American Winter (2013) Movie Script

March 18th, 2013
I get a text from my
husband when I'm at work saying,
"PGE is here to shut us off. "
And they come to my door.
He says, "I'm with PGE,
and I need $557 right now,
otherwise I'm going to shut off
your electricity. "
I was like,
"I don't have $557."
I came home.
No lights, no nothing,
and then explaining to the kids
when they got home
that we had no electricity...
That was hard.
With the no lights,
it was hard to get
around the house.
And since there was
no electricity,
we couldn't cook our food.
It was so cold
that me and my baby brother
had to curl up on the couch
together, and we had,
like, 4 comforters on us.
It was really scary.
My 4-year-old was like,
"Mommy, why are you crying?
What's wrong?"
I'm like, "Nothing, baby.
It's OK. Everything's
going to be OK."
"Then why are you
crying, Mommy?
"I don't want to see you cry.
It's OK. We're OK."
My son walks in
and he comes up to me
and he... Oh, yeah.
He puts his arm around me,
and he says I'm the best dad.
Don't feel like it.
Thank you for calling 211.
How can I help you?
I was calling.
I need help with
our electric bill.
Still looking
for a job, but I haven't
found anything, and the
money I had has run out.
I just lost my job, and
I won't be able to pay
rent for February.
I'm going to see if I can find
some resources in your area.
211 here in Portland,
we're a non-profit organization
that connects people
to community services,
primarily over the phone
and also through the Web.
Thanks for calling 211.
How can I help you?
Yes, I need to
know if you guys can help me see
if there's anybody to help
with energy assistance.
- We were doing awesome.
- Then the winter came.
The winter came.
He got laid off.
I currently am
going to have to move out
of my apartment;
I have no way to pay it.
We can't pay our bills.
Are we gonna have to move out?
Are we gonna have
a 72-hour eviction?
Yes, I was calling to inquire
about energy assistance.
I got good grades in school,
I went to college,
and then to come out
and still live impoverished?
I was
told to call you guys and see
if you had any resources
for rental assistance.
I have got doctor bills,
like, every day in the mail.
I got a $49,000 bill.
Today we have no water
and we have absolutely
no money to pay it.
It's been 3 days since
the water got turned off.
not used to being able
to not provide
basic things like water.
My house is
going up for foreclosure sale.
My savings dried up
from making these house
payments, so I'm getting
foreclosed on.
I don't know what to do.
I'm needing some help
with my electric bill.
My mom
never owned a home,
so buying a house was
a huge deal for me.
And yesterday, when we were
signing those papers,
it's just like, "My kids
don't have a home. "
I am looking
housing for myself and my son.
I am a recent widow.
I came home from work
one day, and my son
looks at me and says,
"Dad's in the back of that ambulance. "
They said, within him
being there not even two hours
that he was septic and that
he was going to die.
For the middle
class in this country, we have
a "one strike and
you're out" economy.
The system that once
was in place
to cushion those crises
has been frayed.
And I think what people are
experiencing in this country is
how quickly you can go
from middle class
to being extremely vulnerable.
The most endangered
species in America is
the middle-class family,
and I think we have
to be alarmed by that
and ask whether that is
good policy.
We got
the car payment,
the credit card's
at $151 right now,
so we have to come up with $500
to make this month's rent.
Did you just say 500?
When he lost
his job, I was kinda scared and
kinda nervous, but then,
you know, I figured,
"Oh, he'll, he'll get
a job, you know?
He's been doing this
for 5 or 6 years.
He'll get a job," you know?
And it has not been that way.
- Hasn't been that way.
- No.
I went through
the whole phone book
from top to bottom.
I went through
every single page
and I called each place
asking them
if they were hiring,
and none of them,
not one of them said
they were hiring, not one.
I went to
the apartment complex,
pretty much
laid it out, saying,
"I don't have a job anymore.
I can't afford $1,000 a month.
Is there any way I can
get out of this lease
so I can kinda move into
somewhere I can afford?"
They pretty much told me no.
If you get an eviction
on your record,
you can't move into a place.
We can't have an eviction.
We have two children.
We need another place, and
they said that... the $1,500,
we said, "Can we make
payments on it?
So let's move out,
we'll make payments. "
They want us to pay
$2,500 in 90 days.
It's hard to accept
that this is happening.
Like, we're going to have
to put all of our stuff
in storage and then live
with my mom again.
I'm 26, living
with my mom again.
I never thought I'd be getting
help from the state, you know?
I told myself
I would never do that.
Never thought I would be
getting food stamps.
I never put that in my head.
- You know?
- I know.
We're going to
possibly be on couches.
I can't count
the number of people
I've spoken with who start
their conversation with,
"I never believed I would be
in this situation. "
They say, "I have
always worked. "
People are just stunned that
they are suddenly in a position
where not only did they get laid
off, but their unemployment
is running out or has run out
because they cannot find a job.
They think, "Well, I had money
in my retirement account
and I had a savings account
and I used to take vacations
and I had new cars, and now
I am struggling
to put gas in my car. "
Pay attention to Daddy, OK?
- I need your help.
- Nope.
Yeah, I need your help.
One more.
You did it.
It was
about 8:00, 9:00 that evening
when the doctor came in and told
us that he had Down Syndrome.
You know, I tell you what,
something that will knock you
on the floor, that... you know,
that initial reaction
and everything.
You know, you just... "Oh!"
OK. Ready? Here we go.
- You ready?
- Ready. Ha ha!
I was working
for Columbia Sportswear,
making oh, about $55,000,
$56,000 a year
as their cost accountant,
and then I got laid off.
OK, come on. Back up a little.
Back up a little.
My parents,
they live about 490 miles away.
They run a cattle ranch up there
in North Central Washington.
We take the horses
and train them,
and then my parents use them
up in the Cascade Mountains.
I've been working since
I was 10, 12 years old.
Anyone worth their salt
wants to work.
I'll scrub toilets.
I'm not too good to do...
you know, I'm not above
doing any kind of work.
I cannot
tell you how many people
have told me how they were
the successful people,
they always did well in school.
And so they had families
and they bought homes
and they had mortgages,
and then they started to
find that they were
being laid off.
No matter how well-educated
they are or how experienced,
the fact that they're
older, above 50,
they can't get other jobs.
They spent their retirement
trying to, you know,
survive long enough,
and now they have nothing.
All right, you guys.
I got certified as
a medical assistant,
cardiac technician,
and phlebotomist.
I worked for
the Alpha Plasma Center
and they laid off 1,500 people.
I went and I got into a field
that I thought was practical.
If you become a medical
assistant, it's a growing field,
but they don't tell you
that you're gonna become
a medical assistant and still be
making minimum wage.
- What?
- I got to go.
Scrapping is basically
when you recycle metal.
On this scale, you're
recycling refrigerators
and stoves and washers
and dryers.
On a good day,
if 4 of us go out,
then we have to split
the money 4 ways.
So if we make a hundred
dollars that day,
it's $25 for everybody.
When you literally put in
more than 8 hours,
you're not even making
minimum wage.
People do what they have
to do to make it,
so you can donate plasma
every other day.
I like donating plasma less
than going scrapping.
You know, it's just something
that I do to make ends meet
and try to make sure
that we're not hungry
for too many days
out of the month.
