Ron is a Pittsburgh native living in South Side, across the street from his childhood home. A third generation steel worker, Ron’s father helped him get a job at the mill out of high school, where he then worked for twenty-five years making a comfortable salary.
However, the economic conditions of the seventies closed many of the steel mills in the area. Ron was one of the many workers who lost their job in the process.
This was a major strain on the community as a whole. Ron explained that the mills were where people from his neighborhood found good jobs so they could do well for themselves. Losing the mills forced many people to find other ways to get by.
For Ron, this meant self-education to make himself more marketable and well-rounded. He stayed involved with his community, even becoming involved in the Democratic Party Committee. Eventually, he had to leave the organization when he became a state liquor control worker, the job from which he eventually retired.
Now 82 years old, Ron lives off of a mixture of social security, pensions. There’s also money from a class action lawsuit he feels lucky to have received; he doesn’t have to struggle to stay on top of his expenses.
But it bothers him to know that others are hurting for necessities, and wishes “everyone could be comfortable.” He appreciates the social services he’s received that have helped him and his loved ones through hard times, but wishes there were further supports for those in need. In his view, “the [public assistance] system doesn’t perpetuate poverty, but it never offers solutions either.”
Ron prepared his own taxes for years, but for the last three years has decided come to Just Harvest’s South Side tax site to “let someone else do the thinking for a change.” He received $480, which he plans to put into his savings, and describes his experience here as “very satisfactory.”
Ron says he’s come to depend on Just Harvest for assistance. Just Harvest is happy to provide it while we advocate for policies to address wealth inequality.
Because Ron is right: everyone should be able to live in comfort.