Category : Poverty

(Guardian) Drought puts 2.1 million Kenyans at risk of starvation

An estimated 2.1 million Kenyans face starvation due to a drought in half the country, which is affecting harvests.

The National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) said people living in 23 counties across the arid north, northeastern and coastal parts of the country will be in “urgent need” of food aid over the next six months, after poor rains between March and May this year.

The crisis has been compounded by Covid-19 and previous poor rains, it said, predicting the situation will get worse by the end of the year, as October to December rains are expected to be below normal levels.

The affected regions are usually the most food-insecure in Kenya due to high levels of poverty.

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Posted in Climate Change, Weather, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Kenya, Poverty

(Tufts Univ.) At Present, 3 Billion People in the World Cannot Afford a Healthy Diet

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused price spikes for corn, milk, beans and other commodities, but even before the pandemic about 3 billion people could not afford even the cheapest options for a healthy diet.

Recent analysis of global food price data reveals that as of 2017, the latest available year, around 40% of the world’s population was already forced to consume poor-quality diets by a combination of high food prices and low incomes. When healthy items are unaffordable, it is impossible for people to avoid malnutrition and diet-related diseases like anemia or diabetes.

The remaining 60% of the world’s 7.9 billion people could afford the ingredients for healthy meals. That, of course, does not mean they always eat a healthy diet. Cooking time and difficulty, as well as the advertising and marketing of other foods, can lead many people to choose items that are surprisingly unhealthy.

Distinguishing between affordability and other causes of unhealthy diets is a key step toward better outcomes, made possible by a research project we are leading at Tufts University called Food Prices for Nutrition. The project provides a new view of how agriculture and food distribution relate to human health needs, connecting economics to nutrition in collaboration with the World Bank development data group and the International Food Policy Research Institute.

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Posted in Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Globalization, Poverty

(Local paper Yesterday’s front page) Summerville teen helping community members transition out of homelessness

One of the most obvious priorities with helping someone transition out of homelessness is finding them a place to live.

But what happens when they move into a space with nothing but a crate full of clothes and rent money?

“The difference between having a bed or not really changes your whole day,” said 18-year-old John Michael Stagliano, a lifelong Summerville resident.

Stagliano is also the founder of Home Again, a nonprofit dedicated to supplying furniture and household items to families leaving former conditions behind and moving into new homes.

It all started with Stagliano volunteering at a Summerville homeless shelter where he learned the needs of the residents didn’t end with them simply moving out of the shelter.

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Posted in * South Carolina, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Poverty, Teens / Youth

(Bloomberg) Global Hunger Hits Highest in Years as Pandemic Hurts Income

The world faced its worst hunger problem in at least five years in 2020 on the back of the coronavirus crisis, and the outlook remains grim again this year.

Some 155 million people across 55 countries — more than the population of Russia — suffered from issues ranging from a food crisis to famine, according to a report with data from more than a dozen agencies. That’s up 20 million from 2019, with economic shocks overtaking extreme weather as the No. 2 cause.

The worsening situation highlights how the pandemic has exacerbated food inequalities around the world, on top of extreme weather and political conflicts that are stifling access to key staples. Consumers are now also contending with rising food costs as rampant Chinese demand stretches global crop supplies.

“Covid-19 has been exacerbating fragilities,” said Dominique Burgeon, director of emergencies and resilience at the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization. “Its restrictions, for example, on the movement of goods and people, has resulted in widespread income losses, especially for those people who rely on informal work in urban households.”

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Posted in Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Poverty

(NYT) ‘I Have No Money for Food’: Among the Young, Hunger Is Rising

Amandine Chéreau hurried from her cramped student apartment in suburban Paris to catch a train for an hourlong trip into the city. Her stomach rumbled with hunger, she said, as she headed for a student-run food bank near the Bastille, where she joined a snaking line with 500 young people waiting for handouts.