I walked into
the house and she was sitting
in the kitchen in the dark and
I was like, "Mom, what's wrong?"
And, like, she was crying
because she just didn't know
what she was
going to do for food
for the next couple of weeks.
And, like, I just couldn't do
anything but hug her
and, like, tell her
that I was going to be OK.
People want to work.
You know, people just say to me
over and over on the phone,
"I want to work. I want a job.
I will do anything,
and I can't get one. "
They don't want
to live in poverty.
Are you kidding me?
Is that the electric bill?
- Let me see it.
- This is impo...
It's $1,200, T.J.
There's no way I can pay
$1,200 in two weeks, so
it's to keep
our lights on or...
or keep our house.
- Keep our lights on or keep our house?
- Mm-hmm.
I'm trying to work
12 to 13 hours a day
just to try to get
our house payment paid.
It's minimum wage.
I'm making $8.75
an hour.
I'm not making the money
to pay for our house,
you know, and he's
working his butt off
to try to find a job.
I can get a second job.
How can you get a second job?
I can't even find
a fricking job.
We got to do
something, T.J.
I try not to blame myself,
but I was the main provider
for so long, it's hard not to.
I wake up from night
terrors all the time.
I wake up screaming, crying.
My main thing is, is
I lose my kids 'cause
I can't make the money
to provide for them.
I literally could come
home and we could have
a 72-hour notice
on our door.
And at that point,
we have nowhere to go.
Do you want to go stand
on the street with a sign?
Oh, I don't know. I'm not
holding no fricking sign.
A friend of mine had told me
that they had just fired,
like, 4 people.
And I said, "Well, I'm
interested in applying. "
This place, they paint cars.
It's not as much money
as I'm used to making.
I don't care, you know? Long as
there... get some more money
coming in and take some
of that weight off of Tara.
Thank you for calling 211.
Please press 1 for English.
My house payment's so
high that I have no money for food.
I've been pretty
much out of work for two and a half years.
We don't come up with the
money in 3 days, we got to get out.
I got 3 kids depending on us
to keep a roof over their heads.
My name is Bev.
- Hi.
- Hi.
And I'm going
to be taking you back
to get some food, and
you have a family of?
- 5.
- 5. OK.
Family of 5.
OK. Perfect.
By the beginning of 2010,
the clients were changing.
They were no longer
the traditional people
who needed social services.
Now we're seeing
these people who
are stunned to be
in this situation.
- This is a new, relatively
new experience for me. - Yeah.
Not something that we do.
I can remember...
It's OK.
Oh! This is, like,
a hundred dollars' worth
of groceries for us.
It's a lot for me.
- It helps a lot.
- Good.
I'm glad we can do it.
They feel guilty.
Two years ago, they were giving
to a food pantry, and now,
they're pressed to buy
a half a gallon of milk.
And they have 3, 4 kids at home.
And I don't think that's unique
to Portland in any way.
You know, this is just not something
that I'm used to doing, and...
You can help somebody
another time.
We used to talk about,
like, what we were going
to do with our life and
our dreams and what we
wanted for the kids,
and all we talk
about now is money.
Forget the dreams. How do we
make it to tomorrow?
Tomorrow's the dream.
This dinner is the dream.
You can turn the lights on
and turn the water on.
That's a dream.
I hear them
in bed sometimes
saying, "We skipped dinner
because we need
to feed our kids. "
It makes you feel
that it's your fault
that they have to
pay food for us
and that's wasting
their money for us.
Sometimes when I hear that,
I cry sometimes.
One of the things we have is
a vibrant social safety
net of non-profits.
They can't keep up
with the onslaught,
and it's not just for food.
It's also for
the utility shut-offs,
need help with rent.
The non-profit sector,
are they able
to meet the increased demand
when you have a great recession?
Absolutely not.
Come on, Brandin!
Come on, Brandin!
Go, Brandin!
Chelsea's wrestling manager for
- the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades.
- How's she doing?
It's a long road still.
We just went in Monday and had
her stomach dilated again.
She's probably missing
a lot of school, isn't she?
She added it up the other day,
and I think she's missed
40 days of school.
My middle daughter
was complaining
of stomach problems.
She was just laying
on the couch, crying
and crying and crying, "Mommy, it hurts.
Mommy, my tummy hurts. "
They did a scope
and a upper G.I.,
and found out
that she had 5 ulcers
and one severely bleeding ulcer.
And they put a tube, a feeding
tube in through her nose.
That was, I think,
the worst thing that
I've ever dealt with.
A feeding tube and
it went up my nose,
down my throat,
and into my stomach
and past my digestive system.
Sometimes I've woke up
feeling sick
and I screamed and tried
to rip it out of my nose.
- I was off work for almost 3 months.
- Oh, right.
And I'm slowly
just now...
I mean, I haven't even
begun to get caught up,
but now my insurance is saying,
"Oh, by the way, this month
and this month, you
didn't have insurance. "
So I have a $49,000 doctor
bill that they're saying
that I didn't have insurance
for, so I have to pay it.
Brandin's gonna wrestle.
- Come on, Brandin!
- Come on, Brandin!
Come on, kid.
Come on, Brandin!
Squeeze, Brandin!
Nice job, Bubba!
I try to just kind of
tell her, "It's OK, Mom. It'll be OK."
And, like, I just try to
encourage her as much as I can.
Being the only
"man of the house,"
I should say, it's...
it's kind of my job, I guess.
Is he
your boyfriend?
- Is that why? Who is he?
- No.
He was my first friend on
the first day of school.
He sat right across from me.
- Is it a date?
- No, it's not.
I can feel you staring at me.
OK, so this
isn't a date, right?
- No.
- No date? OK.
- No date.
- Told you.
- Dad is gonna wig.
- I said the same thing.
OK, well,
you have fun. No date.
No kissing. No sitting.
No hugging.
No hand-touching.
I mean it, sissy.
Ha ha!
- Love you.
- Love you.
- Be good.
- It was nice to meet you, Tara.
Nice to meet you, too.
Sissy, be good.
We can go over to Mom's
and shower till Dad gets home.
She said we can just run people
through if we want to.
- Do you need to shower?
- Yeah.
OK. That's what I figured.
The power was shut off.
The gas has been
shut off now, too.
Water. Water's gone.
No electricity.
Our neighbor has let us
use his electricity.
He is the nicest guy in
the whole, entire world.
Like, we wouldn't have
got through any of this
if it wasn't for him.
- Yeah.
- So I do everything for him
that I possibly can to make
his life easier 'cause he's...
- The lawn.
- He's let us
- plug in a cord to his garage and
he's, you know... - So we can warm water.
These are used for bathing,
to flush the toilets,
to do the dishes, to...
I mean, this is
our water source.
The water outside,
it's filled with...
Bugs. Got to boil. Ha ha!
Ha! See all that
gross stuff in there?
I remember when he told me
when he was losing his job,
but I didn't really think...
I don't know.
I didn't think it was a big deal
until our water was turned off.
It's just, like, embarrassing 'cause you
can't bring your friends over to your house
and you can't tell anybody
about it, really.
School's already stressful enough,
but having things like this happen,
it's hard to concentrate
because I'm so worried.
