Profile of a Low-income Household in Our Neighborhood
Our recently formed “humanKIND Eau Claire” project, as part of our Neighborhood Association, offers this interview of a pair of our Neighbors who are each other’s best friend. They had couch surfed or closet surfed in our area for about 4 years. Now they found an apartment that they can barely afford because it is the kind of unit that if you complained about a code violation the owner would evict
Their perception of Eau Claire is that it takes money to participate; money they don’t have. They feel judged as they walk in the community, let alone when they experiment with being more involved. The bike trails are great. No veterinarian in the larger area will accept payments for needed pet care.
These are lovely folks you don’t ask what their favorite ice cream flavor is or where they like to go out to eat. These are luxuries they haven’t afforded for years.
These are folks who have survived living in a tent for the winter. One was born poor so knows how to pinch pennies; the other, also with a disability, quickly learned. One’s disability has prevented gainful work all that person’s adult life, getting by through scavenging. That person avoids police contact due to non-payment of child support from decades ago. Past law enforcement contacts have resulted is a few months in jail, having had no ability to pay for decades. Imprisonment with such a disability makes it hell. Yes, Eau Claire does have a “debtor’s prison”.
These folks find ways to be helpful to the community as best they can. However, they feel judged and/or ignored. They have fallen through many “cracks”. They’d welcome a smile and a welcoming hello when you see them in the neighborhood.