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America's Broken Dream: The Middle-Class Families Living in Motels | Poverty in the USA Documentary


The poor bore the brunt of the sub-prime and credit crisis of 2008. Today, it is the turn of the middle class. The impoverishment of the American middle class is brutal. In a country that established liberalism as a creed, there is no safety net. For those who lose their jobs, the consequences are instantaneous and dramatic.

Larry Dodson, 52, used to manage a large customer service department. But two years ago he lost his job and house. Today he lives in a motel room with his wife and two children and scraps by on $820 dollars a month, welcoming tourists to Disney World. After he has paid the motel fees, he’s left with just $70 for food and other necessities.

Terry used to be a sales manager and enjoyed a good life until he was made redundant. He ended up roaming from motel to motel in his car and eventually was judged ’economically incapable’ of raising his six children. The three eldest were placed in foster care. There are currently 1,800 children growing up in the motels around Disney World. They move from school to school as their parents are forced to find cheaper accommodation.

We spent six months following the daily life of families likes these, affected by the crisis.

This documentary was first released in 2012.

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Date: September 17, 2022

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34 thoughts on “America's Broken Dream: The Middle-Class Families Living in Motels | Poverty in the USA Documentary

  1. When I listen to the motel manager & the homeless woman she moved into her home, tears fill my eyes. I spent 6 months in a nomadic homeless shelter group (they have a ser of old buildings used by the homeless & staff during the days but we would be transported to a different church each might, contingent on being sober & adhering to rules, where we would be fed a meal and would sleep on 2" thick mats on the church floor. We would be woken up at 6am & have chores that had to be completed before getting on the busses back to the daytime shelter buildings. I ended up there because I'm disabled &, after 23 years of marriage I had no place to go after my divorce. The low income housing us in such short supply here that I lived in a house with 5 other women, we slept 2 to a bedroom. This was the county's attempt at resolving homelessness but a super toxic living condition. After 4 1/2 years I met a wonderful man whom I'm now living with. Please people, teach your sisters, daughters, nieces to find a line of work that they can sustain themselves on, we as a society still feel a woman will marry & have socioeconomic security. Women, like myself, who stay in bad relationships because they cannot sustain themselves on only 1 income, often are verbally or physically attacked & end of staying in a toxic relationship because they are afraid of where they will end up. PLEASE PEOPLE, TALK TO YOUR DAUGHERS ABOUT HAVING A BACKUP JOB SKILL, SUCH AS WELDING, HVAC, MECHANICS TRAINING as these careers pay more than many office type jobs.

  2. nobody seems to notice nobody seems to care… government unconstitutionally borrows all of it spending money… this puts us taxpayers in trillions of debt completely unbalancing the economy… you will care when the shelves go empty

  3. I am an immigrant and when I see stories like this I am stunned. In 10 years we were able to collect enough money to get a mortgage and buy a house. My monthly mortgages is little under $500

  4. what is your definition of middle class?! A three-person household must earn between $51,962 to $155,902 to be considered middle class, while a family of four needs between $60,000 to $180,000.

  5. How horrible. I know this is about a year old. Fast food workers in my area are now being offered $15 to start with no experience. A large Mexican food place is paying store managers $65,000. I am sure you would be working tons of hours but that would support a family.

  6. The big brother had tears falling down my face what a brave lil man it's a shame 😔 they will never have another chance to be a normal kid forced to take on the role as an adult at such a young age 😢 🙏

  7. americans need to know we ARENT the richest. we are in debt and aren't self sufficient economically and formed bad habits. we have no direction. good luck to us bc the future isn't bright anymore

  8. A lot of times people lose everything because they are constantly buying everything on credit. They are going out to eat , buying electronics they don't need. The list goes on and on. 70% of Americans making 100k+/year are living paycheck to paycheck.

  9. I have an idea to help the families in need. I think there should be a family fostering service where people with extra rooms in their house, can help homeless people with children, by letting them stay in the extra room. I do not know how to start this idea maybe you could. Thanks Cari Marichal.

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