We got a letter
from PGE the other day that said,
"We're worried about your children,
and if you can get a doctor's note
that says that it's detrimental
for your children's health
to have the power off, then we can
maybe work something out with you. "
I'm just waiting
for Children's Services
to come knock on the door
and take my kids away.
I... Fuck.
If capitalism is not
regulated or checked,
there's a harsh logic,
and it will always seek out the
lowest costs, highest return,
which is why we have
historically viewed government
as a check
and a balance on that.
Over the last quarter-century,
we have reduced regulations,
degraded wages,
cut back on healthcare.
We've reduced taxes, and now
people are more vulnerable.
And my job is
to communicate to people
the absolute moral imperative
during these times
of using public resources
to maintain the safety net
until things turn around
and to make sure that
we don't throw some of our most vulnerable
people, essentially, to the wolves.
You need to seriously
fix this drawer.
You know how annoying it is when you
try and open up a dresser drawer
when you're getting ready for
work and it doesn't open right?
You don't have work.
I don't have a job yet, but I hope to
have one soon. Are you with me on that?
Yeah. Come on. Go, go.
Came home from work
one day, and my son looks at me
and says, "Dad's in the back
of that ambulance. "
And I said,
"Gunner, I'm not"... 'cause Gunner liked
to play little jokes on Mommy and
I thought he was just kidding.
They said within him being
there not even two hours
that he was septic, that
they didn't expect him to
live through Saturday, and
that he was going to die.
And what was the hardest is that
I hadn't... I hadn't told Gunner,
and I remember going to the hotel,
and Gunner just kept asking me,
"Did that just really happen, Mom?
Did Dad just really die?"
I said, "Yeah, baby, he did. "
It was hard, very hard.
Uh-oh. Look at
what's in here.
You think it's time we
threw Dad's clothes away?
- Mm-hmm.
- Huh?
Does it matter much now?
Well, I don't think
I can keep them forever.
Oh. Look at... Remember,
this was Dad's favorite shirt?
Living in a
garage with my son is nerve-wracking.
Little bit bigger than
a hotel room, I would say,
but with no windows and there's
no heating in here whatsoever.
We just are ready
for our own space
and our own home.
Mom, I'm hungry.
And Dad always said
that we're survivors,
and so we'll survive.
We'll get through this.
Oh, my God, they're closed.
Oh, they're closed, huh?
That's funny.
Huh. Now what do we do?
- Don't we have to, like...
- I'm sorry.
I thought they were
open until 7:00.
Like, I'm not really worrying
about the food situa...
Of course you're not.
You're not a mother.
You don't worry
about your son being hungry.
Not the end of the world.
You always had something
for dinner hot to eat.
I don't need a fricking
hot meal. Dang.
- Yes, you do.
- No, I don't.
- You have school tomorrow.
- And I can have...
I don't want you to go to
sleep with an empty belly.
All right.
We'll figure this out, right?
All right.
Sorry. If I'd have
known it was closed,
we wouldn't have come out
all this way for nothing.
- Right?
- Yeah.
If you're constantly moving
from apartment to apartment,
or apartment to car
or car to motel...
which happens,
and it happens here
in Portland...
kids struggle to learn.
In the middle of a crisis,
sometimes it is hard
to think about
investing in very early,
young children
because your pay-offs are coming
15, 20, 30 years down the road.
But if you don't, those problems will be
there 15, 20, 30 years down the road.
So don't even talk to me.
Tell me what happened.
I'm excited.
Don't get too excited.
It was a long process,
just... I went in there,
filled out my application,
gave them my application.
And, uh...
So, what'd he say?
They got to, uh, go
through a couple more guys.
I'm kidding. I got it.
Did you?
- When do you start?
- Tomorrow morning.
- Are you serious?
- Yeah.
Are you serious?
T.J. got a job.
Thank you, Lord.
And so that's been helping out.
I mean, he's working.
We haven't seen a paycheck,
but he's working.
He's making some money.
I just know
that today, right now,
the kids have food
in their stomach
and they don't have
to worry about being...
out on the streets.
- Is it really part-time?
- Yeah.
He said part-time
to full-time.
- Proud of me?
- Yeah!
- Good.
- I'm so happy now.
Yeah, I'm relieved
that my dad got a job,
even if it is minimum wage.
Then it's still...
I'm OK with it.
We still are going to
get money to pay the bills
and not have to worry about
our power going off again.
Our country holds
that the richer the rich get,
the better off everyone will be.
And that rich business guys
like me are job creators,
and so, if you just make it
cozier and cozier
for businesses and rich people, somehow
everything will be good for everyone else.
And, of course,
that hasn't worked out.
If there was a shred
of truth to the idea that
the richer the rich got, the
better everyone else would be
and the more jobs we'd create, today
we would be drowning in jobs.
It's obviously not true,
and that's why
all of our policies are
so upside down.
When you give the biggest tax
breaks and the best exemptions
to rich people and to businesses
in the name of job creation,
all that happens is
that the rich get richer.
Thank you for calling 211.
How can I help you?
We're on a fixed income,
and I don't have any bed
for my daughter to sleep on.
My fianc got fired on Friday,
and we have to be out of
our apartment by this Friday.
I'm having some health issues
right now and I need to see someone.
I have
an energy notice for $375.
My daughter and I
don't know where to turn.
Where are we?
- Hi!
- Hi!
Hi, sweetheart.
If you could
sign in here, please.
And this is your first time?
- Yes, it is.
- OK.
I did not anticipate ever being
in this position, ever.
I told myself me and my husband
are hard-working people.
We would never have
to ask for help, ever.
We wouldn't because we would
feed our own children
our own selves and we would, you
know, work hard to make that money.
And when you can't find a job, you can't
find a job. There's nothing you can do.
So you rent a home?
- Rent an apartment.
- Apartment.
- I'm glad you got a home.
- Well, we're losing it,
so I'm moving in with
my mom, but... ha ha!
You are losing your home?
Is there enough room
there for you?
It's a two-bedroom apartment
with my mom and my sister,
and I'm bringing in 4 of us,
so it will be 6 people living
in two bedrooms, so...
it's going to be tough.
It is going to be tough.
My husband got
a job interview on Monday,
and he came out feeling
like it went really well,
so I'm hoping
he finds out next week.
So I'm hoping that he
gets a job so when
we live with my mom,
we can pay off all our stuff
and try to move back
into somewhere else, so...
I really hope he gets that job.
Me, too.
Pam, what size diapers?
You needed a size 5 and then?
Uh, 3 and a 5.
3 and a 5. OK.
And then get you...
some shampoo.
Sometimes we have...
we're really short on things today.
That's OK. Actually, I just
really need some razors.
OK, I can do that.
Say I'm talking to my
father back in Wyoming, all right?
He's a conservative guy,
all right? He's a banker.
He grew up independently.
Our family owned banks.
He feels people should be able to
take care of themselves, all right?
"You don't go to
the social service agency
to take care of your problems.
You take care of it yourself. "
I don't think
he understands the same
kinds of pressures that
a young family would feel now.
Millions of people
without health insurance,
without good education,
unsafe streets,
little opportunity
to build their way out
if you're struggling day to day.
I just got out of the place.
I've never been so, like, scared and
out of place out of my whole life.
I just wanted to bolt out of there. Like,
I did not feel comfortable at all.
