When the Safety Net Isn't There

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We all want to believe there are social safety nets that will prevent our most vulnerable from falling through the cracks created by poverty and economic insecurity. But, the reality is that almost half of Americans could not cover an emergency expense of $400 or less. We live in a time of great economic isolation for which safety nets no longer exist.

Consider the case of Mark. He and his family were ready for a new start. They recently relocated to Southern California to get away from a difficult situation and found themselves facing the stark reality that there are few jobs in the Riverside area and even fewer affordable rental options. By the time Mark had secured a position, their savings were wiped out by the reality that motels are not the most affordable means of housing, but they do provide refuge for those who are living on the margins. Sadly, it is a very expensive refuge, so even though Mark was now employed, he was unable to make the transition back into rental housing.

Mark is a hard worker with a heart for humanity. The job he secured was with a non-profit focused on assisting the homeless to find shelter. Mark gained this job because he had already been volunteering with the non-profit as much as 30 hours a week, so when a position became open, the director of that group hired him right away.

This story is all too common in today’s world. Too many are locked out of the housing market, forcing people to find unaffordable alternatives that provide a roof for one night, or a week, or a month. But these are not sustainable options. In the same vein, Mark and his family squeaked by financially because his wife and her children received disability support from the government. This is small consolation for those who find themselves mainly locked out of the labor market, often because a lack of affordable health care left them unable to work.

This is where the story of Mark and the story of Common Change converge. The director of the non-profit where Mark had begun work was a member of a Common Change community, where we are dedicated to “pooling money with people you know to share with people you care about.” That member was able to bring Mark’s need to the group because he shared a relational connection to both Mark and to the Common Change community. The opportunity was discussed, and the group agreed to help meet the need.

Our relationship with Mark is one of the ways Common Change is helping to eliminate personal economic isolation. To learn more about Common Change’s collaborative giving tools and training, request a free online demo.

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