· “I have been ill and unable to work. I am not able to provide my daughter with the things I wish she could have. I do not have money to put gas in the car that I borrow. Always trying to catch up is depressing and causes more medical problems. I feel like I am letting my daughter down. If anyone thinks this type of life is fun or that we’re lazy, you have no idea.”
· “My husband previously got laid off of work and is seeking full-time employment still, and I have been unable to work due to my Multiple Sclerosis, which gives me occasional blackouts and weak muscles. We have two small children who need childcare and my daughter goes to preschool Monday through Friday. Due to current expenses and gas prices, we had to sell our vehicle and now transportation for the four of us has become stressful. My MS caused me to lose the vision in my right eye and I have a lost a lot of muscle control in my back, legs and arms. Hospital visits are complicated due to my doctor being in Columbus and arranging daycare for my little ones. Good help is hard to find, and the more support and people that help each other makes life a blessing.”
· “I am a single mother with bipolar disorder caring for a two-year-old son on an income of $355 from OWF (Ohio Works First cash assistance) and $304 in food assistance. I struggle day by day to keep up with doctor’s appointments and to provide my son and me with food. Raising my benefits would greatly benefit our well-being at this time.”
Over the last year, Athens County Job and Family Services has invited our clients to tell us about some of the challenges and struggles they are facing.
As Ohio’s leaders deliberate over the state’s next two-year budget, we will be posting a few of these comments each week so that you can hear from some of our neighbors about the obstacles they face every day. We hope our leaders will look at how the budget impacts families who are just trying to survive, instead of only looking at the budget as a series of numbers and dollar signs.
Thank you for your time and thoughtful consideration.