THE US HOMELESS HOUSING CRISIS

 

The Crisis of Homelessness
The US homeless housing crisis today affects over a half a million people, both individuals and families. This post is one of a series of blog posts, The Poor Middle Class Crisis.
homeless housing crisis
The U.S. Cities With The Largest Homeless Populations by Niall McCarthy from Forbes.com

This post:
• introduces the homeless housing crisis itself
• is a vehicle for the public to become more aware of this crisis
• provides resources of services that are available to the homeless
• is part of the goal to help end homelessness

Mark Horvath and Invisible People Fighting Homelessness

 

How I Am Different From A Homeless Person or Family
What makes me different from a homeless person? I still have dignity, self-respect and a sense of belonging. Other people treat me with respect. I have a roof over my head and my name is on the lease. Without that roof and a permanent address, I become part of the homeless housing crisis community. This can lead to the loss of many other qualities of life. We take so many things for granted. Things like:
• having a dwelling with several rooms
• accessing a kitchen to cook in
• sleeping in a warm bed
• taking regular baths or showers
• grooming oneself regularly
• washing clothes
• having medical and dental care

Without these amenities, one can spiral down, beginning to look and even feel different. A homeless person can become so different that they ultimately become invisible to the rest of the world.

Invisible People
Mark Horvath, a champion for the homeless, calls the homeless, Invisible People. He seeks to end the homeless housing crisis in his lifetime.
homeless housing crisis
Smartphone & Social Media: A Solution to Combat Homelessness | TEDxSyracuseUniversity

 
A Homeless Spokesperson
This video bring out some crucial issues. Certain things are needed by a homeless person to become employed again. The public thinks these are luxuries. They are not. Everyone needs a cell phone and a laptop. Both the employed and those seeking employment need them for their work.

Smartphone & Social Media: A Solution to Combat Homelessness | TEDxSyracuseUniversity

 

A Homeless Person’s Lifeline
Social media, a cell phone and iPad in particular are the lifelines for a homeless person. They are often the sole means of communication with another person. It may be a family member, a friend, another homeless person, calling for help or a ‘warm line’ to hear a friendly voice at the other end of the line.
homeless housing crisis
James new smart phone from ‘Smartphone & Social Media: A Solution to Combat Homelessness | TEDxSyracuseUniversity’

 

Essentials For The Homeless Individual
Besides the ‘life and death’ things like food, shelter, clothes, blankets and medical care, these are also essentials for survival when someone is homeless:
• clean socks
• a place to receive mail like a PO Box
• a cell phone and laptop
• access to a cell phone ‘warm line’
• knowledge of wifi hot spots

Emily and her children

Shelter For The Homeless Individual or Family
Many homeless people agree that official homeless shelters are not the best place to stay. As a result, homeless groups band together to seek safe, optional homeless housing. Protected, warm spaces are the priority. The homeless create homeless housing communities like tent cities. Groups gather within the infrastructure under bridges. Abandoned tunnels are popular homeless dwellings. Assistance organizations do exist in some states. There are homeless housing programs for veterans, as well. Families are put in temporary hotel housing. But much more needs to be done to eliminate homelessness in the US.

 

How To Help End Homelessness
We can help end homelessness:
Donate to InvisiblePeople.tv.
• Increase awareness about the homeless housing crisis
• Speak in public about homelessness in our communities
• Hold a presentation about Invisible People
• Contact our elected officials

The federal government has been working on a plan to end homelessness. Ask them how the plan is coming along. You can read a print version of the plan here.
Opening Doors: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness

Remember, the only concrete difference between is and most homeless people or families started with one thing. We still have our own roof over our heads. Someone who is homeless has lost theirs.

homeless housing crisis
Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan To Prevent And End Homelessness

 

 

 

