Living Rights

Life Isn’t Supposed to be this Hard

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By Cerise Poolman

Labor force South Africa Living Income Minimum WageI have had many conversations with people, mostly people who are in low-paying jobs without much prospects for advancement, conversations about life. The thing that everyone agrees on is that life shouldn’t be this hard. Sometimes someone might say something like “I don’t know what we can do, maybe just pray harder.” To this I will respond with something like I think that what will be more effective than prayer to make a difference is action. If we all take action together, united in the goal of making life better, then we will see great changes – and everyone agrees to this logic. I have not met one person who says “NO, action won’t change anything!” The worst thing within all of this is that this life is difficult because we make it so. The worst part is that we could change the world if we took action, but we don’t.

One of the most popular excuses I hear is that it’s “other peoples’ faults”. The world is horrible and I have a crap life because of all the a-holes in the world. There are too many people who won’t change. The world will never change when there are so many bad people. This excuse is used to justify our own inaction – because apparently any effort we make would have no results and so it’s not even worth the effort. It’s as if we’re waiting for guaranteed paths of action, unwilling to move until we are absolutely sure that what we do will actually work. In a way this is the easy way out, because standing for change means going out into the unknown, no certainty as to what lies ahead.

Here in South Africa a very large part of the workforce survives on minimum wage, well below the poverty line. A large number of people live in illegal or government housing (which doesn’t appear to be very different when you put the two next to each other). These are the people who are hurt the most by this world, who are the most vulnerable. At this stage the only ways that they can try to bring about change is through protests, sometimes violent and sometimes not. At this stage there is a diminished level of understanding as to how change can be brought about – not only by impoverished people, but by most people.

There is a serious hole in the understanding of the average citizen Joe of how the system works, and more importantly, the power that each person has. Back to South Africa, what can the impoverished and vulnerable do to change their lives? They have minimal support from public (government) and community structures – dealing with the government is like pulling teeth, but pulling the wrong one each time. These people do not know how to ask the right questions, most of the time they do not even know what their rights are and what support structures are available to them. What then can they do? They often have only limited skills in reading and writing and, if any, very limited access to public sources of knowledge such as the internet. To add to this, the leaders they are most likely to choose are the ones who stir passion in their hearts, whether the message they are giving makes sense or not. Then there is the question of those who are more privileged – how far does their responsibility extend to the underprivileged?

I would say that where one has the ability and understanding to support another then they also have the responsibility to do so. What defines ‘ability’? Resources, skills, knowledge – but to what degree? Well, let me put it this way: If you know that you can help, then it becomes your responsibility to do so. Waiting for someone else to come along and help so that you don’t have to is an abdication of your responsibility to your community – and I don’t mean ‘community’ in the smallest sense of the word, I mean it in the largest sense, the global sense.

Life isn’t supposed to be this hard. We can change it. We can help each other. We can give opportunities to each other. We can support each other to be the best we can be. It’s doesn’t start with some other guys over there – it starts with YOU and ME. WE are the change, TOGETHER we are better, stronger. We have the responsibility to support solutions that will bring heaven to Earth. We may not see the full fruits of our labours in our lifetime, but maybe our children will.

 

Promotion of and Education on a Living Income Guaranteed for South Africa.

 

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The Math is Simple: We Need a Living Income Guaranteed

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By Kelly Posey

 

Did the math - we need LIGSo I am going through my college classes, math in particular, so going over things like fractions and rations and linear equations. Being that I am now over 30 and have been living life for a while and not just fresh out of high school, and not still living at home with parents, I have actually practically applied a lot of this math within my day to day living, within things like budgeting mainly. And as I go through the course, this is actually the practical application that is shown for this math – is that it is useful for doing your own personal budgeting and such.


So we have here in this math a really cool and useful tool to be utilized in the distribution of resources and goods to everyone, the things that we need and use on a daily basis in our lives. It has helped me to figure out whether or not I can afford certain things, and just how much I can afford to pay in rent for a place to live for example. The problem comes in however when your numbers just don’t add up to being enough to provide you what you need.


It seems strange that we would allow such problems to exist where individuals can be faced with not having enough to cover all our basic needs, where no matter how you do the math, there is just no solution. You would think that we humans don’t even grasp the simplest of math to see that for so many it doesn’t add up. It’s even stranger still that there are those who would seem to even deny that such a situation exists and would imply that it is simply due to individuals not managing their money properly or living ‘within their means. But there is a bottom line that if your income is below that, you just don’t have enough and no amount of money management is going to solve that.

