Understanding the Problem

Understand the Problem

If you think all it takes for someone to get off the government support system is for them to get a job, you don't really understand the problem!

Imagine you grew up in a family that has depended on the government for three to four generations (food stamps started in 1963--54 years ago!).  The family history is either low income employment or total reliance on government and community support.  

You decide you want to get a job and support your family without depending on the government or community resources.  You find out that most companies use online applications for jobs.  You don't have Internet access at home, so you go to the public library to use a computer, and have to wait your turn.  You have some computer skills, but you don't know much about online job hunting, so you have to ask for help.  You eventually find a job you want to apply for and get the application open.  You get through the first part of the application even though you know they know you live in "the poor section". Suddenly, you get to the section on your education background.  You didn't finish high school, so you get nervous.  It then asks about your work history.  You are 35 and have not had a full time job in over 15 years, so you leave it blank.  It then asks for three job references who are not related to you or friends.  What do you write?  It then asks you to list job skills, but you can't think of any.  It asks for reliable transportation and you wonder if the public bus is acceptable.  It asks for hours you are available and you wonder who will take care of your children while you are at work.  Then it asks you about your criminal record and even though you have been a model citizen for decades, you remember that you got into serious legal trouble when you were younger.  It asks if you can pass a drug test and you know that the pot you smoked last week will still show up in the test.  And all of this is IF you can read the test effectively!  So what chance does your application have?  ALMOST NONE!

IF YOU WERE HIRING, WOULD YOU HIRE YOU?  Would you even interview you?

Suppose you get the interview.
You go but knowing that they already know those things about you, you are nervous.  You find the best clothes you own or can borrow, but most likely they are secondhand or outdated.  You put on your best smile, but remember that you are missing teeth because Medicaid will only provide exams and extractions, so you lost some.  Your anxiety increases.  How can you show confidence?  

If you get the job, then what?
The stress of going to work for the first time is always rough, but you have been struggling with depression and anxiety for a long time.  The stress of work intensifies those feelings and suddenly, you have trouble even going to work.  Now what?  As soon as you report to the government offices that you are working, they decide to decrease your rent support, which increases your rent payment.  They may reduce your monthly check or your EBT amounts (food stamps) because it is based on your income.  In short, you are working, but it is costing you and your family most of what you earn!  And that is BEFORE your childcare, transportation and clothing costs!  If you save too much money to buy a car or move, you risk losing your medical coverage (Medicaid).  WHERE DO YOU START?!?!?!?

        “It” hasn’t worked because we have attempted to answer very complex issues with very simplistic responses!  
THE  problem is NOT a SINGLE problem, or even a “cycle” that we  can “break”!  
It is a combination of complex, interactive problems that create a “storm” 
of interactions that demands a coordinated, comprehensive response!
-- Rev. Rick Painter, BA, MDiv, QMHP  


1.  EFFECTIVELY ASSESS THE SITUATION. Everything you have been told about "poor people" is based on STEREOTYPES, NOT REALITY!  No two people are exactly alike, face the exact same problems, or have the same assets so NO "UNIVERSAL" APPROACH WILL WORK!!  New LifeScape starts with a comprehensive assessment of the individual including educational history, academic skills, job and life skills, mental illness/health, personal interests, support networks, and personal resources.  

  2.  DEVELOP A PLAN THAT IS UNIQUE FOR THAT SITUATION!  Their New LifeScape Plan is a series of goals and strategies that combines with a supportive network of people!

  3.  CONNECT THAT PERSON WITH A SUPPORTIVE NETWORK!  A church is more than  just a religious group!  It is designed by God himself to enable it to do what He calls it to do.  It consists of teachers, gardeners, cooks, business men, medical personnel, office staff, skilled laborers, fishermen, hunters, people who are good with money computers, cars, construction, and children.  A New LifeScape participating church is organized to provide the mentoring, encouragement, logistical support and love that a person needs to change their "lifescape".  They work together with the person to improve and carry out the New LifeScape Plan!  ALONG THE WAY, THE INDIVIDUAL CHURCH MEMBER SEES GOD WORKING THROUGH THEM TO LOVE OTHERS!  

Only the Body of Christ can provide that answer in every community!!!!!'