Sources & Resources
Facebook | Mark Horvath

LinkedIn | Mark Horvath

Twitter | Mark Horvath

Invisible People – Changing The Story of Homelessness

About – Invisible People

Invisible People.tv | speaking and consulting

Emily and Her Children Are Homeless in a Family Hotel

From Invisible People: Sandra Is Homeless In New Orleans

Get To Know Mark Horvath Keynote Speaker, Founder of Invisible People

Former Homeless Man’s Videos Profile Life On Street : NPR

Mark Horvath | The Huffington Post

Kern County bill paying assitance

Homeless Veteran Reintegration Project

Homeless camp shows divide between rich and the poor

The Cities With The Largest Homeless Populations

2016 Homeless Statistics

People experiencing chronic homelessness

Opening Doors

Continue Reading

POOR MIDDLE CLASS ALTERNATIVE LIVING RESOURCES

 

An Introduction To Unusual Living Possibilities
This post follows, Affordable Housing. Some of the ideas for alternative living resources are fascinating. They are definite considerations if they fit one’s lifestyle or goals. As I had mentioned in the first part of this series, some information would be geared to seniors. Most of these ideas are for younger people or for the young at heart.
alternative housing resources
House Sitting Australia from TrustedHouseSitters.com

Live Rent Free
Here are some alternative housing resources that are unique lifestyle options. Tips from the Yes, You Can Live Rent Free.
• Farm Livin’
• Fun With Fido
• Share A Home
• Work As A Nanny Or Au Pair
• Volunteer for Uncle Sam
• Move Back In With Mom and Dad
alternative housing resources
Yes, You Can Live Rent Free from Kiplinger’s Magazine by Lisa Elaine Babb

Invest In A Tiny Home
Tiny homes have become quite a craze. They are much smaller than a regular home. They cost much less. Therefore, they usually do not require financing. The can be mobile. They are available premade or custom built. Due to the nature of a tiny home, it is possible to become a homeowner at a very reasonable cost, for tens of thousands instead of hundreds of thousands of dollars. This allow their owner to have more mobility with their funds and their home. There are a huge number of links about tiny homes on Google. My favorite company is Tiny Heirlooms. HGTV and the DIY Channel both have shows about Tiny Homes.
alternative living resources
A Tiny Home Design from The Tiny Heirloom Company

I am a huge fan of tiny homes. The possibilities are endless. Vintage vans conversions fascinate me. Although at this point in my life I am not seeking to make a tiny house my primary home. As a ‘woman cave’ retreat in the woods, one would be ideal. The Franklin Vintage Caravan is a great example of one. Enjoy this video of the renovation project. View photos by Images © Jesz Carroll/YouTube at The Franklin Vintage Caravan Tiny House

Relocate to A Cheaper Area, State or Another Country
Either for a change of scenery or because someone lives on a fixed income, relocating can be a good alternative. There are online resources for all of these options. Chambers of Commerce are a good source of information. Websites for potential expats are as well.
alternative housing resources
From Expat Exchange: 10 Tips for Living in Colombia

 

 

 

Sources and Resources
My Financial Survival Toolkit from The Viper Tool Storage Company

Yes, You Can Live Rent-Free

Trusted Housesitters

House To Establish Financial Independence

Tiny Heirlooms

The Tiny Heirloom TV Show on The HGTV Network

Tiny House Talk

The Oceanside Retreat, A Tiny Colonial Wonder

Tiny House Newsletter

Simply Enough

Blue Ridge Mountains Simply Enough Tiny Home

Pink Tiny House in Portland, Oregon

10 Tips for Living in Colombia

International Living

Retiring In Belize

Retire in Costa Rica

Continue Reading

POOR MIDDLE CLASS AFFORDABLE HOUSING

 

Affordable Housing
Poor Middle Class Affordable Housing is hard to find. But it is a top financial survival toolkit priority. Without it, poor middle class people can fall into the following crises:
• unable to pay bills
• end up in debt
• go hungry nutritionally by eat mostly cheap, unhealthy food
• become homeless
• unable to get proper medical care
• suffer from all of the above

What Is Affordable Housing?
According to Wikipedia, affordable housing is:
affordable housing
The Definition of Affordable Housing According To Wikipedia.com

