Athens County Job and Family Services has invited our clients to tell us about some of the challenges and struggles they face. Here are several comments from our clients, explaining in their own words some of the poverty-related issues they deal with everyday.

  • “No income and no job.   No medical card to see my family doctor.  I am homeless living back and forth with friends, family or parents.  I have no way to buy food and no vehicle.”

  • “I just lost my job and I have four children. I also don’t have a vehicle at this time. I’m struggling very badly right now to make ends meet.”

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from our clients

  • “I need help with housing. I’ve been getting help, but its’ barely enough with the cost of living in America today. For the things we are required to do for a $355 check and food stamps, our time is worth less than minimum wage for the hours we have to commit to.  I know it’s a drain on the American taxpayer, but if the rich insist on exporting our jobs to make a buck, then this condition in our country will continue and grow. Thank God for the little help we receive now.”

  • “I have been ill and unable to work. I am not able to provide my daughter with the things I wish she could have. I do not have money to put gas in the car that I borrow.  Always trying to catch up is depressing and causes more medical problems. I feel like I am letting my daughter down. If anyone thinks this type of life is fun or that we’re lazy, you have no idea."

  • “My husband previously got laid off of work and is seeking full-time employment still, and I have been unable to work due to my Multiple Sclerosis, which gives me occasional blackouts and weak muscles. We have two small children who need childcare and my daughter goes to preschool Monday through Friday. Due to current expenses and gas prices, we had to sell our vehicle and now transportation for the four of us has become stressful. My MS caused me to lose the vision in my right eye and I have a lost a lot of muscle control in my back, legs and arms. Hospital visits are complicated due to my doctor being in Columbus and arranging daycare for my little ones. Good help is hard to find, and the more support and people that help each other makes life a blessing.”

  • “I am a single mother with bipolar disorder caring for a two-year-old son on an income of $355 from OWF (Ohio Works First cash assistance) and $304 in food assistance. I struggle day by day to keep up with doctor’s appointments and to provide my son and me with food. Raising my benefits would greatly benefit our well-being at this time."

  • “Not enough money to pay rent or a deposit on a house, trailer or an apartment.  I don’t even have enough food stamps to buy enough food to feed my kids all month.  I cannot keep my vehicle maintained to get my children back and forth to their appointments.  Also, I am not able to buy clothing for my children.”

  • “It’s really hard to support my family we only receive $435.00 per month.  We can only pay our electric bill, car payment and insurance.  It’s a struggle to have gas.  I have to get diapers from a church.  It’s very depressing and causes a lot of marital issues with being broke and struggling.  I have a bachelor’s degree and still cannot find a job.  My car is broken down and I don’t have the money to fix it to go out and find work.”

  • “I am just like everyone else…I want the American Dream.  I want to own my own home, car and to live comfortably.  My family gets assistance with medical, food, cash and SSI but every month I find myself picking through my bills to figure out what I must pay now or what will be shut off.  Sometimes I go without car insurance or let my electric bill go.  My car needs several repairs but I cannot afford them.  I am lucky to have enough gas to get to work so that I can do my work requirement hours.  We get our money on the first and by the third it’s gone from paying bills then I have to find money for diapers, soap, shampoo, diapers, clothes for my kids, laundry soap, etc.”

  • “At this point in my life I am without a job and soon I will be living at the homeless shelter with my oldest son and an increase in benefits would GREATLY help me and my son.  We would be able to get back on our feet faster and that would mean that we would not require any benefits.  But as it is now we have to use these benefits just to keep surviving.  If the benefits that we are receiving could help us make the bottom line, then we would not need to use them for a long period of time. “

  • “Transportation needs. Without a vehicle, you cannot obtain a job, and without a job you cannot better your financial status. You used to have PRC for $1,000 to help with the purchase of a car.”

