Houseparents and the Middle East, this seems like a totally outrageous topic but it is definitely something I am thinking about. I am watching the price of oil rise now over $78 a barrel and with it the price of gasoline. I honestly believe that if you are not already paying over $3 a gallon where you live in the U.S. you soon will be and I seriously wonder where the ceiling will finally end up, if there even is one.
Violence in Iraq does not seem to be slowing at all and now there is the conflict Israel has with Hamas and Hezbollah that appears it could easily escalate into a regional war to include Syria and Iran. The resulting loss of life is priceless and there is no value that can be put upon that, but the residual effects on the U.S. economy and possibly the world economy could be far reaching.
I am no economist but I know that the ever rising price of fuel has had an effect on many areas of my family budget. Not only is it more expensive to fill up my cars ($92 for my Pick-up and $48 for my Mini-van) but my electric bill has become more expensive, groceries are more expensive, and I am totally amazed at the cost to ship a package (last week I paid $55 to have a package delivered). There has been a definite change to my lifestyle and I suspect if the price of Oil continues to rise my family belt will have to tighten some more.
Knowing that I am not an island I can only assume that it is affecting others. I also know that many Americans live on very small margins to begin with and have probably way more debt than they need or can afford, which brings me to my point in all of this.
What effect is this going to have on giving and financial support of youth facilities as well as social service programs in general. This is how crisis in the middle east could effect houseparents.
If a family has to choose between sending their monthly support check to the boy’s home or paying the extra $20 it costs to fill up their vehicle each week I have to wonder what they will choose. If the government has to make budget cuts because fuel costs have made them go over budget, I wonder what programs will be cut first. I have seen in the past that budgets for funding residential youth programs are often the first ones cut. The first home I worked at closed it’s doors last year because the local county government couldn’t find money in their budget to work with children through local residential programs and instead chose to wait until circumstances were such that they could send them to the state school through the juvenile justice system.
Additionally the monthly fuel and energy costs for the home I work at have skyrocketed, which has had an effect of other areas of our budget and I am sure it is the same for other facilities.
I know that the only real solution is for America and everyone to reduce their thirst for Oil, but that is not going to happen overnight if at all. Recent news reports seem to suggest most Americans have become used to paying the higher fuel prices and have done little to reduce demand.
I truly hope that somebody can find some common ground so there can be peace or a truce to reduce the human suffering over there and also the potential suffering to children in need here around the world (I am sure international giving could be affected also).