Finding Affordable Housing
Our search for poor middle class affordable housing was a nightmare. In fact, it was the hardest part of our financial survival journey. This is because of the following aspects of it:
• the amount of paperwork involved
• a time-consuming application process
• the bureaucratic qualification procedure
• pressure due to our tight deadline

poor middle class affordable housing available by lottery or application
Affordable Housing Available by Lottery and Application from http://www.nyshcr.org/

What Is Subsidized Housing?
According to Wikipedia, subsidized housing is:
• a government sponsored system of economic assistance programs
• designed to alleviate housing costs and expenses
• meant for people in need
• designed for low to moderate income families, seniors and the disabled
• often called, ‘affordable housing’ in the United States

According to Wikipedia, subsidized housing is:

affordable housing
A definition of Subsidized Housing according to Wikipedia

Subsidized Housing Programs
There are several forms of subsidies:
• direct housing subsidies
• non-profit housing
• public housing
• rent supplements
• some forms of co-operative and private sector housing

affordable housing
Section 8 Housing In The South Bronx from Wikipedia.com. Photo by Jim.Henderson

Those who qualify to apply for subsidized housing must be:
• Families in financial need
• Seniors aged 55 and above
• Disabled people over a certain age

There are two types of management, either government or privately run.

What is Senior Housing?
Senior housing is housing available to independent seniors, aged 55 and older. It is usually subsidized. As a result, it is more affordable than market value housing.
affordable housing
Independent Senior Living Defined by Wikipedia.com

Seeking Senior Housing
There is a huge amount of research and paperwork involved in applying for senior housing. In fact, it is the worst part of the process for us. Each housing project requires its own application. Because of this, I was very overwhelmed. Just the thought of it stopped me from applying originally. But eventually, relocation became an emergency. We were hard pressed to find an affordable place to live. Because municipal senior housing units had several years waiting lists, we did not know what to do. We were on the verge of homelessness.

Here is our strong recommendation. Don’t let this happen to you. Apply for senior housing years before you think you may need it.

Poor Middle Class Affordable Housing
Affordable Senior Housing Becomes Scarce As Boomers Age from SocialSolutions.com

Fortunately, a private senior facility had a vacant unit. Much to our relief, we were accepted within two weeks. But there was one drawback. The only units available were studio apartments. In spite of the size, we grabbed one. As a result, we were set up in our new home within a few weeks. After that, it took another two and a half years to get a one bedroom apartment. When that happened, we felt like we had moved into a palace. In the summertime, we see nothing but tree. It feels like we live in a tree house. It is like heaven.

section 8 is considered affordable housing
Housing Choice Voucher Program, Section 8 Housing from HUD.gov

Section 8 Housing Vouchers
Large apartments buildings and multi-family homes accept Section 8 Housing Vouchers. According to Wikipedia:
poor middle class affodable housing
Section 8 Housing According to Wikipedia

A New Home
Our subsidized apartment is modest. There is no dishwasher. In addition to that, there is no terrace or yard for growing food. There is nowhere to make a compost heap for food garbage. But best of all, having a roof over our heads is a blessing. In addition, we have made a home here. There is a saying, ‘home is where the heart is’.

The next post, Alternative Living Resources begins exploring unique housing opportunities.

affordable housing
‘Home Is Where The Heart Is’ Amish Quilt

 

 

 

Sources & Resources
Viper Tool Storage Company

Subsidized Housing

Affordable Housing

Latest Affordable Housing in NYC Thanks to Mayor di Blasio

Section 8 Housing Voucher Program

Affordable rental units

Affordable Housing

Deal Aims to Keep a Former Welfare Hotel in Manhattan Affordable

Housing Search in NYS

Section 8 Housing Voucher Program

What Is Independent Senior Living?