Ms. Chéreau, 19, a university student, ran out of savings in September after the pandemic ended the babysitting and restaurant jobs she had relied on. By October, she had resorted to eating one meal a day, and said she had lost 20 pounds.

“I have no money for food,” said Ms. Chéreau, whose father helps pay her tuition and rent, but couldn’t send more after he was laid off from his job of 20 years in August. “It’s frightening,” she added, as students around her reached for vegetables, pasta and milk. “And it’s all happening so fast.”

As the pandemic begins its second year, humanitarian organizations in Europe are warning of an alarming rise in food insecurity among young people, following a steady stream of campus closings, job cuts and layoffs in their families. A growing share are facing hunger and mounting financial and psychological strain, deepening disparities for the most vulnerable populations.

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Posted in Anthropology, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, France, Poverty, Teens / Youth, Young Adults

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Vincent de Paul & Louise de Marillac

Most Gracious God, who hast bidden us to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly before thee; Teach us, like thy servants Vincent and Louise, to see and to serve Christ by feeding the hungry, welcoming the stranger, clothing the naked, and caring for the sick; that we may know him to be the giver of all good things, through the same, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Posted in Church History, France, Poverty, Spirituality/Prayer

Bishop of Durham on the urgent action needed to tackle poverty in the pandemic

Living standards for low income families have worsened since the summer amid the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the findings of a new report by the Church of England Child Poverty Action Group. The Bishop of Durham, Paul Butler, writes about how urgent action is needed to tackle poverty and destitution.

At times like this, when nearly everyone is struggling in some way, it is tempting to turn in on ourselves, as individuals and as a nation. We saw this during the first lockdown when people stock-piled essential supplies and in the recent decision to reduce the UK’s foreign aid budget.

Fortunately, though, the overwhelming response to the pandemic has been to reach out generously to those in need through the spontaneous emergence of local mutual aid schemes across the country, alongside countless everyday acts of kindness and neighbourliness.

The call to ‘remember the poor’ runs through the Bible. The ‘Poverty in the Pandemic’ report that we are publishing today with the Child Poverty Action Group is a modern-day call to remember the poor. Based on a survey of nearly 700 low-income families with children, it offers a stark insight into the experiences of these families, many of whom have seen their lives turned upside down by the pandemic. This year has been a difficult one for many of us, but these challenges are a lot harder when you are short of money.

Sudden loss of earnings, increased living costs, navigating a complex benefits system, falling into debt – these are just some of the challenges facing families during the crisis. Financial worries are adding considerably to the pressures on families, pushing many of them to breaking point….

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Poverty, Religion & Culture

(NYT Magazine) Elderly and Homeless: America’s Next Housing Crisis

Oliver was born at the tail end of the baby boom, when American families celebrated postwar prosperity by having more children than ever before — 72.5 million between 1946 and 1964, or nearly 40 percent of the population of the United States at the time. Many of those children went on to live stable, successful lives. Others teetered on the edge as they aged, working jobs that didn’t come with 401(k) plans or pensions and didn’t pay enough to build a nest egg, always one misfortune away from losing all they had. Amid the pandemic, many of them are now facing homelessness, at an age when they are often too old to be attractive to employers but are not old enough to collect Social Security.

Policymakers had decades to prepare for this momentous demographic shift, but the social safety net has only frayed under a relentless political pressure to slash funding for programs that senior citizens rely on to make ends meet, like subsidized housing, food and health care. “It’s the first thing fiscally conservative people want to cut,” says Wendy Johnson, executive director of Justa Center in Phoenix, the only daytime resource center in the state set up exclusively for older homeless adults. “But this is every single senior to whom we promised that if they paid into the system, we’d take care of them.”

Last year, after analyzing historical records of shelter admissions in three major American cities, a team of researchers led by Dennis P. Culhane, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and one of the country’s leading authorities on homelessness, published a sobering projection: In the next 10 years, the number of elderly people experiencing homelessness in the United States would nearly triple, as a wave of baby boomers who have historically made up the largest share of the homeless population ages. And that was before a pandemic arrived to stretch what remains of the social safety net to the breaking point.