  • “I recently ended up homeless after leaving my abusive boyfriend.  After nearly a month’s struggle, I’ve finally gotten a friend to help me out with a place to stay, however he is very poor himself and his mom supports him, paying for his rent/bills.  Because of this he cannot afford to share food so I manage to eat by cleaning a house for a small fee but it’s not enough and I am getting unhealthy and dropped 2 pants sizes in the last month and struggle with being able to afford clothes to even fit anymore.  I am in desperate need of a hot healthy meal.”

  • “Getting back and forth to the doctor has been hard. I have no car and no money for gas. I have no heat and I do not enough food to eat. My medical coverage doesn’t cover everything."

  • “I am homeless. I have no money.  I have severe asthma and need $100.00 a month for medicine.  I need food, I need shelter.  I have no automobile.  Other than that Life’s Great!!”

  • “I lost my job, my house, my car…lost everything. I lost my job and have been getting unemployment.  Technically speaking, I have been homeless since August. I have no family and rely on friends for places to stay. Homeless shelters are full and can’t provide enough to meet the demands. I used to get medical assistance, which expired in August. Now, I can’t afford my medication, new glasses or to follow up with a doctor for my recent fainting spells. I lost my car in November. It’s hard to get a new job with no transportation and when you don’t know where you will be staying the next day.”

  • "I am financially seeing hardship when I only make $290.00 every two weeks.  I have a car payment and a telephone bill that I pay every month.  This leaves me very little money to buy groceries and personal items.  I sometimes have to pay half of my phone bill so I have enough to buy the things I need.  Medically, I have to pay out of pocket if I am sick and need to see a doctor.  When I am sick I cannot go to the doctor’s office because of the cost and the bill that it will incur by doing so.  I haven’t seen a medical doctor in three years."

  • "I cannot afford to buy food once I pay my bills.  I am struggling to pay my portion of the doctor’s appointment that Medicare does not cover, as well as paying for my prescriptions.  My vehicle has major issues and I am doing good to keep it on the road but am unable to afford to pay the necessary repairs that need made to it."

  • "I am facing the same hardships as most people in Athens County not enough money for rent, utilities, food, gas and clothing. I decided to go back to school so that I could get a better job and become self-sufficient. However, before I can finish, you are cutting every program that makes it possible to go to school. With no jobs available and social programs being cut, people (including myself) are faced with even more hardships. There has to be a better solution. Believe me, taking social programs away will not help our economy, it will do just the opposite. You need to allow us to better ourselves so that we can help support our economy. How else will the economy grow?"

  • “I am having a hard time being able to provide for my son with many things he is needs, as he is growing.  I always pay my bills first so that we do not go without any of the most important things each month, but after all my bills are paid, I feel as if we have nothing else.  I struggle every week to be able to put gas in my car, buy diapers, clothes and any other expenses that may come up.  I am happy with what assistance I receive, but I don’t believe the state understands how much my family does suffer every month while I am trying to better my life for my son and myself."

  •  “I have no hours at my work at this time and I’m only getting a $521 check. I have three kids, including one whom I have to buy diapers for. I’ve been having lots of car trouble, which took all my money this month. My daughter starts kindergarten soon and I don’t have enough money to buy my two daughters school shoes, clothes and school supplies, even book bags. So I say, with a little bit of extra money I might be able to buy my daughters the things they need. Thank you.”

  • “I have a daughter and I am a single parent. I have to pay for gas, my car is broken down now and food, which my benefits barely pay for. I live on $355 a month from the cash benefits I get from Job and Family Services, which also is barely enough for us to live on, paying rent and other expenses.”

  • “I am a single father of two, trying to care for them the best I can while trying to obtain employment.  I have no help besides housing by my relatives.  I am left to pay for medical, food expenses and with no employment at the same time.”

  • “I am a waitress at a local restaurant and my wages depends on people’s generosity to leave tips.  When the economy is struggling it affects me and everyone in this kind of job.  I make $2.15 per hour plus tips.  I am lucky to have a paycheck of $50.00-$60.00 every two weeks.  It would be nice if we made minimum wage plus tips.  I don’t know how people with children and families live.”