I'm, like, shaking to death. Like,
people were talking about me, you know?
"Why is she here?
Her children are dressed nice,
and look at that big
wedding ring on her finger.
She's obviously married.
She's probably doing fine. "
And it just made me feel
so awful and stuff, and I just...
Oh, my God. I didn't feel good.
I don't feel good
about it at all.
The kids are screaming.
I got to go. I love you.
I finally broke down
when... this was kind of a prideful thing,
but I'd never even
had food stamps until
a month and a half ago.
The food stamps were people...
it was for the needy.
I was looking at myself
as being,
you know, kind of like
a deadbeat
for having to resort
to... food stamps.
I was told by PGE
to call you folks.
Gonna have some problems making
electric payment and everything.
Well, my unemployment is
expired, and I was wondering
if you could give me
a holler, hopefully help me out.
Thank you. Bye.
I called
Oregon Housing Assistance,
and they said that they
were out of money.
They were stone broke,
and for that section-8 housing,
there was, like, an 8-month
waiting period on that.
Stay. Puppy. Look.
You know, you get
in this situation where
you're so broke, you know,
you have to start
selling things off just
to have a little gas money.
Talking to my dad.
He tries to keep my head up.
He'll help when he can.
This last month...
I had to call him up
and have him
pay the electric bill.
It's not easy.
You're a 50-year-old man and
you have to call your dad
to pay the electric bill?
You're funny
in that picture, OK?
Stay. OK?
You hold still.
OK! Good dog!
Around the eighties, I noticed
there was a change in how
we spoke about poor people.
We started talking about
welfare queens
who were taking advantage
of taxpayer money.
And suddenly, we started
not thinking about
the challenges
faced by our families,
but we started blaming
the victims of poverty.
Her little friend
boy is coming over.
He'll be here
in, like, 5 minutes.
Friend boy? Why? How?
What? Why are you
always surprise...
No, we've been discussing this
for 5 days now, right, Dakota?
- 5 days.
- Who's we?
Because his birthday's
and I'm going with him and
his mom and his sister and...
Oh, so he wants to come over here and
make out with my little daughter
for his birthday present?
Dad. He's just my friend.
Would you rather have her do
it in our house or with...
"Do it"?! What do you mean, "do it"?
Have dinner inside our house.
Dad's watching, all right?
- I love you.
- I love you, too.
When I grow up in the future,
I want to be able
to support my family.
I'm gonna have a good job and
I'm gonna help my mom and dad.
If they need money, I'm gonna
let them borrow the money.
Like, I'll even let them
live with me.
- Hey.
- Hi.
Mom, Michael's here.
- What's up?
- Hey.
- How are you?
- Good.
- Nervous?
- A little, yeah.
Ahem. Come here.
This is my dad.
Hey. How are you?
How you doing?
Good. You?
So you're my daughter's
Um, no. Friends.
- Do you get good grades in school?
- Uh, yeah.
- He's home-schooled.
- I know.
Well, I used to go
to school, though.
Why are you
home-schooled now?
'Cause my mom... I used
to be home-schooled
when I was in,
like, first grade.
We were having problems with
money, so we had to go back,
but now we can start back up again or
something. That's what my mom told me.
You guys can go
sit down and visit.
He's so nervous.
It's funny. Ha ha!
- Zeus, get down.
- OK.
Zeus, come here.
Come here!
So it's already been two weeks
since you guys were here last, right?
- Actually, yesterday was two weeks.
- Yesterday was two weeks. Oh.
Yup. I'm waiting to see if we'll
be back in another two weeks.
- Yeah, exactly.
- So...
The doctor told us to come in,
and he wants to keep dilating it
until her stomach opens
and stays open
'cause it's not staying open.
We have to do this,
he said, every two weeks.
I feel bad that it's
my fault that she's losing so much work.
My mom was always there for me and
stayed every single night with me,
so she made me really happy.
I'm really anxious.
I just want it to be done.
I've got doctor bills,
like, every day in the mail.
I got a $49,000 bill.
About fell over when I opened it.
I haven't paid my rent
for December.
I've always been able
to do it on my own.
I may not have a lot of money, but my bills
are paid, my kids are taken care of.
Nobody has rent assistance.
I guess you have to call
before the first of the month,
and I didn't know that.
Am I going to get
an eviction tomorrow?
I just don't know.
I have never seen a time
when there has been as much
venom and vitriol over things
that, in previous years,
we agreed on.
We've always been a nation
that would look out for those
that needed help,
and for the life of me,
I don't understand the response
that would say,
"No, fend for yourself. "
And that's not rooted in
the fabric of America.
I've got the letter
from the doctor right here
to help us get the
electricity turned back on,
let them know about
the medical.
My son's got just
this incredible... cough.
He's coughing so bad
he's throwing up.
Our power's been shut
off for about a month now.
- OK.
- And so we just
found out not too long ago that you
can get a letter from your doctor
that states that if you
have medical issues...
OK, once your power
is turned off,
you are not... you don't
actually qualify
for the medical certificate
at that point.
Once your power is restored,
then I can give you...
I can give you the phone number
for you to contact them
and then, you know,
hopefully they can
get that going for you.
- So, hey, dude.
- Hmm?
how are you doing?
- Bad.
- Bad?
It just sucks.
Like, the house?
Like, what sucks
about the house?
Almost everything.
There's been times
that there's not enough food,
and I definitely go over
to friends' houses
and eat their food.
But I feel bad for everyone else
who has to stay here
'cause, you know, like,
what are they going to eat?
If you want, you
can go to your friend's
and we won't blame you
or anything.
You should probably
eat there, too.
I don't know.
This is too much
for you, you can go.
Me and Austin aren't
gonna blame you
and we're not gonna be lonely.
I definitely
worry about them a lot.
I want to take care of them,
but I just can't.
It's so hard.
In Oregon,
and this is mirrored
around the country,
but 26% of the population lives
in a condition of asset poverty.
So that's one out of 4 people.
If you don't have income
for 3 months,
you're going to your friends.
Hopefully you have some friends,
right, or family?
Maybe you don't have family
nearby, or public assistance.
The resiliency cushion...
the resiliency,
economic resiliency
of Oregonians
and, in fact, nationwide is
almost non-existent, really.
We need to pray
that we get our
food stamps next week.
We'll just eat what's in
the cupboards this weekend.
We're just not going
to have any meat.
Will you go to that
food bank tomorrow?
Our kids know
I don't eat during the day.
They ask, "Mom, what'd you
eat for lunch today?"
I didn't eat. "What'd
you eat", you know?
"I wasn't hungry," you know?
"I worked through my lunch. "
I'll make up some excuse.
I just worry about
my mom the most.
She doesn't really get to eat.
I'd rather have
my mom eat than me.
So, you cannot,
cannot forget your lunch.
So if you forget it,
I'll be texting you.
- And you'll get in trouble.
You'll get grounded. - OK.
My daughter...
we had leftovers last night,
and she's like, "No, you need
to take this to work.
You need to eat. "
I was like, "No, no, no.
Don't worry about it. "
So I wake up this morning,
and she had one on the door,
two on the fridge, one on
the cupboard, and then one
on my bedroom door saying,
"Mom, don't forget your lunch.