Affordable Senior Housing Becomes Scarce As Boomers Age

10 Places to Retire and Pay Less Taxes
Senior Living Guide

‘Home Is Where The Heart Is’, Amish Quilt

Continue Reading

POOR MIDDLE CLASS HOUSING ALTERNATIVES

 

Poor Middle Class Housing Alternatives
This is a continuation of the last post, The Poor Middle Class Housing Crisis. In this post, poor middle class housing alternatives are presented. This can involve some ‘out of the box thinking’ solutions. These tools can include:
• Downsize possessions
• Buy or rent a smaller home
• Rent subsidized or senior housing
• Find Ways To Live Rent Free
• Invest In A Tiny House
• Relocate to a cheaper area, state or country
• Live off the grid

poor middle class housing alternatives
Self Storage in America from Slate article by Tom Vanderbilt

Downsizing
Have you ever noticed how many storage facilities there are? This has become a booming industry. We have too much stuff and we don’t know how to part with it. So we rent space to horde it. My rule of thumb is this. If you feel the need to rent a storage space for your overflow of belongings, don’t. Downsize instead.
• Donate possessions to the Salvation Army or other charity
• Give things to your children or someone you know who wants and needs them
• Have a garage sale
• Sell things online
• Buy or rent to a smaller, less expensive residence

Buy Or Rent A Smaller Home
It is much easier to go bigger than smaller. But for the poor middle class, the latter may be a necessity. It may be difficult emotionally to let go of a treasured home. But would you rather be in debt in a home you adore or be solvent in a house you can afford? For those in crisis as part of the poor middle class in the US, when it comes to housing selling and downsizing may be the only way to go. Even for those not in crisis, more modest living can open more doors than it closes, financially.

poor middle class housing alternatives
Large House for Sale from USA Today

Subsidized Housing
I have found this to be the most challenging, time consuming and confusing of all the tools for the poor middle class financial survival toolkit. Because of this, I feel that an entire blog post needs to be dedicated to this issue. In addition, the other tools will also be on an additional post. ‘Out of the box’ alternative housing is for the poor middle class of all ages, not only seniors.
• Live Rent Free
• Invest in a Tiny House
• Relocate to another area, cheaper state or another country
• Live Off The Grid

This housing discussion continues with the post, Affordable Housing.

 

 

 

Sources and Resources
Self-Storage Nation

The Viper Tool Storage Company

3 money smart reasons to donwsize

Home Downsizing 101

The Upside of Downsizing Your Home

California Billionaire Proposes Housing The Homeless In Shipping Containers

International Living

Continue Reading

THE POOR MIDDLE CLASS HOUSING CRISIS

 

HOUSING THE POOR MIDDLE CLASS
Safe, affordable housing is the foundation for poor middle class survival. How to find and create safe, affordable housing is the focus of this and several additional post in this series. But first, let’s look at housing from both a traditional, indigenous perspective and the modern, industrialized crisis it has become today.

TRADITIONAL INDIGENOUS HOUSING
There was a time, and still is a time when indigenous cultures build their own shelters. They use the materials at hand. To us ‘civilized’ folks, their homes may pale in comparison what the poor middle class have in the US. But when looked at from a different perspective, who is the poorer and who is the richer? The above photos display what I consider rustic but magnificent shelters. They are clean, dignified, well constructed and proudly held by their makers.

poor middle class housing
Indigenous, Traditional Shelters from Pinterest

THE CRISIS IN HOUSING
But ‘civilization’ brought about by our industrial age has changed all that in some place. Detroit, for example is a casualty of the demise of the auto manufacturing industry in that city. The working class, once gainfully employed as auto workers have been replaced by the poor middle class. They have fled the city. Anyone who can has left that city. It was left in ruins.

poor middle class housing crisis
Foreclosed Housing on Zillow

A TWO-FOLD CRISIS
But the crisis is two-fold. It is about foreclosure on the homes of the poor middle class due to the inability to pay their mortgages. It then also becomes about finding housing that is affordable, safe and decent. This brings us to the next part of the crisis. It is the need for alternative housing for the poor middle class due to a change in lifestyle affordability.

poor middle class housing
Foreclosure Defense from Christie D. Arkovich, P.A.

THE DOWNWARD LIFESTYLE JOURNEY
One of the most difficult parts of becoming a member of the poor middle class is that it is a downward lifestyle journey. This process involves letting go of new, even luxurious material things that we could once provide for ourselves. Then there needs to be an admission of needing help and an acceptance of getting that help from others. This is not glamourous. I have found that it can feel very humiliating. Then it becomes humbling because it is about survival.

