Surviving Without Aid

Joyce Johnson, lives on a modest social security check.
Joyce Johnson, lives on a modest social security check.

Imagine trying to make a living on around $600 a month. That's what thousands of panhandle families struggle with, and now it may get worse. NewsChannel 10's Marissa Bagg explains how a lack of federal funding is making it hard for panhandle families to survive.

"Usually from month to month I'm broke. I don't have a dime left over for anything. I stretch it as far as it'll go. I have to rob peter to pay paul," says Joyce Johnson, who lives on a modest social security check.

Without panhandle community services, Johnson says she would be in the dark. Literally. This morning they were able to pay her $126 light bill. The agency itself is strapped for cash. She could be their last customer for a while, unless the federal government steps in.

"Sometimes they're strapped for money and when they don't have it, you go to them and they have nothing it leaves you in the cold," says Johnson.

Johnson says she cuts corners by sewing her own clothes, sometimes even goes without eating.

"Sometimes I go to bed hungry because I don't have food in the kitchen, it's hard," says Johnson.

And she's afraid it will get harder, as the temperature drops.

"Usually the winter is the worst, the utilities are high I mean your check doesn't reach that far," she says.

If Johnson can make it to mid-January, Panhandle Community Services can help her again. That's when they receive their budget for the new year.