  • “My biggest problem is transportation, gas for transportation to and from doctor’s appointments. For the past 4 to 5 months, I ran out of food. I have four kids in the household for the first time in my life.  I’m 38-years-old and my kids were hungry. No way to get help transportation-wise, and twice there were no food boxes left to get. The food just isn’t lasting as long as it was before. And I’ve talked with the other people. It’s not just me. They are experiencing similar problems. This also makes it hard to pay other bills like electric, etc., because I’m spending more money on food.”

  • “We have trouble with gas, food, utilities and household items. Our vehicle needs front end work done. I support seven people on $8 an hour. I only get 15 to 36 hours a week. My kids deserve to have stuff, but I can’t provide them with it because money is so tight. We are thankful for what help we do get, it’s just never enough. It’s especially tough at the end of the month when you are out of milk or cereal or bread and have no money to buy any.”

  • “I am a single mother of a three year old. I work 8-5, Monday – Friday. I am living in a trailer that I pay $600 a month for, plus all utilities.  After everything is paid and I buy gas and groceries, I have nothing left. Usually I am in the negative and borrow money to keep afloat.  I feel that the social service department was made for people like me; people who get up every morning and try to do better, people who are here NOT to take advantage of the system, but people who are just looking for a little assistance. Hopefully, one day in the near future, I will not need to rely on supplements and it will be available for someone else in need.”

  • “I am a single mother with bipolar disorder caring for a two-year-old son on an income of $355 from OWF (Ohio Works First cash assistance) and $304 in food assistance. I struggle day by day to keep up with doctor’s appointments and to provide my son and me with food. Raising my benefits would greatly benefit our well-being at this time.”

  • “I face daily struggles because I have been unable to find work. I don’t have food stamps currently, just a medical card. Going to food banks is not what I want to rely on. There are people who need it worse than me, but I still need to eat, too. I have worked before and still was unable to provide enough for me and my four children. I’m currently pregnant and have my utilities off because I have no income. I used all of my OWF (Ohio Works First cash assistance) up and still need help with things. I even filed for SSI and got denied. I hope I can get help soon. It’s sad, the ones who really need it don’t get it, and the ones who don’t need it get help.”

  • “Right now, our family is given $563 for cash assistance. There are two adults and four children in our home. Our rent alone is $500 a month and we are responsible for gas and electric as well. Because we do not even receive enough in cash right now to pay our current rent and utilities, we are unable to get a bigger home, either. We right now live in a two bedroom apartment.”

  • “Jobs in southeast Ohio are very slim.  Although the help I get is greatly appreciated, it is very hard to make ends meet. My son has a lot of doctors’ appointments, psych appointments, etc., It’s hard to get to all of them due to gas prices. The food stamps usually run out by the third week of the month. With milk at $4 a gallon, it is hard to stretch them. Everything has raised so tremendously, gas, food and taxables.”

  • “I get enough money from OWF (Ohio Works First cash assistance) to pay my rent, which leaves all my other important bills out, or I have to choose what to pay to keep from being evicted or disconnected. My car insurance got cancelled and my license got pulled because of getting pulled over on my way to work off my hours for OWF. Being a single mom of a one-year-old and an eight-year-old, losing my job has been the biggest nightmare of my life. Not being able to get a job is the other, and trying to find a way to keep my bills paid and food on the table for my kids is the most important thing to me. I go hungry at times so they don’t have to.”

  • “Currently, my hardships are that I have no job and am having a hard time finding work. As a result, I have no home, I just have to bounce around from place to place and stay with my friends. I also have no money to pay for groceries or food at all. I won’t need help for long, but at the moment I would really appreciate it.”

  • “After losing my job with a national auto parts chain and exhausting my unemployment benefits, I have been unable to find a job. My wife had to retire early because of health issues from her job, where we got our insurance benefits. So at the age of 61, we have to depend on my father-in-law for food and shelter. We have no insurance to cover some pretty serious health issues. We both do without medications we need because we can’t afford to buy it. So we have no income, no insurance and maybe no food. We aren’t old enough to receive Social Security or Medicare, so what happens to us now?”


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