“If we’re forecasting a flood, where the water will reach up to our heads,” Culhane told me, “it’s already up to our knees, and rising very, very fast.”

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Personal Finance, Poverty, Theology

(W Post) U.S. faces shortage of up to 8 billion meals in next 12 months, leading food bank says

Bill Blackmer lost his job in telecommunications on April 18. Blackmer lives with his wife, Mary, and two young daughters in Weymouth, Mass.

“I waited until after dinner, once everything had settled down, to tell her,” he remembers. “Mary didn’t say anything, just grabbed her stomach and took three steps back and sat down.”

He is among tens of millions of Americans who have turned to a local food bank for help after becoming newly food insecure because of the pandemic and its fallout. About 10 percent of American adults, 22.3 million, reported they sometimes or often didn’t have enough to eat within the past week, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s most recent Household Pulse Survey fielded between Aug. 19 and 31. That is up from 18 million before March 13.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Economy, Health & Medicine, Personal Finance, Poverty

Archbishop of Canterbury and Bishop of Durham urge Government to expand free school meals to avoid “harrowing” Christmas for thousands

The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Durham have urged the Government to extend free school meals as they highlight the “harrowing” number of families who could be destitute by Christmas.

Writing in TES today, Archbishop Justin Welby and Bishop Paul Butler called on the Government to provide free school meals to every child whose family is on universal credit, andexpand holiday provision to all children on free school meals.

According to food bank charity the Trussell Trust, 46,000 food parcels will need to be provided by their network to people in crisis between October and December 2020 – an increase of 61% on last year.

They estimate an additional 670,000 people will be destitute by the end of the year, a prediction Archbishop Justin and Bishop Paul describe as “harrowing”.

The Archbishop and Bishop said it will be “vital for those most disadvantaged” that schools in their communities stay open, but that teachers “can only do so much on their own” and need appropriate funding to help tackle child hunger and poverty.

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Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Poverty, Religion & Culture

(NBC) Unique Program Helping To Save Vermont Restaurants And Feed The Community

Posted in City Government, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Poverty, The U.S. Government, Urban/City Life and Issues

(AP) Some Religious Leaders to Invoke Frederick Douglass on July 4th

About 150 preachers, rabbis and imams are promising to invoke Black abolitionist Frederick Douglass on July 4th as they call for the U.S. to tackle racism and poverty.

The religious leaders are scheduled this weekend to frame their sermons around “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July” on the 168th anniversary of that speech by Douglass. The former slave gave his speech at an Independence Day celebration on July 5, 1852, in Rochester, New York. The address challenged the Founding Fathers and the hypocrisy of their ideals with the existence of slavery on American soil.

The initiative to remember Douglass is led by the Poor People’s Campaign, a coalition of religious leaders seeking to push the U.S. to address issues of poverty modeled after Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s last crusade.

“(The Declaration of Independence) was written mostly by Thomas Jefferson. Yet he owned hundreds of human beings, and enslaved them,” Rabbi Arthur Waskow plans to tell The Shalom Center in Philadelphia, according to prepared remarks. “The contradiction between his words and his actions has been repeated through all American history.”

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Posted in History, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Judaism, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Poverty, Race/Race Relations, Religion & Culture

(NYT) Vast Federal Aid Has Capped Rise in Poverty, Studies Find

An unprecedented expansion of federal aid has prevented the rise in poverty that experts predicted this year when the coronavirus sent unemployment to the highest level since the Great Depression, two new studies suggest. The assistance could even cause official measures of poverty to fall.

The studies carry important caveats. Many Americans have suffered hunger or other hardships amid long delays in receiving the assistance, and much of the aid is scheduled to expire next month. Millions of people have been excluded from receiving any help, especially undocumented migrants, who often have American children.

Still, the evidence suggests that the programs Congress hastily authorized in March have done much to protect the needy, a finding likely to shape the debate over next steps at a time when 13.3 percent of Americans remain unemployed.

