Tale of woe doesn’t generate sympathy
The daily newspaper runs a front page article about ‘the new housing crisis,’ headlined, “A family’s plight: An income that’s $200 too much for housing help.” If you‘re in the mood for a tear-jerker, you couldn’t ask for more than this news article that reads like a paperback novel. It continues on two jump pages, complete with a photo showing the tattooed dad tenderly kissing his young son‘s head. Midway through, be forewarned, your patience will wear thin.
The account of a family’s travails begins with these words:
The kitchen light was already on as Kevin Scarbrough rose for another day of empty promises. He poured a mug of strong coffee and slipped a cellphone into the pocket of his jeans, turning up the volume in case a call came from the hospital or the housing authority.
“Where are you going?” his 4-year-old son Anthony asked. A catheter dangled from his leg, running to a kidney that failed before he was born and set in motion his family’s spiral into the shelter.
“I’m going to smoke,” replied Kevin, 41, and he stepped into the mid-morning sun. He stood in the gravel as he did each day and lit a cigarette, staring out into the concrete emptiness of UMOM New Day Center in east Phoenix. It had been the same view for almost a year, after the Scarbroughs were swallowed by an affordable-housing crisis the federal government was calling a national problem.
Ultimately, the sick little boy received a much-needed kidney transplant. The mother cut back her work hours to qualify for public assistance and the family of five was able to move into a subsidized apartment.
A “shrunken paycheck” would arrive at the end of the week, and they needed basics like towels, sheets and pillows. But according to the newspaper account, unemployed Kevin had the first $140 earmarked.
“He already had tattoos of his children’s names and the New York Knicks logo, and now had another in mind, the heart-in-hand logo of Phoenix Children’s Hospital with Anthony’s name arching above it.” The Dad with no job and on food stamps that never last the entire month “wanted to be a walking billboard for the hospital that saved his son.”
Know this: With a jobless father who puts cigarettes and tattoos before the basic needs of his family, dire circumstances will remain the norm for the Scarbrough family. This saga is a poor example of a national housing crisis. It only reflects the flawed mindset of a self-centered fool who is able to father children.