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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Suddenly on the Skids

Today in the Los Angeles Times, artist, Robert Carter published a thought provoking ½ page color painting depicting a modern (similar to this look - see photo) “yuppie family” standing alongside homeless beggars in a “Free Soup for the Homeless” line. The article by David Colker, “Suddenly on the Skids” introduces recession readers to the number 211. It’s like 411 or 911, except you use it when you are in financial distress and in the threat of becoming homeless. 211 is suddenly receiving calls from families, who just a few months ago were making 70 – 80k a year. Now, 211 is the new consumer information guide for people in financial peril. It is available in most SoCal counties and is available 24/7. The staffers have the ability to refer callers to emergency shelters, food supplies and much more. One woman, a caller to 211 reported she had to sleep in her car the past four nights. After told that there are shelters for people like her, she said, “I thought shelters were only for people who are homeless.” Executive Director of LA County 211, M. Marin said the number of calls received each month has jumped from 30,000 last year to just over 50,000 now.

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