ALTERNATIVE HOUSING
Alternative housing can involve pursuing traditional means of seeking less expensive housing. It can also involve some ‘out of the box thinking’ solutions. Either way all are potential and important tools to have in our Poor Middle Class Financial Survival ToolKit. They can include:
• Downsizing to a smaller residence
• Subsidized and senior housing
• Tiny Houses
• Living off the grid
• Moving to a cheaper area, state or country

A discussion about poor middle class housing resources begins in the next post, Poor Middle Class Alternative Housing.

 

 

 

SOURCES & RESOURCES
Dealing With Foreclosure

In Today’s Market, We’re A Hot Commodity

Foreclosed Housing on Zillow

Continue Reading

MORE ABOUT POOR MIDDLE CLASS FINANCIAL SURVIVAL TOOLS

 

MORE ABOUT FINANCIAL SURVIVAL TOOLS
I continue to refine and gather more financial survival tools for my middle class poor financial survival toolkit. I have to. Financial survival continues to be more challenging. Social Security will go up $5 for us on January 1, 2017. Our cable bill went up $6. So we will start 2017 with a dollar less. Situations like this require continual accumulation of new financial survival tools.

savings tips for the poor middle class
Large Change Jar from YouTube.com

MAJOR CATEGORIES AND FINANCIAL SURVIVAL RESOURCES
First I would like to mention some general tools. Then I will get into major expense categories and tools that are specific to them. Here are some general tips:
• save change in as large a bottle as you can find
• avoid monthly fee checking accounts
• avoid credit card fees
• join groups that offer discounts to members
• make use of discounts you are entitled to for being a member for a particular organization such as AARP, the military and many more
• buy in bulk, only when things are on sale and always look for discounts
• make a purchase with a no fee promotion credit card that requires set payments over time
• use EBATES, GROUPON, etc.

REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE
BOTTLE REFUNDS This is probably one of the most important resources for not only the poor middle class but everyone. Redemption of bottles and cans is probably one of the best known tools for creating income through recycling. People in all kinds of circumstances do it. You paid for the bottle. You deserve to get the fee back whenever you can. Those nickels will add up. This is not income and it is not taxable. You are just getting back money you already paid out.

recycling as a poor middle class financial survival tool
Bottle and can recycling machines from recycle | ecycler

CLOTHES, FURNITURE AND HOUSEHOLD ITEMS
Depending upon your financial status, you can make use of food pantries. They often have clothes in addition to food. For people who can afford to pay, thrift stores are a great resource for finding furniture and all kinds of household items.

TRAVEL
Refer to the post The Poor Middle Class Financial Survival Toolkit to learn about using travel specific credit cards.

PERSONAL EXPENSES
Clipped paper coupons, online coupons and text discounts proliferate. Get into the habit of only buying things on sale for a discount.

HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS EXPENSES
I learned to make my own laundry detergent. It is amazing how much money it saves. The guideline is to make your own whenever you can instead of buying prepared products. It is easier than you think and saves so much money.

SHELTER, FOOD AND HEALTHCARE
These are three categories that can be the major areas of expenses in the budget of a member of the poor middle class. They are so important that a separate blog posts will be devoted to them.

financial survival tools for poor middle class
Discount coupons from Google

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This series continues with, The Poor Middle Class Housing Crisis

 

 

 

SOURCES & RESOURCES
Save on Household Expenses

Change in a Five Gallon Water Jar

Save Money at CVS

Best List of Senior Discounts

Best List of Senior Discounts for Restaurants

Military and Veteran Discounts

AARP list of discounts

Shop At Home

Buy Second Hand Clothes Online

Continue Reading

A BUDGET IS A CRUCIAL FINANCIAL SURVIVAL TOOL FOR THE POOR MIDDLE CLASS

 

The Importance of A Budget

Creating and sticking to a budget is the poor middle class financial survival tool that allows for clarity and transparency. It is crucial. The best way to start is with pencil and paper. Determine your major budget categories. Transferring them to a computerized bookkeeping program is simple. We have actually set up our computerized bookkeeping system based on the following categories plus additional subcategories. It works very well for us. But you can stay with a manual spreadsheet if you prefer.

