Everyone, it seems, has heard the statistic... many families are just one paycheck away from being homeless. I don't know what the percentage is, but it's a lot.
Of course, if truly desperate, I think that a lot of these families could move in with relatives. My sister-in-law and brother-in-laws did a couple of years ago, and while it wasn't fun, they survived. We could always move in with my family, or my husband's family (maybe, if they weren't too traumatized by taking in my in-laws ;)).
The other thing that this statistic doesn't keep into account is God. If you've been following my blog for a while, you might realize that it's been nearly 3 months now since my husband lost his job. We didn't have savings built up.
But we've managed to survive. In fact, the week after dh lost his job, we took off on an impromtu vacation for three weeks to stay with my family over Christmas in another state. Some people thought we were crazy for doing that, but we used dh's final paycheck to pay for that trip, and we didn't have to buy food for 3 weeks. My grandparents are getting up there, in their 70s and 80s, and had never seen their only great-grandson. We figured that it was a sign to go.
We knew at the time that dh was getting school money a few days after we came back (he's a student at Arizona State University), so we knew we wouldn't be coming back destitute. Also, very few companies are hiring in the last couple of weeks of the year. So for the past 3 months, we've been surviving by visiting family, school money, and then we got a nice large income tax return. Dh has been accepting temporary employment when he can get it, and when he's not working, unemployment has been chipping in with their generous package of $240 a week.
God has been coming through in amazing ways. And while I'm sure that he could come through some more if needed, he chose to finally give my husband a job. Dh actually turned down a temporary job offer last week... he had interviewed for one job that was to pay $35K a year, then the company called back and said that job went to someone else, but they had a temporary one for $29K a year. We knew that he had this second interview with Enterprise Rental Car coming, which will pay a lot more, and we took a gamble that he would get that job instead. Fortunately, the gamble paid off, because he caught the fat bird in the bush after letting the skinny, sickly one go.
He gets to start on Monday, and he worked it out with the temporary job that he's currently working at that he will continue working with them for the rest of the week. So things are looking good. They're hiring him on a temporary basis for now with the plans to take him full time, mainly because Enterprise has to pay a headhunter fee once they do hire him full time and doing so costs a lot of money, so they want to make sure that dh is dependable. He is, so that's not a problem.
So we survived not one paycheck missing, but 3 months of missing paychecks. When you need it, God sometimes comes through with money from unexpected sources. Not that I like tempting fate like that... we're big fans of Dave Ramsey and believe in having an emergency fund. I already have about $30 saved away in our emergency fund, but we'll start building it up to $5000... while a normal "baby" emergency fund is supposed to be about $1000, in this economy we want it a little higher just in case of another job loss. My friend has also lost 3 jobs recently, her job losses have been in the last 2 years.