Don't forget
your lunch. "
Sure enough, I didn't
forget my lunch.
It was the best lunch ever.
I really love my Mom.
The social safety net
has more holes in it.
You have to be
significantly poorer today
to even get in the door, OK,
for them to consider you.
In Oregon, for instance,
a 3-person family
whose income exceeds
$616 for a month
cannot get into the door to be
considered for the TANF program.
That was set in 1991
when our minimum wage
was under $5.00
and it's been frozen
there ever since.
That's a bad budget priority.
It's a bad choice,
and we need to change that.
So are you going to come
to the game tomorrow?
- To where?
- To the game?
Yeah, it's my last game.
Uh! It's in
the Northeast?
It's at Grant.
If I can get the insurance
and stuff on the car
and get, like, a trip permit,
then I'll be down there.
The job interview she
went to, she said that she had killed it.
She said she felt like she killed it
and she ended up not getting the job.
And she was, like, down and she was like,
"I don't know if I'm ever going to get a job again".
And I'm like, "Mom,
you got to do this.
We need you and you're
gonna push through. "
Weren't you invited
to go to Nevada?
- About wrestling?
- Those regionals?
No, for nationals.
When is it?
When is Nebraska?
- I have to have my money in by June...
- By June what?
You have to have your money
in by June and how much?
Oh, my God. How long
you guys gonna be there?
For a week.
Your one goal as a parent is
that your kids do
better than you.
Also, they know
that I went to college.
They know that they have
the ability to go to college.
I do want them to know that
they can achieve more.
This is not it. This is not it.
I told her all the time
that when I get older,
I want to buy her a house.
That's, like,
the American dream for me.
I was like, "I just want
to buy her a house. "
I just want to give her
the world, and I literally do.
She's like Superwoman
on steroids.
If you believe
that wealth trickles down
from the top,
then the only reason
you would help a poor family
is for charity, because
you felt sorry for them.
But there's, I think,
a far more persuasive argument
that you simply have this problem where
no one can afford to buy stuff anymore.
Helping a poor family
isn't an act of charity.
It's converting a family
that you have to support
into a family that can buy
things from your company.
Helping the poor is what
drives the economy.
That's why all
prosperous economies
have big middle classes, right,
that there's a huge return...
economically, socially, and politically...
in helping poor people.
So there's going to be 3
rooms, and right now we have 5 rooms.
Somebody's going to have to share,
and it's either going to be you two
or you and Bella.
I was working
for Volkswagen Credit.
Company cars, new car every year,
you know, made every bonus.
But things changed.
- The baby comes along...
- And I got pregnant.
And she's got health problems.
And then, you know,
he lost his job.
We were already starting to get
a little bit behind
on our mortgage.
I called them, and he said that
"We can modify your loan and,
you know, get you
a lower payment. "
And he said, "But you're
not far enough behind yet.
You need to be 90 days behind
before we can
help you. "
And that, to me, sounded crazy.
I was like, "What?"
- No, take the whole box.
Get it into the U-Haul. - OK.
But they said,
you know, "Don't make any payments
until we can modify
this loan. "
Then, in September, they say,
"We're so sorry.
You don't qualify for anything,
And we need
$17,000 in 5 days. "
We came home
and we saw the foreclosure sign
on, like, in the front door.
That was really scary.
The kids are gonna
have that sense of unstableness.
I wanted better for them.
I feel like a failure.
I feel like I failed.
- Gunner, stay with me, please.
- I'm staying right here.
So it's going to be a little
rough the next couple days.
I'm going to be staying at the
shelter I don't know the name of.
This is our first night here.
Um, are they having
dinner tonight?
The food's right
in the kitchen.
OK, thanks.
- There's so many people here.
- Shh.
You know, people start crying
the minute you even use
the word "shelter. "
They say, "I can't.
I can't go there. "
No one wants
to go to a shelter.
It's not a wonderful environment
for you or for your children,
and yet it's a safe place you can
go and you can start working
with folks whose job it is to
help you get back on your feet.
I know there are people who would rather
sleep in their car than go to a shelter.
I think there's a lot
of people in that situation.
It's just temporary.
I promise, OK?
I'm not worried
about the stupid shelter.
you know Mommy will
fix this, right?
Oh, why do you...
why would I say something?
You're all, like,
"Ooh, don't worry. "
'Cause you look like you're
upset right now and...
I'm not upset.
I'm tired.
- Really?
- I'm tired.
I know you better
than that, son.
- I need you to stop.
- OK. Give...
I know you're upset,
but I'm sorry.
I'm not! Mmm!
Where did he go?
People asked
me where I lived at school,
but I just said I lived
in the same place
or by that place so, like,
they wouldn't, like,
make fun because my school
is very, like, judgmental.
They'll make fun of you
if you live somewhere
that isn't regular or normal.
- Gunner, stop.
- I'm tired! I want...
I know this is
a lot to take in.
When is this going to be over?
I don't know. When
it's over, it's over,
but in the meantime, you and I
have to figure this out, OK?
I promise, things will be
better in a real soon time.
Please, dear God,
let this be temporary.
has a bump in the road.
Homeless people are people
who, in many instances,
have hit a rough stretch
in their life.
A series of things
have happened.
Someone's lost
their home, their job,
their healthcare;
and then they have some
traumatic personal experience
and they're on the street.
And I think the thing about
homelessness that I've learned
is it can happen to anybody;
that it could be your neighbor,
your friend, a family member.
And I think once you break down
those barriers and stereotypes,
and you see homeless individuals
as brothers and sisters,
friends, co-workers, others,
it changes one's attitude.
All right.
One more.
Geral, guess what.
These are the long ones.
It's tough when
you can't give your kid something.
He sits there and says,
"I want to watch a movie.
I want to get a movie.
You know, it's one dollar. "
"Sorry, kid. "
"Not tonight. "
"Can't afford it. "
Kids shouldn't even have to
worry about that kind of stuff.
It's not their fault, you know?
OK, Geral. Here we
go, Geral, right here.
Aim that ball.
Use your knees.
Here we go.
Oh, yeah.
- Yeah!
- Good job.
Without a job
and all that stuff,
the only thing that really
keeps my sanity
is the little boy,
the little guy.
He's always smiling.
When you see that smile
and the way his outlook
on life is, you know,
it gives you a feeling like, "You
know, the world isn't so bad. "
You know?
We have these trade policies
with other countries which have
been enormously beneficial
to the owners of companies
because it turns out
to be incredibly useful to be able
to relocate where we manufacture
or create our products to places
where workers have no power, right?
Where you don't have to pay them
anything and you don't have to worry
about pollution regulations or
anything like that.
What Congress hears about
is how fantastic that is
for business.
And it is fantastic
for the shareholders
in the near term
of the businesses.
But what it doesn't account for
is the long-term health
of the American economy.
The only people who suffer
are the workers,
and the only people
who benefit are the owners.
The sort of typical
American family
has been completely railroaded.
I would have never thought
that I would have had to move back home, ever.
And it's just extremely hard
and it's extremely frustrating,
and I don't even want
to tell people. I'm embarrassed.
My husband's embarrassed.
We don't want to tell people.
And people on Facebook...
"Hey, how you doing?"
"I'm doing good.
How are you?" You know?