How to set up a budget
Free Online Accounting & Bookkeeping service from www.accountingdiy.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Setting Up Expense Categories

This is how we have been able to come up with a budget. We set up a bookkeeping system. First, we add up our income. From there, we have a clear picture of how much there is available to spend. Then we set up our expense categories. Everyone has their own profile based on their life, family and needs. These are the major categories we use:
• HOME
• FOOD
• TRANSPORTATION
• PERSONAL
• FUN, ENTERTAINMENT & VACATION

Within each of these major categories, we have set of subcategories that reflect our expenses:

HOME
• Rent
• Household
• Utilities

Budget for housing is a crucial financial survival tool
Senior Housing from https://mortgagelawyers.wordpress.com/2010/12/07/distressed-underperforming-senior-housing-projects-turnaround-management-loan-workouts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOOD
• Groceries
• Breakfast/Lunch/Snacks

A Food Budget is a crucial Financial Survival tool
Cartoon Food from Clipart kid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRANSPORTATION
• Auto Insurance
• Gas
• Maintenance
• Public transit

A budget for transportation is a financial survival tool
Transportation from Dreamstime.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PERSONAL-HUSBAND & WIFE (EACH HAS THEIR OWN LISTING BUT WITH THE SAME CATEGORIES)
• Personal items/hobby
• Rx copay
• Medical
• Dental Care
• Supplements
• Life Insurance

A budget for the family is an essential tool for the financial survival toolkit
Man and woman on the couch from Dreamstime.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FUN
• Eat Out/Celebrate
• Entertainment/Culture
• Vacation

a budget for fun, entertainment and vacation are essential for a financial survival toolkit
Island Vacation – Cartoon Island With Seagulls from 123RF.com

What’s Next?

You may find, as we have, that your expenses exceed your income. As seniors on fixed incomes, as young people working more hours but earning little money, as breadwinners who has lost their livelihood, this may be your challenge too. The additional posts in this blog series will be devoted to a solution. That solution is building and implementing your financial survival toolkit.

 

 

 

Sources & Resources

Debt Free Adventure

Beginner Bookkeeping

Debtors Anonymous

Senior Housing Turnarounds

The Viper Tool Storage Company

Continue Reading

THE POOR MIDDLE CLASS CRISIS: Introduction

 

INTRODUCTION
The Poor Middle Class Crisis is the story of The Poor Middle Class. It is designed to be a resources guide for the Financial Survival of the Poor Middle Class. This guide is an instruction manual for building resources known as a ‘financial survival toolkit’. It also encourages readers to start or find and participate in a ‘financial survival support group or community’.

The Poor Middle Class, itself, is a relatively new phenomenon. Our personal membership was precipitated by the 2008 stock market crash the same week as a primary income earners job layoff. For others families, becoming affected by the poor middle class crisis may have been due to the subprime mortgage scandal. It cost many families their homes. The Poor Middle Class are composed of people who were once middle class, who likely have college degrees or advanced degrees, had careers and good jobs, had homes with equity in them, had pensions, had good health insurance and savings.

the poor middle class blog
45 million Americans rely on food stamps, 1 million about to lose them – report from @Jim Young/Reuters

The Challenge for The Poor Middle Class
Financial survival has become a critical issue for the Poor Middle Class. This is a crisis that has led to the growing need for new, resourceful financial survival tools. These tools are not exclusive to one demographic, one age group, a particular sex, or one location. But because I am a ‘senior’ living in New York State, some of the tools and resources may apply specifically to people in this demographic.

