Hidden Struggle

 

Houses in St. Louis Park

Poverty and economic struggle in St. Louis Park is hard to see.

At STEP we see it every day.

One of the challenges we face at STEP is promoting awareness of this problem in our community. Many are simply unaware of the struggle some people in St Louis Park face. It’s hidden from view.

Dozens of people come to STEP every day for assistance. They are your neighbors. They live in your apartment building. They live three doors down on your street. People who need assistance may work with you but you’ll never hear about what they’re going through because the stigma associated with needing help; they’re not going to just come out and tell you how difficult their lives are. Problems may stem from very personal issues and remain secret. In fact, many of our clients have no one else they can talk with; the social workers at STEP are their only friendly but unbiased person they can go to. Can you imagine how difficult that must be?

There are many ways lives can be economically disrupted. A Harvard study showed that medical crisis causes a massive 62% of personal bankruptcy filings. It’s worth noting 70% of that group did have health insurance. It just wasn’t enough. Even with insurance, either a single health incident or chronic situations can create substantial debt and loss of income. It can happen to anyone.

Try to put yourself in the shoes of someone whose circumstances have changed. Imagine all your savings gone. Imagine all your credit cards maxed out and the credit collectors calling every day. Accompanying this can be lack of social outlets, unrelenting stress, and feelings of inadequacy due to coming up short on what you expect to be able to provide for your family and yourself. It can have a significant impact on your mental health, making stabilizing your situation even more challenging.

dsc_0088STEP is here to nonjudgmentally provide basic needs for our friends and neighbors who are suffering. We help them with food, clothing and rides. Perhaps by meeting people’s needs we are able to help people keep their dignity.

Thank you for helping us with our mission.

Jason Alvey

This article was written by Jason Alvey as original content for use by STEP in its outreach efforts.

You can learn more about STEP by visiting their website: http://www.stepslp.org

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