 

stress-worry-mental-instability-poverty-parental-stress-living-income-guaranteed_thumbInteresting that we are taught this math in school to help us with finances but not really taught that ‘hey- you might end up not actually having enough to pay all your bills though.’ I mean, maybe I would have geared up and gone to college right after high school instead of taking my chances with the ‘real world’ and trying to go straight into getting a job, if I’d had any idea that pretty much the only jobs I would have access to would be those that don’t pay enough. At the time, I was afraid to incur a huge college tuition loan, when I didn’t really even yet know what I wanted to do with my life. But if I had known that in the end I would be no better off than I was 10+ years ago, maybe I would have had a different perspective.
However, even then, it is still a numbers game. Even if you have a degree, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you won’t still end up in one of those jobs that doesn’t pay enough. Because over time, those types of jobs have been increasing, and the better paying jobs decreasing. The ones that provide better pay, decent benefits, paid leave, or any leave at all, and maybe some kind of retirement, or even pay raises. When we have heard politicians say they are making more jobs, we should have asked what kind of jobs? Ones that actually will support us? Or treat us as cheap labor?


Our economy is screaming for a Basic Income program like the
Living Income Guaranteed. Just look at the numbers. I see more and more homeless on the streets literally every day. I am approached more and more frequently by individuals asking for some money. I see more and more shops closing and vacant buildings. The signs are all around and I don’t want to wait to see how bad it gets. If we are not going to make sure that we have enough jobs that pay enough, then we need a proper support system to make sure everyone has enough for a decent life.

It only costs us more to try and help individuals once they aren’t being effectively supported by the system. We have so many costly programs that only exist to try and help the problem after it’s already been created, that often still aren’t enough to keep people on their feet. It is much more cost effective to prevent causing problems that need to be cleaned up. The numbers don’t lie so it’s about time we listen to them and make sure that everyone really is in a position to effectively work out a proper budget.

 

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LIG Hangouts with Kelly Posey

 

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Solution Oriented Mindset and LIG – “Housing First” Project

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By Garbrielle Goodrow

 

Homeless Salt Lake CityWithin then next series of blogs on the Living Income I will be discussing the solution oriented mindset of current plans and actions around the globe that are happening, and how within this capacity and even greater ones, a Living Income as proposed by the Equal Life Foundation will be able to facilitate these actions on greater scales.

An article I read tonight was about how in Salt Lake City they are implementing a change in the way they handle the homeless called “Housing First,’ where they give people an opportunity of a better life by giving them a furnished home to live in, and a more supportive environment for their transition into a new way of life. This foundational support of housing and access to health services, give them the time to be able to walk the process necessary to change their lives.

Before this program was implemented in Salt Lake City – like so many other cities – the state and police force were criminalizing homelessness and sending these unfortunate people into jail because they didn’t have a place to go. So the cycle would continue, they would arrest homeless people on the streets, in the park, or on private properties and send them to jail. Where they would get released in the morning and go back to the same locations, and then the next night would get arrested again. This obviously not making much sense nor supporting those who require support. The money that was being spent to do all of this was not being used for the purposes of supporting these people, but to put a band aid solution onto the problem that did not support either side nor was economically viable or efficient as the problem never gets solved.

“The cost of shelters, emergency-room visits, ambulances, police, and so on quickly piles up. Lloyd Pendleton, the director of Utah’s Homeless Task Force, told me of one individual whose care one year cost nearly a million dollars, and said that, with the traditional approach, the average chronically homeless person used to cost Salt Lake City more than twenty thousand dollars a year. Putting someone into permanent housing costs the state just eight thousand dollars, and that’s after you include the cost of the case managers who work with the formerly homeless to help them adjust. The same is true elsewhere. A Colorado study found that the average homeless person cost the state forty-three thousand dollars a year, while housing that person would cost just seventeen thousand dollars.” (1)

Housing First Salt Lake CitySo the cost of supporting those who are having trouble in their life versus perpetuating the same non productive cycles of using the public resources is not even making a dent on the problem, as the homeless numbers still continue to rise. Through taking the time and effort to create a plan like the one that has been implemented in Salt Lake City, it is now proven that is much more economically feasible and socially responsible to provide housing for everyone, because not only is it supporting people to create a better life, but it’s creating an environment for the community that is more equal and wholesome. No more are we seeing the problem just continue to proliferate, but there is a start of a solution put in place to support these people and in doing so also create a better life and living environment for all. These people who are getting the support of the “Housing First” program in Salt Lake City are now becoming productive citizens in their communities and are able to create a stable life for themselves and for their families.


