The Faces of Homelessness

Michelle Singletary
Thursday, October 8, 2009; 8:37 AM

With an estimated 7 million more homes going into foreclosure, the faces of those losing a place to live is drastically changing.

It could be your mother or sister or brother, or perhaps even a friend or cousin. Unfortunately, I have seen the new homeless up close and personal. I've watched friends and church members lose their homes.

This rotten economy is pushing families down the social ladder.

Ron and Yolanda Vazquez are a striking example. They had a typical middle-class life, with Ron was making $85,000 a year as an engineer in the defense industry. The family of five lived in a three-bedroom townhouse in Dumfries, Va., and now they're in a Woodbridge, Va. shelter.

"My wife told me today, 'Look, in the mirror, that's the face of homelessness," Ron Vasquez, 48, told a Post reporter.

Since the recession hit, schoolteachers, interior designers, computer technicians and other people with degrees and jobs you never thought would fail them have fallen victim to what I call the Great Millennium Recession.

If you think this can't happen to you, read Theresa Vargas's article Identity Crisis Accompanies Va. Family's Financial Slide (Oct. 6th).

Can We Talk?

Do you have a burning personal finance question? If so, join me today for a live discussion and ask away.

The chat starts at Noon ET. If you can't join me live, send in your question early or give the transcript a read after it's finished.

Celebrity Cash

Oh my goodness.

Did you read why the television producer allegedly tried to extort $2 million from David Letterman?

Although news reports claim CBS News and "48 Hours" producer Robert J. Halderman earned $214,000 in 2007, he was in debt and desperate for more money. Among his debts were child and spousal support payments of $6,800 a month.

What else may have driven him to go to extreme measures to keep up his lifestyle? Read Man Charged in Letterman Plot was Deep in Debt (Oct. 3).

I pointed out the alimony and child support payments to my husband. That's why I always tell men to remember the blues song "Cheaper To Keep Her." Never heard the song?

Check out this YouTube version from Aaron Lines's latest music video, "Cheaper To Keep Her." It's so wrong, and yet so funny.

Or listen to the Blues Brothers version.

I'm just saying, it's cheaper to keep her.

Bridezillas Lose Two Playbooks

I'm not particularly fond of bridal magazines, which I like to call the playbooks for bridezillas.

The magazines mean well, but they can turn normally sane women into bridezillas who buy into the idea that they have to spend oodles of money -- often on credit cards -- to get married.

Well, two of the playbooks have been shuttered. Conde Nast Publications is shutting down Modern Bride and Elegant Bride along with several other publications in an effort to save money.

Maybe two less cheerleaders for spending on what is really just a party will help future brides to save money.

Charity Brown contributed to this e-letter.

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