As a result, I especially welcome your comments and additional suggestions to expand the resources for anyone’s financial survival toolkit. Therefore, I invite you to visit and participate in my companion Facebook page, The Poor Middle Class Crisis & Resources.

poor middle class crisis
‘The Secret Shame of Middle Class Americans’ from ‘My Secret Shame’ from The Atlantic by Neal Gabler

Financial Survival
Now, we have almost nothing left of that life. But we are not technically poor. Therefore we do not qualify for the level of government benefits reserved for those living in poverty. But we are no longer middle class, either. We are in a place where we cannot meet the obligations of a middle class lifestyle. But we are not poor enough to get enough assistance to survive, either. We also are unable to find or maintain jobs like we had before the financial crisis began. The result is that we need to become very resourceful to survive. Therefore, I needed to gather new financial survival resources. I have created a ‘Financial Survival ToolKit’ in my mind to transform this crisis into an adventure rather than a place of fear.

poor middle class crisis
From ‘Americans on Food Stamps’

My Financial Survival Toolkit
It has taken me years to compile the resources, tips and suggestions I have in my financial survival toolkit. In addition, I continue to add to it. I am a visual person so I find it helpful to choose visual tools to help me implement concepts and ideas. I love the cabinets and tool boxes created by the The Viper Tool Storage Company. Therefore I chose one of their set ups to be my virtual financial survival toolkit. Many of my real tools are based on my own experience. Some are based on ideas and tips I have gathered on my financial survival journey. There may be resources that you already use. Other tips and tools may be new, hopefully useful suggestions. I also welcome any input and suggestions you may have. Please enter them in the comments section.

 financial survival toolkit for the poor middle class crisis
A Financial Survival Toolkit for gathering all my Finaincial Survival Tools that can be bougt at the Viper Tool Storage Company in mnay cheerful colors

Financial Overview
I keep an overview of my monthly finances at all times. This means that I monitor my income and expenses with the benefit of online banking, automatic bill paying and computerized bookkeeping. It includes payment of most of my bills by autopay after my monthly income becomes available. There is a flow to all of this. It has taken me some time to create a system to coordinate the ins and outs of it. Sometimes I feel like a juggler. At other times, I still feel like a beginner.

The Poor Middle Class Crisis And Solutions
There are plenty of financial survival tools following this post in the series, The Poor Middle Class. The next post is A BUDGET: THE MOST ESSENTIAL FINANCIAL SURVIVAL TOOL FOR THE POOR MIDDLE CLASS. Read it and others on The Alison D. Gilbert Blog.

 

 

 

Sources & Resources
I’m Middle Class and Poor: It wasn’t supposed to be that way

5 Charts That Show How the Middle Class Are Disappearing

Americans on Foodstamps

Subprime Mortgage Crisis

Lest We Forget: Why We Had A Financial Crisis

The Secret Shame of Middle Class Americans

My Secret Shame from The Atlantic by Neal Gabler

Your Stories of Financial Struggle

Americans are trapped in a ‘cycle’ of financial insecurity

Young Invincibles, Financial Health

Report on Financial Health of Young Americans

How To Combat The Senior Poverty Epidemic

White Working Class Poverty

Parents Taking on Child’s College Debt and Putting Themselves at Financial Risk

5 Great Jobs for Retirees

Viper Tool Storage Box aka My Financial Survival Toolkit

Continue Reading

NEVER GIVE UP WITHOUT A FIGHT, One Man’s Battle to Survive Leukemia and the Music Business, Written by Lee Heiman

Never Give Up Without A Fight, A True Story by Lee Heiman
Never Give Up Without A Fight, One Man’s Battle to Survive Leukemia and the Music Business, A True Story by Lee Heiman
A Book Review by Alison D. Gilbert

When I attempt to read a book, it is usually like climbing a mountain. I struggle through each paragraph like a mountain climber attempting to secure his footing to take the next step. Unlike a mountain climber determined to reach his goal, I usually give up after a few pages. Sometimes I will breeze through with what I call ‘the fan approach’ stopping at pages along the way. Sometimes I just take a look at the small type and quit.

‘Never Give Up Without A Fight, One Man’s Battle to Survive Leukemia and the Music Business’ is that once-in-a-great-while experience I have when I read a book. I can’t put it down.

Then I asked myself, ‘is it because I know the author, Lee Heiman since seventh grade in Long Beach, New York and was curious about his life since high school? Or is it because the book is so damn engaging?’ I confess, it may be a combination of both. But only a reader who does not know this driven, risk taker will know which it is.
 

