Poverty in the USA takes us straight to San Diego, California where we meet 54-year old Maria who after spending the night in her car is about to begin her workday. It is quickly realized that this car is in fact her home as she no longer has a house to call her own. She has been sleeping in her van for a year now. Just like Maria, around 30 other people are living in their cars in the very same free carpark that has been set up by a charitable organization. Here they have access to running water, toilets, and a makeshift outdoor kitchen. What’s strange is that the majority of these people have jobs, from security guards, UBER drivers, secretaries or even computer technicians.
Maria herself is cleaner and caretaker, it is exhausting work that she does 7 days a week. However, Maria’s story is sadly just one of many middle-class Americans who have in recent years fallen into poverty. Officially America is great again, since the 2008 crash the economy has never been stronger with record-breaking growth and unemployment has dropped to a historical low, less than four percent an upturn for which Donald Trump has claimed all the credit. But despite what the president claims the famous American Dream is far from being achieved.
40 million people in America are living below the poverty line and millions of workers will go to great lengths to stay above it. Becoming homeless overnight is what these Americans fear most because here the system is not very kind to those short of cash. In some states being late on your rent is no laughing matter. One by one tenants are evicted at gunpoint, for these Americans on the verge of ruin seeking medical treatment can cost a fortune. So some people are standing up in solidarity making sure they are taken care of free of charge in field hospitals, not unlike those found in a country at war.
This film provides an insight into the lives of those who cannot scrape a living in the heart of destitute America.
Directed by: Sébastien Gilles