one of our next door neighbors is a Mexican man with a wife and 2 daughters. they are a sweet family and he always makes a point to say hello and chat to us when we're out in our backyard. recently the house (where he rents the basement apartment) was sold, and he has until December to find a new place for his family. i guess he's been paying $650 for this 2 bedroom apt, but it's in the basement so it's really cold in the winter. he's been looking at other apts a little further away (we live about a mile from downtown) but the 2-bedrooms he's finding are more like $800-950/month. plus- even though they are all one nuclear family, he has to submit a rental application for each family member. $35 apiece, which means every application he submits ultimately costs them $140.
i was thinking of them when i read about this gem in the Newscut Blog. Urban Ministries of Durham created a well-designed online game where you try to make it through the month as an unemployed single parent- you start the month with $1000 and try to survive all the unforeseen obstacles/decisions to the end of the month. Bob Collins from Newscut states, "It says something, perhaps, that we need games to get us to think about these issues, but that's the way we are." definitely true, but i like to look at it as "interactive." it's much more communicative to virtually walk a mile in someone's shoes than read an article filled with their stats. this really reminded me how relatively affluent i am, and how thankful i am that my financial decisions aren't this hard or heart-breaking.
see how far you can get.