Did you get a chance to read Sharon Jasper's sad, sad story? Even at this very moment, she is probably bemoaning her rundown apartment somewhere. Maybe we should take her up on her offer in the article -- and get her a tent, instead! I'll donate the first buck.
Would it be better if every state instituted a set amount of time for welfare benefits...and during that time, the recipients would be required to train for jobs, further their education (a GED is not that hard), as well as work doing SOMETHING? Sometimes you need help to get back on your feet -- I understand that. It's not easy. But our national and state budgets would benefit greatly if that help was TEMPORARY. 2-3 years, tops.
I just finished a remarkable book by Adam Shepard called SCRATCH BEGINNINGS. (Take a look at his website, http://www.scratchbeginnings.com .) Adam set himself an interesting task: taking the clothes on his back, a sleeping bag and tarp, $25, and a one-way ticket to Charleston, Adam pledged to have a job, an apartment, a vehicle, and $2500 in his bank account within a year. He didn't accomplish it -- he had all that, plus an additional $2500 in savings, by 10 months, when his mother's cancer forced him to give up the experiment and return home.
How did he do it? Making good use of a community shelter, using public and free programs, and SAVING. Dollar by dollar by dollar. Along the way, he meets people who are succeeding...and those who aren't. It's a quick, exciting read with lots of good ideas for saving money, even when your income is cut to the scraped bone. (Sometimes Adam only made $25 for 8 hours of work in a day.)
SCRATCH BEGINNINGS is not expensive. I plan to get a copy for my college-age nephew, who is just starting to find his way, and my girlies.
You can also read an interview with Adam at the http://www.getrichslowly.org site. It will be fascinating to see what this kid is doing in a decade or two!