Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Samantha Garvey, 17 years old of Brentwood, Long Island (Suffolk County), New York has a great story of perseverance and courage to tell the world. She got lucky and someone was listening, a very rare fairy tale come true.

Garvey is one of 300 teenagers nationwide named this week as semifinalists in the prestigious Intel science competition; finalists will be announced at the end of January. If Samantha wins the Intel competition, she will win a $100,000 college scholarship.

She spent more than two years researching the effects of the Asian short crab on the mussel population in a salt marsh on Long Island, east of New York City.
"What Sam found was that, like anyone, after being attacked you develop a tough skin of shell," said her science research teacher, Rebecca Grella. "These mussels were able to increase their thickness and protect themselves against their predator." 

Grella noted the link between Garvey's challenges and those of the mollusks she studied."I do believe that is an amazing metaphor," Grella said, "and I do see Sam as a strong mussel."

The Brentwood High School senior, who has applied to Yale and Brown Universities, is homeless, she was evicted along with her family from their home on New Year's Eve. Her mother, Olga, a nurse's assistant, was out of work for eight months following a car accident in February, and her father, Leo, Olga, Samantha a brother and sister had been living in a home, but were evicted when the parents fell behind on payments after Leo could not keep up with paying all the regular bills, plus the mothers medical costs on his salary as a cab driver.

Garvey and her father said that they had been homeless on and off for years; more recently, the family of five had rented a home for six or seven years prior to that, Leo Garvey said. Before, the family had also lived in homeless shelters from time to time; Leo Garvey described himself as a recovering alcoholic.

Samantha said that she had worried for several months before the eviction, knowing that her mother was ailing and money was tight.

Her  story has gotten coverage nationwide. It's the type of "human interest" story that the media magically plucks out of the misery in America to focus on for a few days before they and the public with the tiniest attention span of a young toddler, quickly forget. Out of sight, out of mind.

There is almost never a realistic attempt to explore, examine, propose positive changes for the numerous kinds of critical, painful, life changing issues that affect millions of "hidden", suffering Americans on a daily basis, who are simply trying to survive each day, one at a time.

Suffolk County officials as soon as the story was picked up by the media, suddenly announced that they had found a three-bedroom home for Samantha Garvey and her family while an anonymous donor stepped up to save the Garvey's dog from being euthanized at a pound.Now,with donations coming in and the county finding them rent-subsidized housing, she'll again be able to do her homework in a home. In addition to the county housing, officials said the Marriott Corp. is donating "several thousand dollars" of furniture for the family to use. She said, "It is absolutely amazing and incredible."

"This is just the most amazing thing you could ask for, she told NBC New York, "My dad has always said, 'Pick your head up and keep on going the diminutive Garvey said at a news conference Friday, surrounded by her parents, brother, sister and a cadre of politicians and school officials.

"I ordered a senior picture and I said, "I don't know where to send it. I don't know what's going to happen. What if we move, what if we get evicted, which we did," she said. "You're out in limbo. You're like, "What's going to happen to my mail, what's going to happen to my college applications. Where are they all going to go? It's scary."

"We're all in tears here," she said after Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced that the Department of Social Services had located a nearby three-bedroom house where the family could live.The house is undergoing renovations and should be ready for the Garveys in about 10 days, Bellone said.

Samantha has been invited to watch President Obama's State of the Union address on Jan. 24  as a guest of Long Island Congressman Steve Israel.

Israel says he was moved by the aspiring marine biologist's story. He's offered Garvey a prestigious gallery ticket. Her parents would watch from Israel's office. Her father tells Newsday they'd love to go.

The Garveys will pay 30 percent of their monthly income to rent the county owned property, officials said. Gregory Blass, the county commissioner of Social Services, said the family was already known to officials because they were staying in a shelter, making them eligible to move into the house.

He insisted the Garveys received no preferential treatment because of Samantha's celebrity.

Indeed NOT!

Where were all those " cadre of Politicians" at before she made the news? A good photo op from the same ones her family sought out for help, ignoring them, before,and after becoming homeless, but the minute she makes the spotlight they are right there like it was all their doing. The unlimited depths of how low the sleazy politicians will go to get themselves to look kind, compassionate, human, never ceases to amaze even a realist like myself. It makes me want to puke.

What sticks in my gut is the sudden "discovery", real action, embracing awareness by these full of shit politicians that homelessness exists, that poverty is rampant, and being on Welfare, homeless, doesn't necessarily mean that a person is a bum, lazy, worthless, dumb, or as Newt Gingrich said "these poor kids on welfare should find jobs as janitors".