And I mean, no, I'm going
to tell them? You know.
I mean I'm not going
to sit there and say,
"Oh, we're both not working.
We have no money.
We don't know how we're
going to pay our bills.
I'm living at home
with my mother,
and my mom's sleeping
on the couch. "
I mean, it breaks my heart.
I don't want to tell
people that. It's embarrassing.
- Hey, Mama?
- Yeah, son?
I just want to say thank you.
It is a hard day, and I
know this is a lot on you.
Thank you, son.
And you know what?
My pleasure.
I love you.
You're a good man.
You know, least
we can do is just
continue being the family
that we should be.
We're just one big
happy family.
Yeah, we are.
My last job interview,
I mean, I think
I nailed it to the tee.
- That's awesome.
- I think I did pretty good.
I mean, I've never done
an interview where,
towards the end of the interview,
we were pretty much done
and then they asked me
about football.
And I was like, "Oh, yeah,
big in football. "
When are you gonna hear
back on that interview?
This week.
We have to have a system
that can take that person whose
skills were perfectly fine
when they left high school
and now, all of a sudden,
the economy has changed
around them
and they need to be re-tooled.
We need the money and the
investment to help them re-tool.
They end up costing us more
sitting on the sidelines than they
would if we invested the money
to get them the skills
they need to participate.
- Hey, baby.
- What's up, lady?
What's up?
Well, how was your day?
Fine, till I checked
the mail. Heh!
What's in there?
- Do you want to know?
- Yeah.
We got a shut-off notice
from the electricity company
even though I just
gave them 280 bucks.
Sit down.
Why? Ha ha!
Well, I got bad news.
The bad news...
they fired me today.
What do you mean,
they fired you?
They fired me.
I got pulled in the office
I got fired.
And, look, and when
I was leaving,
Jerry said...
- Who is Jerry?
- Jerry's the owner.
Said apparently
he should have listened
to Jason and not hired my kind.
So, at that point, I told him
that that was racist
and it's just not right,
it's not fair.
Things started happening,
as far as me getting accused
of doing things wrong.
It started probably
about maybe a week ago,
when the painter was
talking about
a customer's car, you know,
and I kind of had an idea.
He has a big rebel flag
tattooed on his neck.
He was like, "Oh, great.
Now I get to paint
another nigger's car. "
And he looked at me and he goes,
"You're not nigger, are ya?"
And I just kind of smiled
and I was just, like, going,
"I'm American," you know?
I said, "I don't really
see any color. "
It just pisses me off.
Just another stump.
Yeah, but it hit us
hard right now.
We still have rent to pay.
And then this.
Did you get your check today?
I asked him
to give me my check,
and he said he had 24
hours to get it to me.
I was hot.
I was, like, really upset
and very angry.
I wasn't only angry about the
situation, you know what I mean?
About me being fired and stuff like
that, because all these things that's
running through my head is, "Now
we're going to struggle again,
and I've got to tell
my wife this. "
And now everything's
pushed back on her.
So how do you feel
about this whole thing?
Hurt. Upset.
Distressed, disgusted
with people.
So what is real? Like, how do
you feel about everything?
You losing your job hurts
the most just because
just because of the fact that
we were bringing in more money.
Might not seem
like it right now,
but it was helping
with the bills.
Well, I have
no control over that.
That's why I feel like
you're kind of blaming me
for losing the job and
everything that's going on.
No. I don't
blame you at all.
You had no control over this.
It's just this whole thing affects
me in a weird way, you know?
I just don't get the fact
that people are racist.
God made us all
the same, right?
Some of us are darker.
I still love you.
It's all that matters.
the way I look at it is,
I don't know how I'm
going to make it.
I have no money
saved up for college.
I don't have any of that stuff.
And I want to go to college.
I want to be able
to have a good life.
And it makes me worry, like,
how am I going to be successful?
And how am I going to be able
to provide for my family?
I worry about that every day.
Oh, my goodness.
It's so cute.
It's trying
to find its mama.
That doesn't surprise me that,
among the folks who are showing
up on the 211 phone line,
that they're questioning the
American dream 'cause you know what?
It's not a part of the American dream
to have to call and ask for food help.
It's not a part of
the American dream to think,
"I'm not going to be able
to pay my rent. "
I think people still believe in the
American dream and want the American dream.
I think there's more and more
people who are being denied it
by the growing income
And they're saying, "I work
hard. I play by the rules.
I see corporate profits
going through the roof
and I can't get ahead. "
I am a single mom
that really needs help with coming
up with the rest of our rent.
We just got an eviction
notice and we have nowhere to go.
I am out of food,
and I've got very little for the baby.
- How old is your daughter?
- She's 17.
- Are you sleeping in your car?
- Under a bridge, actually.
Yeah, and it's cold.
It is really cold.
Think we check in
right over here.
All right,
so you guys are disconnected
on PGE and Northwestern, right?
- On everything.
- And our water.
We have never gone through this,
so we really let things...
we don't, you know...
it's been almost a month.
I was in a similar situation.
I've been homeless,
been in apartments
where I couldn't afford
anything, got evicted.
You know, finally got a place but
couldn't get my electricity back on.
I actually came to
Human Solutions for help,
and they're the one who helped me
with the housing, with electricity
and, you know, with everything,
and then, next thing I know,
they offered me to volunteer
here and I got a job.
- No way.
- Really?
- Wow.
- Yeah.
Everybody goes
through something.
OK, so, with PGE,
your balance is $1,439.
- Mm-hmm.
- So we are
helping you with
- You're kidding me.
- Oh, my God.
Did you know that they
told us one of the options
is we could get it turned
on if it was over $700?
We're going to get electricity?
Turned back on today
and your gas, too.
It's all going to be today.
- Yeah.
- You're kidding me.
- Heat and electricity?
- Oh, my God.
- Thank you so much. - So I will be
right back in just a second, OK?
I'm dumbfounded.
What does it mean to be in America?
What does it mean
to live in this country?
Everybody wants the same thing.
We want to be able to live
in a place of freedom.
Want to be able to live in a place where we
have the chance to be the best we can be.
- Awesome.
- Thank you very much.
That's why you're
seeing so many other nations
appreciate that about America,
yet we're throwing it away,
and it's our most
powerful asset that we have.
My daughter's been very
ill since September, off and on.
And I have, like, hundreds of
thousands of dollars in doctor bills.
And I didn't know if,
like, I can get help
with those or
I don't know what
to do at this point.
OK. Well, I appreciate it
very much.
OK, thank you very much.
Uh-huh. You, too. Bye.
What'd they say?
There's nothing they can do.
- For reals?
- Yup.
So basically they're telling you that
you have to pay every single bill?
Pretty much.
They don't go back and pay
past medical, due to
budget cuts and stuff.
How does the doctor
expect anybody
to have that kind of
money, like, honestly?
I just feel like it's all my fault
that you have to pay so much money.
Honey, it's not your fault.
So what? You got sick.
We couldn't change that.
But I don't want you to stress
about it every day, by all means,
I want you to just be a kid
and not worry about bills.
You're too young.
That, and it could give you
a fricking ulcer again.
And we don't want that
to happen
'cause then we'll have
double the bills.
Yeah, exactly.
Just, I feel like...
I have to help you in some way.
No, you don't.
