Ending Homelessness Today — Poverty
Poverty Declined by 0.5 Percent, so…
September 16, 2014
Poverty in the U.S. has declined for the first time since 2006, the year before the Great Recession. That’s the big takeaway from the Census Bureau’s report released today, “Income and Poverty in the United States: 2013,” which shows that the official poverty rate has decreased from 15 percent in 2012 to 14.5 percent in 2013. This decrease in the poverty rate is very welcome news, but it’s important we keep in mind that the 2013 poverty rate remains higher than the 2006 poverty rate of 12.3 percent.
The recession may be over, but people are still hurting. From 2012 to 2013, the total number of people in poverty, more than 45 million, did not significantly change. This is true across almost all subgroups, but for the one notable exception of children. (The number of impoverished children declined by nearly two million.) That could be why increasing numbers of people are sharing households, or “doubling up.” Since 2007, the number of adults in shared households has increased by 12 million, 1.8 million of whom doubled-up in the past year alone.
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How Visible is Poverty in the U.S?
January 08, 2014
This past August a South African couple, Julian and Ena Hewitt, ventured into the impoverished township of Mamelodi to live for a month. They and their two small children took up residence not in a four-star hotel, but in a 10-by-10-foot shack with a tin roof. Their heat came from a paraffin stove and a pit latrine sufficed for a toilet. They had no running water and existed on bucket baths. They lived perilously close to the drunkards brawling outside their shack and the criminals seeking money for their Nyaope hits (a kind of low-grade heroin whose use has reached epidemic proportions in South Africa).
In their blog “Mamelodi For A Month,” it was their empathy and engagement in the lives of the invisible poor that made their journey into Mamelodi poignant. They were keenly aware of the gaps in income that existed between them and the Mamelodi residents. (The Hewitts were not naïve “poverty tourists,” as one commentator suggested.) Rather, they knew that the invisibility of poverty existed throughout their country. Theirs was a journey to bring that invisibility of poverty into the light. As Ena Hewitt noted in the blog, “How do we build stronger bridges rather than higher walls?”
I came to wonder whether their journey has an American counterpart. Does her question hold true in the U.S.?
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