A Mesmerizing Story

I think that everyone will be mesmerized by this story. Lee’s indomitable spirit exhibited through his six month hospital stay, his continuing survival from incurable cancer as well as the enviable brass with which he has also faced the music production entertainment business are all fearless and admirable qualities Lee possesses. He does not withdraw from opportunities or challenges. I was so taken by his story that I told Lee I had to write something about it to let everyone know about this mesmerizing story. The words, ‘a book review’ came out of my mouth. He gladly agreed.

The Challenges of The Music Business and Leukemia

Lee’s book seamlessly weaves a single cloth from these two major parts of his life’s journey, his experiences in the music business and his battles with incurable leukemia. It is as if one cannot exist without the other. Lee approaches both, with equanimity. He displays amazing courage and exhibits a perseverance against all odds. These are integral to his character. He faces life, good and bad, head on.

Never Give Up

Lee approaches surviving his illness with the same tenacity he approaches the music business. He gives it his all and fights as hard as he can. The odds have not always been good. Anyone in their right mind might have given up long ago just like I usually do with reading books, declaring it a losing battle. But Lee has not. This is not to say that in both areas of his life, he has had only successes and no setbacks. He still experiences ups and downs. But he never gives up.

Lee Heiman, The Author
Lee Heiman, The Author of ‘Never Give Up Without A Fight, One Man’s Battle To Survive Leukemia and the Music Business’. For more information about the author and his book, go to LeeHeiman.net
Why You Must Read This Book

You must read this book. It will renew your faith in whatever you believe in beyond yourself or instill a faith you may never have had. How he survived and continues to live with an incurable disease is a miracle. It is a miracle that is fueled by a spirit that just won’t quit.

In Conclusion

It is an honor to know Lee and to have the opportunity to write this book review. Lee is a man of substance, depth and keen sensitivity. I never knew that part of him when we were in school together. But perhaps both the fire of his adulthood and his life’s battles have set these qualities in him like ore becomes steel. It is what keeps him going. It may help to keep you going through your own challenges in life. Be sure to read, ‘Never Give Up Without A Fight’ by Lee Heiman. You will be inspired by it and feel glad you read it.

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SYNESTHESIA: A Neurological Phenomenon

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Do you know what synesthesia is? Do you know anyone who has it? Are you a synesthete? I have synesthesia. I have had it since childhood. I have always considered it to be a fun game I could play in my mind, seeing numbers in specific colors. I can sometimes still experience a correlation between days of the week with colors and numbers,too. I never told anyone about my ability until recently. I had no idea that it was unusual, had a name or was an actual brain function that some other people experienced as well. At least one in 2,000 people have this neurological phenomenon.

synesthesia
I have synesthesia. These are the colors and numbers that automatically correlate with each other in my mind.

Wikipedia description of synesthesia
“Synesthesia (also spelled synæsthesia or synaesthesia; from the Ancient Greek σύν syn, “together”, and αἴσθησις aisthēsis, “sensation”) is a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway.[1][2][3][4] People who report a lifelong history of such experiences are known as synesthetes.
In one common form of synesthesia, known as grapheme-color synesthesia or color-graphemic synesthesia, letters or numbers are perceived as inherently colored.[5][6] In spatial-sequence, or number form synesthesia, numbers, months of the year, and/or days of the week elicit precise locations in space (for example, 1980 may be “farther away” than 1990), or may appear as a three-dimensional map (clockwise or counterclockwise).[7][8] Synesthetic associations can occur in any combination and any number of senses or cognitive pathways.[9]

“Little is known about how synesthesia develops. It has been suggested that synesthesia develops during childhood when children are intensively engaged with abstract concepts for the first time.[10] This hypothesis – referred to as semantic vacuum hypothesis – explains why the most common forms of synesthesia are grapheme-color, spatial sequence and number form. These are usually the first abstract concepts that educational systems require children to learn. Only a fraction of types of synesthesia have been evaluated by scientific research.[11] Awareness of synesthetic perceptions varies from person to person.[12]”

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