Mar 10 2011

poverty: the stress of a downward spiral [day 287]

My rent payment is $286.  My utilities are $190 this month.  I don’t own a phone, I don’t have a job and I have a baby to take care of.  My name is Iris Isaacson… but only in this temporary make-believe world.  This world I’m speaking of is a poverty simulation, a game to teach people what it’s like to live in poverty.

I participated in this event last night.  At first, I thought it seemed like a lot of work and I wasn’t sure I wanted to be there.  In the middle of it, I was thinking, “…what a chaotic game…”, but also realizing much of it was like real life.  At the end of it, I was worn out.  I couldn’t pay my bills, the ones I did pay were late, I had to pawn my jewelry, sold my camera, and after all the hardships and paying everything late, I got evicted anyway.  Here’s a description of the simulation.

The Poverty Simulation is a simulation experience developed by the Missouri Association for Community Action. During the simulation, participants pretend to be members of a low-income community attempting to survive four 15-minute weeks of poverty. The simulation relies on role playing techniques and extensive props to help participants understand the day to day challenges faced by families living in poverty.  Continue reading


Jul 19 2010

when do you leave? [day 53]

This is a photo story from an abandoned house I visited yesterday.  Yes, sadly, trash society includes houses.  I do love to take photos in abandoned houses, as all of them have an untold story.

It’s like reading a suspenseful book, but being right there in it.

When does it become a good idea to throw away your house?

Oh, the thrill of spotting a potentially abandoned house.  They mystery begins…

What do you leave behind?  Food?

Toys?

Trash?  They must have had some kids like mine.  The trash doesn’t go out until I’ve asked at least 23 times.

Paperwork?

Photos?  This is the most surprising to me.  I have been in many of these houses and the majority of them have family photos left behind.

It makes me happy that they didn’t leave any toilet paper.  :)

Is this the end?  It’s the end of this photo story, but is it the end of throwing away houses?  No.  Many of these houses are structurally sound and with a little work, could be livable.  How could we pair up the homeless population with abandoned houses, without locking them out and calling their habitation ‘squatting’?  I know, it’s a crazy dream, but don’t all dreams start that way?