Welcome to the Poorhouse: the Rise of the No-Tell Motel

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I was feeling pretty shitty this morning about having to talk to a credit-card company and charge-card company about their hardship programs. Then the New York Times reminded me things could be much worse.

In light of the current financial meltdown, reporter Erik Eckholm puts a fresh spin on the Orange County Register's lauded series from 1998 about poor families struggling to survive in cheap motels. Eckholm's piece opens with Greg Hayworth, a 44-year-old Syracuse University graduate who made a good living in the real estate and mortgage finance business before it crashed, the bank foreclosed his home and he was later evicted from a rental house. Now he, his wife and three children "represent a new face of homelessness in Orange County: formerly middle income, living week to week in a cramped motel room."

That would be the Costa Mesa Motor Inn, where a charity helps pay the $800 monthly room rate. It is estimated 1,000 families live in Orange County motels. "The motels have become the de facto low-income housing of Orange County," Wally Gonzales of the nonprofit Project Dignity tells the NYT.

It's enough to make you wonder how county Board of Supervisors Chairman John Moorlach squares this phenomenon with his vaunted Christian beliefs.

Previously in Welcome to the Poorhouse:
Problem Makers Become "Solvers"
From My Bank to Your Ears
Ring-Ring-Ring!
A New Blog Series
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