If you are a single parent with just one kiddo, I don't know how you do it. Bless you and your family!

At first, I thought I read this wrong, but then I went to the website to pretend to apply for assistance and started putting in numbers to see if it was accurate or not. Low and behold, it is. So here is the problem I am having with this, let's put our out-of-state people completely out of mind for this. Let's ONLY use the perspective of people who have been here 10+ years. I am just going to focus on the rent situation because it is the easiest. The average rent for Montana ten years ago was around $700. Now the rent is currently averaging around $1600, which seems a tad high, and I know you agree with me. Here is what I am struggling to understand, let's say you have lived here your whole life and you have been struggling to keep up with costs, but you do not want to leave the place where you have roots. You may need to look to the state for some public assistance, which lots of us have had to do from time to time, it is absolutely nothing to ever be ashamed of.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Here is the problem. If you make more than a little over $17,000 a year (for a family of two), you are screwed. You do not qualify for medical assistance, you do not qualify for the SNAP program, and you do not qualify for housing assistance. My god, $17,000 a year is NOTHING. How are you supposed to stay in the place you love, pay for yourself and a child, and still be successful? You ask for help and are told "sorry, you make too much money". But you do not make enough to live. Do you leave? Do you try and find a cheaper place to live? There are not many options for cheaper and with no assistance available, how do you save money?

When or will Montana realize that these "acceptance" numbers are ridiculous? It's like "I need to work more so I can stay in my hometown, but if I do I won't qualify for help" or "I need to work less so I do qualify, but then I really don't have any extra money". Is it a lose-lose? Is this making Montanan's leave here? I know a few surrounding states that the income cutoff is closer to $25,000 and you can still receive daycare assistance, SNAP, health, whatever it may be. I guess I was just a bit shocked about cut off amount you can make to receive help. What do you think? Am I completely in outer space with these thoughts?

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