Naturally, out of the phony sleazy political/corporate world, those swarming snakes of politicians, corporate white Knights have miraculously, suddenly emerged. they discovered Samantha and see an agenda for themselves, their career image, a public relations sound byte, nothing more, nothing less would be expected from these parasites.

It's the hypocrisy of those in power that really pisses me off. Their willingness to use this young lady and her family for their own personal political publicity, with not an ounce of honesty in what they are saying,doing, and next week they will ignore all the other Americans in similar situations of needing help, as if they don't exist.

These are the very same politicians in Samantha's case who have destroyed the programs that help people in need, by wielding without a conscience their budget cuts, indifference, arrogance, apathy, removing the fragile semblance of a safety net that used to exist before all of this, all in the name of deficit reductions.

At the very same time that they dismantled social service and many other programs for their residents, the exact same process is taking place all across America where politicians manage to protect the mismanagement that they do so well with their bloated, overpaid workers, waste in spending, patronage, contracts, deals with their corporate, business, cronies, and campaign financial supporters who give them money to own them.

There are hundreds of thousands of similar heart breaking human stories out there that never get blown up like this, never get the media attention, and the public awareness, hence they never get the just as well deserved donations and help. 

If the voters elect more tea-party types, GOP cut everything types except protect the rich, who all want to cut government progr­ams at  any­ cost, we're gonna see even more homelessne­ss. 

Other than Vt. Senator Bernie Sanders who comes to mind right now, there are too many politicians who propose legislatio­n and/or vote along ideologica­l lines, on both sides of the aisle. It's the same at State and local level. 

The voters have to get informed and elect people who care about people and not follow some self serving, say anything bull shit ideologue spouting anti-gover­nment/anti­-tax rhetoric. Oliver Wendell Holmes said it best: "Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society". 

The "waste" is never cut. One man's "waste" is another's "need". Yes, homelessne­ss is a shame in this country and the fault of citizens who allow this to happen by following like dumb sheep, the politicians with their lying "snake oil" budget deficit "fixes", done on the backs of all working Americans, especially the most vulnerable, those in need, the Samantha Garvey's of all ages, types, and lives that are as deserving as her family is of compassion,help.

You can't be both free and ignorant. For all the Obama hate­rs out there, and for all his huge failures, his heart is somewhere in the remote vicinity of being in the right place, compared to the greedy slash and burn at any cost, do nothing but destroy "ideas" coming from the opposition which has no clue, nor do they care about we the people. Of course if you have a lot of money, then they will love you.

America is not broke.There is tremendous wealth in this country and we clearly have a distributi­on problem. There is no reason for anyone to be homeless or for any child's life to be blighted by poverty. It's pure and simple injustice, greed and the failure of our political system to address either. We have spent well over several trillion dollars, and still counting on the last 2 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

There somehow is always unlimited funds found to fund ill conceived wars, and provide foreign aid to Countries that hate us. No-one talks of "we can't afford it" when those acts of  supporting mindless dictatorships are pursued.

Now suddenly, we discover that the United States has homeless people who have human faces, aspirations, and potential. The political know nothings, liars of hate, repeat the words of baloney, "but we can't afford to pay for the domestic programs to support those in need and the rest of us, not even Social Security and Medicare Entitlement programs, cut them all"  We're pathetic as a nation! 

Her father wrote on Newsday.com, "I want to thank all of you for your wonderful comments on this story. Many of times I have been ready to throw in the towel and give up and wallow in self pity but then I look at this girl who I used to hold in one hand when she was born at 2lbs 14ozs, who is one giant of a woman today and she gives me the reason to keep on going along with brother and sister. I live for them. Signed one very very very proud dad." And if you want to contact the Garvey family, you can reach them at leog1951@optonline.net

The true facts are always amazingly shocking when it comes to the homeless in America, all the other Samantha Garvey's and their families, just like hers, real people:

.There are over 6,000 homeless people living in shelters or placed in motels on Long Island, NY. These numbers do not include those who are homeless and living on the streets or in the woods.

* 56% are living in shelters and transitional housing, while 44% are unsheltered.

* 59% are single adults and 41% are persons living in families.

* 98,452 are homeless families

* 23% are chronically homeless according to HUD’s definition.

*Over the course of a year, between 2.5 and 3.5 million people will live either on the streets or in an emergency shelter.

.1.5 MILLION = the number of children in America who go to sleep without a home each year

.1 in 50 = an American child’s chances of experiencing homelessness in their lifetime

. In January 2011, the number of unemployed Americans is still 29.6 million. All of them potential homeless victims at any moment.
Who is going to help them?