POLITICS

'Next Friday, I'll Be Living In My Car'

Apr 08, 2014 | Updated Apr 10, 2014

Vincent Oviedo, 44, said he lost his job as an executive for a facility management company in June 2013 and has had difficulty finding work since then. He fell behind on rent, he said, after losing unemployment insurance benefits, which Congress allowed to expire in December. Facing eviction, he said his only choices are to either live in his car to stay near his children in Santa Cruz, Calif., or to move in with relatives in Los Angeles.

For the past 13 years, I've mostly been doing facility management in several locations across the state. After the position turned into more of a sales role, they laid me off. Since then, I've been looking to find any type of work. I've applied for food stamps, and I'm waiting for that. I'm mostly eating soup from a food pantry.

I've been on several interviews -- second, third, fourth interviews -- and just haven't been able to land a job for whatever reason. I definitely have the qualifications and the experience. Last week, I had a job offer that I thought was secure, and we were talking my work schedule. They decided to call me back and go with an assistant rather than a manager.

For a number of applications, I've dumbed down my resume. I don't even go with a resume sometimes, just because I don't want them to know that I'm educated and have a master's degree. It shoots me in the foot. They don't want me because they don't think I'm going to stay. I don't blame them. I was making six figures at $60-70 an hour. Now, I'm looking for a $10 an hour job.

If I don't land a job this week or the unemployment bill doesn't pass, I'm going to have to move out of my apartment. I haven't paid rent since March. I've been telling my landlord that this unemployment bill is going to pass, and then I'll pay them rent. Well, she's watching as much as I'm watching and it doesn't look like it's going to pass. Next Friday, I'll be living in my car.

My options are to either live in my car and stay close to my kids or move back to my relatives and not see my kids until I don't know when. I have three children -- ages 4, 7 and 14. I take them to catechisms and to the YMCA. I'm very active with them and their education as much as I can be, both before and after my divorce.

I've already talked to them a bit to tell them I may be moving. Of course they don't want it, but I may have no other choice. Today, I'm going to go interview for a dishwasher job. If it doesn't pay me enough to cover my rent and some gas, then I'll have to move to my relatives in Los Angeles. That's just reality.

As told to Andrew Perez.

poverty

Vincent's story is part of a Huffington Post series profiling Americans who work hard and yet still struggle to make ends meet. Learn more about other individuals' experiences here.

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