This I Believe

Claudia - Long Beach, California
Entered on December 9, 2007
Age Group: 50 - 65

Dear This I Believe,

I have been a social worker in New York and now in Los Angeles for over 25 years. I believe that all people are created equal. I believe it is the duty of society to help individuals who have fallen on hard times, are in crisis. My clients are white, Asian, black or Latino. Some come from middle class backgrounds, others from poverty. Some are well adjusted others with a history of chronic mental illness.

I grew up in Manhattan during the 1950’s and 60’s. Manhattan was radically different than today, with a rich mix of rich and poor. I grew up on Riverside Drive on the Upper West Side. My family were middle class but I had both wealthy and really poor friends. I guess that my growing up influenced my choice of career.

I could never figure out why I lived in a comfortable apartment with a doorman, while some of my friends resided in dark tenement flats, some with bathrooms in the hallways. My dad worked hard but so did their fathers work hard in their menial positions. However they could not earn enough for decent housing. Well l some things never change.

Today this issue comes up in my job. At my social service agency we get calls from elderly people who either cannot pay rising rents or are being evicted due to gentrification. I have very few housing resources to refer my clients to. There is not much we can do.

I believe that our country should provide affordable housing to all Americans. This I believe.