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Marilyn Berenzweig, 61, who used to make $100,000 a year, now lives in a tent

hvactec

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Tent City swelled by ranks of jobless middle-earners


By Jon Swaine, Daily Telegraph September 26, 2011

The white picket fence and manicured flower beds outside 1 Paradise Lane are straight from a picture postcard of suburban American life in the 1950s. But it's a picture drawn on the canvas wall of a tent.

Its occupant is Marilyn Berenzweig, 61, who used to make $100,000 a year as a designer in New York. Now she and her husband Michael are down and out, living in Tent City in Lakeland. There is no electricity or running water.

"It's not an easy life," she said. She and Berenzweig, a former radio producer, are two of the 27 million Americans out of work or under-employed as recession stalks America.

Census figures this month showed that more than one in seven is now in poverty, surviving on less than $11,139 a year each or $22,314 for a family of four.

T h e c o u p l e l o s t t h e i r $2,000-a-month apartment after Marilyn lost her job two years ago.

They lived with their daughter and her family for four months before an argument drove them out. After reaching the 90-week limit for unemployment benefits, they now receive less than $100 a week between them in food stamps.

Social security will kick in only when she is 62, and her modest pension at 65.

"I'm scared about how life is going in America," she said. "I hope we'll move into an apartment again one day."

Marilyn said the couple dreaded a second winter in Tent City. "You try to dress real warm and keep active," she said. "But the cat's food freezes when you put it on the floor."

Officially there are 700,000 homeless people in the U.S. The absence of a safety net has seen similar tent cities sprout up in states such as Colorado, Washington, California and Virginia.

The four-hectare camp in New Jersey was founded by Steve Brigham, an out of work electrical engineer, who lives among those he tries to help.

"Last year we had 40 people, this year it's 70," said Brigham, 51. "We're seeing people who have fallen further than before."

The site's toilet is a pit in the ground surrounded by a wooden frame. The kitchen is a 1970s trailer with a greasy gas stove.

Read more: Tent City swelled by ranks of jobless middle-earners
 

PoliticalChic

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Tent City swelled by ranks of jobless middle-earners


By Jon Swaine, Daily Telegraph September 26, 2011

The white picket fence and manicured flower beds outside 1 Paradise Lane are straight from a picture postcard of suburban American life in the 1950s. But it's a picture drawn on the canvas wall of a tent.

Its occupant is Marilyn Berenzweig, 61, who used to make $100,000 a year as a designer in New York. Now she and her husband Michael are down and out, living in Tent City in Lakeland. There is no electricity or running water.

"It's not an easy life," she said. She and Berenzweig, a former radio producer, are two of the 27 million Americans out of work or under-employed as recession stalks America.

Census figures this month showed that more than one in seven is now in poverty, surviving on less than $11,139 a year each or $22,314 for a family of four.

T h e c o u p l e l o s t t h e i r $2,000-a-month apartment after Marilyn lost her job two years ago.

They lived with their daughter and her family for four months before an argument drove them out. After reaching the 90-week limit for unemployment benefits, they now receive less than $100 a week between them in food stamps.

Social security will kick in only when she is 62, and her modest pension at 65.

"I'm scared about how life is going in America," she said. "I hope we'll move into an apartment again one day."

Marilyn said the couple dreaded a second winter in Tent City. "You try to dress real warm and keep active," she said. "But the cat's food freezes when you put it on the floor."

Officially there are 700,000 homeless people in the U.S. The absence of a safety net has seen similar tent cities sprout up in states such as Colorado, Washington, California and Virginia.

The four-hectare camp in New Jersey was founded by Steve Brigham, an out of work electrical engineer, who lives among those he tries to help.

"Last year we had 40 people, this year it's 70," said Brigham, 51. "We're seeing people who have fallen further than before."

The site's toilet is a pit in the ground surrounded by a wooden frame. The kitchen is a 1970s trailer with a greasy gas stove.

Read more: Tent City swelled by ranks of jobless middle-earners

So....what have you done for Marilyn?
 

editec

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Yup.

Tough time for many of us.

But for one or two lucky breaks I might be living in a tent myself.
 

PoliticalChic

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Yup.

Tough time for many of us.

But for one or two lucky breaks I might be living in a tent myself.

So, Editec goes to his psychiatrist, complains "Doc, I can't sleep at night...one night I dream I'm a teepee, the next night I dream I'm a wigwam...what is reason, Doc???"
Doc" " Simple, you're too tents."
 

chanel

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She was making 100K and her husband prob did well too. Where is their savings? Where is their nest egg? Sorry but it sounds like these folks were living beyond their means. Why are they unemployed now? No 100K designer jobs in Tent City? I would never allow my folks to shit in an ouithouse. If their own family has no sympathy, well then why should we?
 

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