Social Medium: A difficult summer in San Diego

The unemployment we are suffering in San Diego, budget cuts and an economic recession from which we have not yet recovered from, all affected our education this past summer.

Many low income students suffered when they found out there were no jobs available for them.

Many had to face layoffs and evictions. Others were enrolled in long lines for food stamps and unemployment offices. And many, like myself, almost begged to be hired, open to the uncertain fate of not knowing when the economic situation will improve and the ever growing possibility of living on the streets.

Multiple job applications and resumes were sent at every possible opportunity, but the chance to get a job offer in this economy was remote, and the waiting painful. Walking, riding their bikes or carefully driving due to gas prices all in search for jobs that our city does not have. Only a few were selected, creating an atmosphere of tension among many families.

According to Stocks and Economy at, “There are 14 million Americans unemployed, not only competing with each other but with 8.8 million people not counted as unemployed, but part-timers who want a full-time job.”

A part-time job as a canvasser during summer allowed me to talk to people that experience a lack of everything; people surviving on food stamps, desperate from the absence of jobs and scared to face eviction any time soon.

For them, times have been tough for years and they are still barely hanging on. Many were unemployed at every sector I canvassed, rich, poor, old and young people were aware of the lack of jobs and of an economy that has not picked up.

On my monthly visit to the Family Resource Center in Lemon Grove, I saw the number of people applying had escalated from the usual regulars. This made the tension escalate.

I witnessed a caucasian man in his early 40’s raising his voice at a caseworker and about to reach his breaking point. “I don’t want to depend on your s*** assistance,” he said. “I want to work, help me find a job please.”

For students with children, the situation has worsened. Their kids spend all day at home during the summer and they have to provide them with extra meals from their already empty refrigerators. Kids are hit hard by the current crisis because many of these households have† single parents that need to go out and search for something to provide.

Subsequently, their children are often left in the care of older brothers and sisters who also spend their time waiting for the summer to finish and are hungry to return to school to eat better and be kids. Other parents struggled deciding between having a minimum wage job that will hardly pay for childcare or stay home taking care of their kids.

On hot afternoons, in many occasions the stench of poverty filled the air as soon as a door to a home was opened. In one one-bedroom apartment two or more families are forced to live together and share expenses and 6 kids run around while none of the five adults have jobs.

The group receives $600 in food stamps each month, but with a big family of eleven, the aid usually runs out after two weeks, eating only in bulk. According to a special report from Voice of San Diego, “San Diego County ranks at or near the bottom among the state’s largest counties for providing key social welfare programs.”

People of all ethnicities are losing their jobs, their homes, many are homeless, hungry and desperate because they no longer can afford rent. They never expected to be poor, never expected to ask for assistance and they are left with no choice but to get cash any way they can to survive.

Ironically, even during this time of economic recession, only 3 out of 9 people that are eligible for welfare assistance get it.

For the people that assistance is not provided, they are confronted by situations impossible to resolve. Without any possible solutions, some will turn to prostitution; to sell drugs, others to stealing and some will just give up and commit suicide.

According to Sign on San Diego “The county Medical Examiner’s Office has attributed at least seven suicides in recent months to money troubles. Medical Examiner Glenn Wagner said such deaths may foreshadow a terrible trend if the gloomy economy continues to push people to the brink.”

In what appears to be a war on the poor and children, the low income families in San Diego watch helplessly how tragedies keep mounting while the current financial crisis is already being called the worst since the Great Depression.

With many families struggling with rent and food in a long battle of having nothing, we need solutions, not only preaching but follow-through. People are getting tired and are searching for answers; the revolution in Egypt was spark by the same things we are struggling with here in America

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Social Medium: A difficult summer in San Diego