There was an interesting article in the Los Angeles Times recently entitled “L.A.’s homelessness surged 75% in six years”. According to the article, “The number of those living in the streets and shelters of the city of L.A. and most of the county surged 75% — to roughly 55,000 from about 32,000 — in the last six years. (Including Glendale, Pasadena and Long Beach, which conduct their own homeless counts, the total is nearly 58,000.)”
Three out of four homeless people — 41,000 — live in cars, campers, tents and lean-tos, by far the biggest single group of unsheltered people in any U.S. city. There are plans to utilize city owned parking lots as locations for tent cities for the homeless. This should help with the congestion problems on the streets and in parks where groups of homeless individuals congregate together for companionship and security.
I had an interesting experience with a family I met with years ago to assist them with updating their food storage. They related an experience with me of how their food storage helped them save their home from foreclosure. I was intrigued on how that was possible and was very interested to hear their story.
There was a major steel plant near their city where this gentleman worked for many years. It was a time when cheap Japanese steel was being dumped on the US market and US steel makers were screaming foul and insisting the US government impose strong tariffs against foreign steel imports in an attempt to keep the playing field level.
As the government often operates, there was a lot of feet dragging, political posturing and red tape that caused many US steel plants to take drastic measures to keep from going out of business. As a result, there were many lay-offs and furloughs extended by steel plants that aided in maintaining solvency until the government finally stepped in to save the steel industry.
As a result, this gentleman lost his job with the expressed hope by his employer that he would be re-hired as soon as the cheap import issue was resolved. During this waiting period, unemployment benefits were applied for and eventually granted which provided a meager survival income for the family. Unfortunately, that income wasn’t sufficient to cover all the family needs as well as their mortgage payment.
This family was very well prepared with food storage – they had been setting food aside for years never really knowing what might cause a need to dip into their supplies. Little did they know their food storage would provide that extra level of support they needed to keep their heads above water during this trying time.
They decided to rely solely on their food storage for groceries and only go to the store for necessary paper goods, cleaning supplies and hygiene needs. As a result, the family saved over $800 per month in food costs which allowed them to put their unemployment compensation towards their mortgage, utilities and insurance. By relying on their food storage, this family was never put in the terrible position of potentially losing their home due to unemployment.
This experience was a powerful reminder to me of how important it is to follow the example of our forefathers who understood the importance of putting food aside in the event of a rainy day. They didn’t have access to unemployment compensation when things got tough, they had to rely on their own resources and their wisdom in preparing for the time when they may have to rely of what they had stored.
I think it’s very easy to take our current life-style for granted. We have to admit, we have things pretty easy. We don’t have to produce or kill our own food to survive, just make it to the grocery store. We often put more emphasis and importance of the less essential items in life – a nicer or larger home, new cars, recreational vehicles, trips – you get the idea. I think all of us have at least three basic priorities in common – a home, a car and food. But, if push came to shove, which would you prefer to go without for 60 days? A home? A car? Food?
As important as a home is, it’s not essential for survival. Some type of shelter is important but that could come from something as basic as a tent. It would be extremely challenging for a family to live in a tent, especially during the winter, but it could be done.
A car is really a luxury in many countries around the world. Here in the U.S., most of us may believe it is essential – we couldn’t survive without that critical transportation. But, once again, if circumstances dictated, we could indeed survive without a car. Even if we had to walk everywhere we needed to go, life would go on and we might just get in better shape as a result. If things were tough enough, the car could be used as a shelter.
Now let’s consider food for a minute. It doesn’t take long to realize that going without food for 60 days simply is not an option. It would be impossible – we would not survive. If fact, food is the most valuable commodity we could own as it’s one of the only ones that provide lifesaving sustenance.
Well, if this really is true, food being the most important of the three, why don’t we spend our time, energy and resources in securing enough of it to provide for our families in time of need?
We do spend our hard-earned money on procuring life insurance in the event of an untimely death. We purchase health insurance to cover the costs of extreme illness or injury. We secure homeowners insurance to protect our homes against fire, flood, earthquakes or other potential damaging occurrences. We acquire auto insurance to cover the costs of accidents and injury. But strangely enough, far too many of us neglect the most important of all – food insurance in the event of a natural disaster, economic down-turns, unemployment, sickness of deaths, war or terrorist attacks, or a combination of all of the above.
I had a close relative pass away without any life insurance and it was tragic to witness the overwhelming grief of his family and see how it was compounded by the additional financial stress that was caused by not only the ongoing lack of accustomed income, but all of the associated expenses related to his death, funeral and burial. I remember having an overpowering feeling – almost a strong urgency to increase my personal life insurance just to make sure my wife and kids never had to go through what my relatives experienced.
In a like manner, even though I’ve been in the preparedness industry for well over 30 years, I cannot stop adding to my supplies knowing the time will come I’ll be grateful I did.