You're a kid. Be a kid.
I know, but...
Doesn't everything
always work out?
- You got everything?
- Yeah.
- OK.
- Please be on.
- Please be on. Please be on.
- I know, right?
OK. I don't see
any lights yet.
I don't know if we left any.
Ohh! No!
- Really? You hit a light switch?
- Whoo!
- Ha ha! Let me do it.
- Oh, my God.
See this?
Oh, my God.
Are you... crazy.
This is crazy cool.
OK, breathe... ohh!
- We have lights.
- That's awesome.
I'm just psyched.
Are you OK, buddy?
Obviously not.
You're puking.
You're OK.
I'm right here.
Let me see you.
You look really pale.
Well, yeah, I just barfed.
Do you feel a little
better, though?
No. I'm achy.
- Will you at least tell me
how to set the... - See that?
I know. You're shaking. It's
also cold outside, too.
I am so sorry that we're here
and you can't be at home.
No, I really don't want you by the window.
Let's go over here.
What we have is a system that,
once someone falls
into homelessness,
we've ensured
that the highest-cost
service delivery
system kicks in.
The police officer
becomes their case worker.
The fire bureau becomes
their medical provider.
They get most of their medical care
through emergency-room services.
What if we actually went
upstream and said,
"How do we prevent people
from falling into homelessness?
How do we make
investments upstream
so that no one falls
into homelessness,
and what if it turns out
it costs a lot less?"
Now, of course, we've documented all
over the country that that's the case.
If we make a small investment
then... early on...
to keep someone in
their apartment
and avoid all of the dominoes
which follow when
there's an eviction,
then not only do we
save a fortune,
the back end, but we keep
someone in a healthy place.
- I love you.
- Love you, too.
I'm going to be right by you,
so if you need to get up
or anything,
just wake me up, OK?
- Mm-hmm.
- I'm sorry you have to be sick here.
I dread coming here
because all
the stress and stuff.
Some times are
harder than others,
but I never lose hope.
Sweet dreams.
Day by day
I'm in that house,
I'm getting, like, more
and more depressed.
When we married each other,
and when we talked about
our future and our plans,
- this isn't what I saw.
- Oh, I know.
Brandon was so
disappointed he did not get that job.
He thought, "Oh, we were talking
about football and laughing
and the interview went
so well," and no.
No. They even said,
"We'll call you by next week
to let you know if you're going
to get it or if you're not. "
And then Brandon called them,
and they said, "Oh, we still
haven't picked an applicant.
It'll be the following week. "
But he didn't get a phone call.
You know, I'll be
honest with you.
When I go to this interview
tomorrow and it doesn't work out,
I'm going to fricking lose it.
Heh! That's
the honest truth.
Because this is, like, the
fifth interview that you had?
I'm gonna lose it.
I'm gonna be so angry.
Each job
I've been interviewing for,
each donation I'm getting
from my family,
each little step I take on
moving into a new place,
then living with
my mother-in-law,
the confidence up here just keeps
taking a step down and a step down.
Your hope is just
draining out of you.
It seems like I was on
a ladder up here...
but I'm not even on the ladder.
I'm back on the ground,
I got two feet on there,
just holding a ladder
looking up; it's all I'm doing.
I don't know.
- I do love you.
- I love you, too.
I love you, too.
Every state
in this country, if you look at state
and local taxes, the lowest-income Americans
pay a higher share of their income
towards state and local taxes
than do the wealthy.
That's upside down.
The home-mortgage interest
deduction is a perfect example.
Someone who can afford to pay
the monthly payment
on a $900,000 mortgage,
we're subsidizing through
our tax code at the same time
that we're not willing
to build affordable housing
for families who are homeless.
That's a poor budget choice. That's
a spending choice that's wrong.
You've been approved
for our Housing First program,
which is 3 months of rental assistance
from the time that you move in.
Funding is not guaranteed.
- It may run out before you secure housing.
- OK.
We're just going to stay positive
and I'm going to have an address
soon, very soon.
And what we're
going to do today is
- go over your training plan...
- OK.
And talk about your
job description,
- give you a tour, introduce
you to the staff. - OK.
Talk to you a little bit about
Southeast Works and what we do.
I have gotten a job,
and most people would
probably think that
getting a job would be
a great big change
and everything would be
all better.
But the guy who actually
referred me to the program,
he said, "Yeah, it's
gonna be $10, you know. "
$10 an hour.
It wasn't until I got
the paperwork
and I looked down, and I'm like,
"Oh, my God, it's $8.80.
It's minimum wage. "
At that very moment,
I wanted to cry,
I really did. I wanted to cry.
I felt like I... you know,
like a kick in the stomach.
Still gonna be difficult
to help keep my family clothed,
still gonna be difficult
to help keep them fed.
Right now I have rental assistance,
and so my rent is fairly low,
but as soon as I start to make money,
the rent goes up, the stamps go down,
and I'm back in the position that
I was in in the first place.
- Good job, Mama.
- Thank you.
And tomorrow... ohh!...
after working all week,
I have to get up
and go scrapping.
Scrapping, donating plasma,
that's just making ends meet.
You'll never be able
to get ahead,
not working for minimum wage.
You'll never achieve
the American dream.
That's not part of my reality.
If you're earning the minimum wage
in the United States of America,
you're on food stamps, Medicaid.
I don't know what the array of
government services are that you
need to survive, particularly
if you have a family.
If you tripled the minimum wage,
none of those people
would need those
services anymore.
So it's very clear
the minimum wage
is simply a way
for the American taxpayer
to subsidize companies
that pay people
the minimum wage.
They pay this person
the minimum wage,
and then we supply
a social safety net
so that person
doesn't starve to death.
It's insane!
Got to go feed
the horses, huh?
Yup. I'm ready.
With my little boy,
Geral, this is home to him, you know?
He has his dogs,
Puppy and Bishop.
He loves the horses.
He loves the animals.
It's home.
And that's one
of the main reasons
I really even want
to keep this house,
is this is the house
that he knows.
This is home.
OK. Here's Bulls-eye.
- Say, "Hi, Bulls-eye. "
- Hi, Bull's-eye.
- Yay!
- I did it!
Yeah. Yeah.
We did it! Yay!
You did it. One more.
they're going to auction off
my house, my 5 acres here.
I'm scared about
my situation right now,
but I'm also scared about
Geral's situation
as he gets older.
Come on, kitty-kitty.
Come on.
My hope was that
I could build something here,
pay it off; that way Geral would
have something to fall back on.
I got to be here to protect him,
or... make his life
as comfortable as... I can.
Yay! I did it!
Whoo! I did it!
Hey Gunner, look!
Our furniture got here!
Oh, my goodness.
Lookit, Gunner!
Gunner and I got up
one Saturday morning and it was beautiful,
and I said, "We're not going
home till we find a place. "
This was the third place
we looked at.
Amy had to come do,
like, an inspection thingy
for Human Solutions, and then
she called me with...
less than 24 hours and said,
"You guys are approved.
You can move in.
Come get your keys. "
That day was... the heavens were
shining down upon us. Ha ha ha!
I'm so glad we have
a place here.
Oh, Gunner.
Are you happy?
Yeah, I'm happy.
We can still file bankruptcy
on the house, too.
And then what?
