One of my favorite quotes is from fictitious boxing icon Rocky Balboa, which in part reads: “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life.”
While some of life’s ‘hits’ are self-inflicted by poor choices or ill-informed decisions, often they are the result of a single major life event that gets thrust upon us, throwing our entire lives into a tailspin. A catastrophic illness with insurmountable hospital and medical bills. A blindsiding divorce. The death of a spouse. The loss of a job. A natural disaster. And, of course, a global pandemic. The list goes on. Many may even experience several drastic life changes all at once.
A THIN LINE
In Q1 2021, a consumer trends report cited that 56% of Americans were living paycheck-to-paycheck. ¹ With the majority of the population living on razor-thin financial margins, a drastic and unforeseen life event can drop a family to the mat in an instant. One moment you’re getting by, and the next you’re facing the loss of your home or being evicted from your rental property. While many of us could lean on family or friends for help, countless others might not have that option, quickly rendering them without shelter.
The COVID-19 pandemic alone has pushed millions of families to the brink of eviction. A recent U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey showed that more than a quarter of renter families with children across the nation are behind on their rent.
The same U.S. Census Bureau study indicates more than 73,000 Pennsylvanians are somewhat likely or very likely to lose their homes to eviction over the coming months. The federal freeze on most evictions enacted in September of last year expired on August 26th, leaving many to anticipate a rapid spike in homelessness.
It’s important that we recognize just how vulnerable many of us are to this very type of predicament…No matter how hard we’ve worked, no matter how many good choices we’ve made. In an instant we could be clamoring for a roof over our heads, just when we think it could ‘never happen to us’. Housing creates a stable environment to help weather life’s crises, but it’s often life’s crises that render us without a home.
May it keep us all mindful of the thin line that separates us as we walk through life’s sliding doors. If adversity knocks us down for the count, it’s in these moments that strength and grace can also find us – whether through friends, family, co-workers, or community organizations and resources like Family Promise.
The remainder of my favorite Rocky quote ends appropriately with this reminder, “But it ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.”
¹ Jungle Scout Consumer Trends Report Q1 2021; PR Newswire
If you or someone you know are in need of shelter, contact Family Promise of the Harrisburg Capital Region. Please call (717) 737-1100 or start the application process online here.
To volunteer or donate, please visit https://www.familypromisehcr.org/get-involved