“Housing First isn’t just cost-effective. It’s more effective, period. The old model assumed that before you could put people into permanent homes you had to deal with their underlying issues—get them to stop drinking, take their medication, and so on. Otherwise, it was thought, they’d end up back on the streets. But it’s ridiculously hard to get people to make such changes while they’re living in a shelter or on the street. ‘If you move people into permanent supportive housing first, and then give them help, it seems to work better,’ Nan Roman, the president and C.E.O. of the National Alliance for Homelessness, told me. ‘It’s intuitive, in a way. People do better when they have stability.’ Utah’s first pilot program placed seventeen people in homes scattered around Salt Lake City, and after twenty-two months not one of them was back on the streets. In the years since, the number of Utah’s chronically homeless has fallen by seventy-four per cent.” (1)

This is proving that when people are supported with a basic means to live as these people were given a place to stay and support for them to get back on a stable platform, they will thrive. A Living Income that has no strings attached and is here for their benefit will create results that not only gives dignity and health back to those who are participating in it, but it supports the whole community to flourish and become a place of growth and development.

The Living Income guarantee will work in such a way as with the Salt Lake City homeless project, supporting and living within the principle of doing what is best for all. Obviously we see when we use our resources and money to support the wellbeing of others and the wellbeing of the environment, we have results that are conducive and supportive of the upliftment of the people that need it the most: those without money or resources. And also the collateral benefit is that the community starts to thrive with less crime, less drugs and alcohol use on the streets, as well as being more vitality breathed into these places, as the homeless get their feet back on the ground and can start to contribute back to the community and feel proud within themselves for being able to do so.

 

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People who become homeless do so for a systemic problem, either they are caught in addiction perpetuated by our consumer society, or they ran out of resources, or have mental health problems with no real options for solutions and care. So many factors cause the problem that will in turn have to be addressed on a more holistic and systemic basis, but as we see with the “Housing First” project, even small steps gives way to opening for this process to create a better life for all.

Money is a medium that is able to support growth in life into a best for all scenario as this example was set forth with the successful integration of stable housing for the homeless in Salt Lake City. On the other hand, money can be used in ways that are not supportive, where money is wasted and spent in dead end ventures due to greed and an inability to move in a direction and willingness to fix what is broken in our current system.

We have a choice and a decision to make within ourselves as to what way of life would we like, not only for ourselves, but also for the future generations that to come. Living income Guaranteed by the Equal Life Foundation is setting the path forward to, on a systematic level,  give financial support to All those who are in need of it,  which will give way to having more access to resources and time to stabilize our lives into a way that is dignified. The Living Income Proposal‘s implementation will counterbalance the current mindset of feeding off of those who are not able to support themselves as we’ve seen with the banking and credit card industry for an obvious instance, and again create a path to support all in this world as we would want to be supported and doing what is best for everyone here on this planet.

The example with the Salt Lake City project shows that when people are given the conditions to have a chance to support themselves, they will thrive as living beings –  though this process has to be actualized as it’s just in certain areas now for specific causes. The Living Income Guaranteed Proposal sets the path for all people in this world to be given an income if in need to get their feet back on the ground and time to move themselves in the direction that will be best for them and so best for all. Supporting and giving to life as self will always come back to self eventually, as “what you give you will receive” says an ancient proverb and it remains true to this day.

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Redemption and the Right to a Living Income

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by Kristina Salas 

Redemption - Canning Documentary - Living Income GuaranteedFor anyone who thinks and believes that those that are unemployed, receiving assistance from the state or federal government, or living on the streets are lazy and no good, feeding off the system, I suggest you watch the HBO documentary Redemption.

Here we watch people all over the streets of New York collecting bottles and cans as a way to survive. To them this is their full time job, walking block after block, day after day, going through trash that sits on the corner to collect all and any bottles or cans that can be recycled. Why do they do this? Because for each bottle or can, they can receive five cents. This seems hardly anything to be working so dam hard for, yet they are doing it. They are doing it with their children because they cannot afford childcare, and because they are extra hands to help out, they are doing it without sleeping, they are doing it to afford to live in a one bedroom apartment with seven other people. They are doing it because money matters in the fight for survival and is the only option available to them.

Redemption Documentary - Canning - America - Living Income GuaranteedBefore you assume to think these are people who put themselves in this situation, as if they deserved it, think again and watch the documentary. These are people with degrees, who have worked for such companies as Microsoft, who worked at the World Trade Center, who fought in wars for ‘our freedom’, who cannot survive on the social security they receive alone.
These are people who are doing what they can to survive, because the harsh reality is that if you make one wrong move, you too can be put out on the street without a helping hand. And you will then see what it’s really like to live for your survival. Money gives us a buffer, we do not see the extent to the consequence our system of life on Earth creates – because we did not pull the shorter stick.