I don't know what.
Maybe it'd be better
you go to your mom's.
How could you say that?
I know she's not going
to put me up anything,
you know what I'm saying?
I'm not saying it to be
mean or anything like
that; I'm just thinking
about all the options
and we don't really have
that many options.
I can't even imagine
why you would say
move out of state.
It's crap.
- It's not crap.
- It is.
What's crap about it?
Dad already has 10 people
living in that house.
Mom has 5 people living
in her house.
It's not even
an option for me...
or our kids.
If it gets to the point
of where...
where we have no place to go
and we're going to end up
up on the fricking street...
you're gonna stay with me even
if we have to live in a tent?
- Mm-hmm.
- Really?
Mm-hmm. In the snow.
You're crazy.
Well, we're a family, right?
And families don't
just up and move
because things are bad.
I haven't left you in 9 years.
I don't think I'm
gonna do it now.
My dumb ass chose to stay.
I'm glad you did.
- Me, too.
- You didn't have to.
I know.
I love you.
I love you, too.
How much?
Enough to stay and live
in a tent in the winter.
That's love.
- So I appreciate you coming in today.
- Mm-hmm.
You know, I told you during
that interview process
that there was a lot of candidates
that we were interviewing
and that it was
incredibly competitive.
- I'm prepared to offer you a job today.
- All right.
- That's the good news, OK?
- That's good.
Really, you're over-qualified
and I recognize that.
I wouldn't let you down.
If you tell me that
I'm getting the job,
- I'll work hard and wouldn't let you down.
- Well, I appreciate that.
I really think you'd be a
great fit to this company.
- So how about we start next week?
- All right. We'll do it.
- Welcome to Caldera.
- All right, all right.
- Thanks very much.
- Thank you. Thank you so much.
I finally found a job.
At my last job, I was
making about $22 an hour.
Yeah, and he's making,
like, half now.
Now I'm making
$13.50 an hour, and...
- It's a big blow.
- It is a big blow.
It's really hard.
Daddy's not going
to have as much as free time,
you know, 'cause he's
working part-time.
I'm working, but on weekends
I'll still take you out.
- Yes.
- Promise.
If we did
not have those resources,
I don't know what we
would have done.
I really don't.
Those resources are the only
thing that I think saved us.
In this country, as profits
went up at businesses
and the economy was producing
more incomes of all
of the income groups,
the lowest income,
middle income, and upper income
all went up pretty much
the same rate.
Starting in the mid to late-1970s,
the wealthy shot up
and everybody else
leveled off or went down.
Businesses have had
record profits,
and what do we have for it?
We have middle class seeing
their incomes go down.
We have highest level
of poverty in the...
that we've ever had,
number of people who are poor.
That's not right.
And so, for me,
the American dream is you
work hard, play by the rules,
and there's opportunity for all;
that everyone gets to share
to some degree in the growth in
our economy, in our prosperity.
And we haven't had that.
And now, when the country
does better, it's going
to a select and privileged few.
We were talking about getting
a home, and now we're back to square one.
And now I don't even want
to talk about getting a home,
just talk about getting
on our feet.
I always wanted to raise
my kids in a home
'cause I never had it,
but it's just sad.
That dream is
just so far, just...
- Sorry, baby.
- It's OK.
I've never lived in a house.
She's never lived in a house.
She's always lived
in an apartment.
I still want that.
I could hit
the lottery, you know?
I love you. Ha ha!
You never know.
Say, "Bye-bye, park. "
Bye-bye, park.
See you again soon.
Bye. See you soon.
I believe
our American dream has turned
into American nightmare
by falling for the lure
of sort of individual success
that we have forgotten
our ideals.
It's not just our safety net
that's falling apart,
it's the moral fiber,
and that's what happens
when we forget to have love
and compassion for one another.
"Happy Mother's Day, Mommy.
You are my mommy
and I am proud to say that.
I love you so much.
You are the best mommy ever. "
That is very, very cute.
Thanks for being there
for me in the hospital.
You're welcome.
Thank you, guys.
This is where we're
at, is people really looking for a safety net
that's frayed well beyond what
I think most people think.
Stimulus dollars,
a lot of that has now gone away,
and that's going to impact a lot
of social service agencies.
So you see need up, you see social
service agencies with less resources.
Your mark, set...
Go, Geral! Go, go, go!
So I think, for us,
the next year, year and a half
is going to be probably
even more challenging
than the last year and a half.
Good job, partner.
- Did really, really good, huh?
- Yeah.
- Were you really, really, really fast?
- Yeah.
The reason
why I want to be successful now
is because when I wake up,
I look around,
I don't like where I am. I don't
feel like I deserve this.
I feel like I deserve better.
Feel like my mom deserves better.
I was like,
"Mom, my whole 17 years,
I have always had to struggle,"
and she's like, "You know what?
I'm 40 years old and I
feel the same way. "
And I'm like, "Why?"
When people realize
that it's not
"every man for himself,"
that it truly is
"we're all better off
when we're all better off,"
you're going to have
a much better society,
one that's both fairer
and more inclusive,
but also more prosperous
for everybody.
I don't want to
have, like, a mansion or anything
and, like, stacks of money
sitting right next to me.
I want to have, like,
just a normal house,
maybe a dog, maybe two kids;
I'd prefer one.
the American dream, right?
To not have to worry about
money. That's every kid...
Like, if every kid could say
that, then it's just awesome.
That'd be awesome.
- Ha! Who's that?
- Dada!
- Hey, buddy.
- Dada!
We've lost our identity.
Are we headed in a direction
that is gonna cause us
to thrive and survive and grow,
or are we headed in a place
where you're gonna have
the haves and the have-nots?
If that increases and there's
a divide between the two,
that's not going to bode very
well for the future of America.
Yee-haw. Ride, cowboy.
- Ride, cowboy.
- Yeah.
Once upon
a time, America had policies
which promoted a strong
middle class,
investing in education
so that kids have a chance.
Investing in affordable homes.
Making sure that healthcare
is affordable and accessible.
It's investments
in the kinds of things
which we know produce
healthy outcomes
for our community,
and we know what they are.
That's no mystery. The question is,
are we willing to invest in them?
And we keep falling short.
Can we insist
that we protect families
in this country
and that we have policies
that make sure
we're investing in healthy
outcomes for them?
- Love you.
- I love you.
Yeah? Me you.
When I
grow up, I want to have kids,
a husband, and I want
to be able to not worry about
"How am I gonna feed my family?
How are we gonna pay our bills?"
And I'll have
to worry about that.
Gonna say your prayers?
OK. Fold your hands
like this.
Go like this.
Close your eyes.
- Say, "Dear God... "
- Dear God.
- "Protect my family. "
- Protect my family.
- "Keep us safe. "
- Keep us safe.
"Thank you for
looking after us. "
Thank you for
looking out for us.
"And providing for us. "
And providing for us.
I sure hope I'm gonna be
able to live the American dream.
I want to be able,
when I get older,
to have a good job and go
to work every day.
And I want to have
that, like, relief
to know my family's gonna be OK
and they're gonna
be able to eat.
- In Jesus' name...
- In Jesus' name...
- Amen.
- Amen.
Yeah, I do want to get
to a place where I don't have to worry.
I think that's
every kid's dream.