Anyone who suggest that someone does not deserve a Living Income, a dignified life with the resource required to survive, simply because they are not working the job we define as ‘acceptable’ – put yourself in the shoes of another. What would you do to survive? Is your right to food, shelter, hot water, clean clothing more valid then someone who isn’t working, or not doing a job we classify as normal? Would you be willing to walk the streets of New York, digging through trash bags in front of fine dining establishment, simply to ensure you can buy yourself a sandwich for the day? What does shame have to do with anything when it comes to survival?

Redemption - Canning Documentary - LIGI suggest anyone that has such a judgment on those that are down and out and willing to do ANYTHING to make a few bucks, to watch this documentary, to put yourself in their shoes, and to then ask the question, why are Human Rights not a RIGHT given to all, unquestionably?


Investigate the
Living Income Guaranteed proposed by the Equal Life Foundation. The core principle is that all humans have unalienable rights to life – that means food, water, shelter, clothing, education. These cannot and should not be denied to anyone, whether you are not able to find a job, in between jobs, victim of layoffs, whatever – that no matter your situation, YOU have the right to a dignified life, and that you are not FORCED to sift through the rubbish of other humans to collect your income.

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Mothers and a Living Income – Giving as We have Received

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by Kristina Salas 

Katrina Gilbert Paycheck to Paycheck Living Income Mothers Right

Today I watched the documentary called ‘Paycheck to Paycheck,’ about a single mother, my age, with three children. She lives in the South, works as a Certified Nursing Assistant, separated from her husband of almost 10 years, and gets a working wage of $9.49 an hour.

I was shocked to see the hourly wage of this woman, because from my perspective, her work is something that takes more education than I currently have, and yet I still make more an hour than her. And from my perspective, her work is much more valuable. She is caring for the elderly in a nursing home; feeding them, changing their bed sheets, changing their catheters, and most importantly, spending time with them when no one else does. She provides care in an environment that is the last place these elderly will end up, while when she is not working, she is caring for children and their environment; the first place these children are exposed to.
So she is directly dealing with the next generation, while simultaneously giving as much comfort she can while the previous generation slowly leaves.

And she is giving not even $10.00 an hour of compensation to support herself, and her three children.

This documentary exemplifies the major problem we have, not only in this country, but around the world. The people that have first hand control of forming and shaping our future, our children, are not being properly supported or valued in any way whatsoever. No one could possibly expect to live comfortably on $10 an hour, let alone raising three other humans on that wage.
This is a prime example of why a living income is an absolute necessity in our world, and a basic human right. The women who carry, birth and raise the children, the future of humanity, are not giving the proper support necessary that is required. She should have any and all resources available to ensure she is in a prime position – mentally and physically – to do the job she has in front of her, which is to create a space and environment that supports the potential of all children. Instead, with her working wage, she must live as an example that tells her children that life is hard, life is a struggle, you are not valued for the work you do, and ultimately you are alone to suffer the consequence of a system created and sustained by All of society.

No mother should be expected to work if children are brought into the picture, all mothers should have the CHOICE to not work, and still be giving a LIVING wage – don’t you think it would be of more value for the children, and so society as a whole, to have a full-time caretaker there who is not stretched so thin to the point where panic attacks keep them from working, where stress of making it to the next pay day is not distracting them from being able to provide the best care for the children; where a mother is not put into a position where she must tell her children to wait just a minute when they say they are hungry, simply because she needs a moment to sit down and breathe. Where she does not have to sacrifice her health and well being just because there is only enough to give more to her children.

Women, mothers specifically, is one group of people that would benefit form a Living Income, and from my perspective, should be an absolute basic right. The fact that this mother of three must work for $9.49 an hour to support herself and her family, without any support or assistance from the system in which she is working for, goes to show the lack of care we actually have for what we are bringing into this life, let alone the life that is already here.

A Living Income, proposed by the Equal Life Foundation, is a simple step we can take in rectifying this situation – where in giving a living wage to our Mothers we are living the statement of gratitude, and giving to THEM what they have given to US, which is Life. I would think this would be the first priority for anyone wanting to change our social and economic systems – to ensure that our Mothers and so our Children are being given the financial support required to flourish in this World – able to stand on a foundation that allows the true potential of all beings to be harnessed and to expand, after all – the children today are the people tomorrow that will be the ones assisting us when it’s our time to leave this world.

Investigate the Equal Life Foundation and the Living Income.

Bill of Rights Equal Life Foundation

 

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