Democrats, who want to continue the expiring aid, can cite the effect of the programs on poverty as a reason to continue them, while Republicans may use it to bolster their doubts about whether more spending is needed or affordable.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Personal Finance, Poverty, The U.S. Government

(CSM) Feeding America during COVID-19: How food pantries are meeting record demand

On a crisp May evening, Wendy Baur had earned a rest by the time dusk fell on a middle school gymnasium that was transformed into a supersized food pantry for the pandemic. Responding to a 630% increase in need since mid-March, she and her team of 55 volunteers had just handed out full grocery bags to about 375 families reeling from this gateway city’s economic collapse. It was time to go home.

But Ms. Baur, who’s directed the First Congregational Church of Revere food pantry in Massachusetts for 18 years, wasn’t relaxing as she leaned on a stack of canned soup cases. She was worrying. If even one volunteer tests positive for COVID-19, she said, the operation might grind to a halt as all contacts would have to quarantine. Just as concerning: the prospect of running out of food.

“Every week it’s a struggle to resupply, to get more food,” says Ms. Baur, who also runs a research lab at Tufts Medical Center. “All of the food pantries are competing for a time slot at the food bank warehouse. Some days I can’t even get a slot. … I get online at midnight when you can pick your slot, but when I get on, they’re all taken. They’re gone within one second.”

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Health & Medicine, Poverty

(NYT) Hunger Program’s Slow Start Leaves Millions of Children Waiting

As child hunger soars to levels without modern precedent, an emergency program Congress created two months ago has reached only a small fraction of the 30 million children it was intended to help.

The program, Pandemic-EBT, aims to compensate for the declining reach of school meals by placing their value on electronic cards that families can use in grocery stores. But collecting lunch lists from thousands of school districts, transferring them to often-outdated state computers and issuing specialized cards has proved much harder than envisioned, leaving millions of needy families waiting to buy food.

Congress approved the effort in mid-March as part of the Families First act, its first major coronavirus relief package. By May 15, only about 15 percent of eligible children had received benefits, according to an analysis by The New York Times. Just 12 states had started sending money, and Michigan and Rhode Island alone had finished.

The pace is accelerating, with millions of families expected to receive payments in the coming weeks. But 16 states still lack federal approval to begin the payments and Utah declined to participate, saying it did not have the administrative capacity to distribute the money. Many Southern states with high rates of child hunger have gotten a slow start.

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Posted in Children, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Poverty

(BBC) Coronavirus: Archbishop Justin Welby says austerity would be catastrophic

Mr Welby has spoken openly of his own mental health struggles. He revealed he was suffering from depression last year in a Thought for the Day broadcast on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme and separately said he was taking anti-depressants.

Speaking this week to the BBC’s religion editor Martin Bashir, he described “an overwhelming sense the world is getting more and more difficult and gloomy”.

Explaining how his own mental health has affected his behaviour, he said: “You turn inwards on yourself a lot. You become, frankly, narcissistic. And when you have good friends or family who spot it, they can say ‘might it not be an idea to talk to someone’. Which I did.”

He added: “There is nothing pathetic about it. It is no more pathetic than being ill in any other way. And we just need to get over that.”

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Poverty, Psychology, Religion & Culture

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell Interviewed Last night on 60 Minutes

PELLEY: And when you say things, people listen. And Wall Street didn’t want to hear that this was going to take longer than their hopes indicated?

POWELL: I was really calling out a risk that I think is an important one for people to be cognizant of, and that is the risk of longer-run damage to the economy. And really, the good news is that we have the tools to limit that longer-run damage by continuing to provide support to households and businesses as we get through this. And that was really my message.

PELLEY: It was meant to be a signal to Capitol Hill to tell lawmakers the economy needs a great deal more support?

POWELL: That was a part of my remarks this morning. I also wanted to just talk more at length about the longer-run dangers and commit the Fed to really stay in this fight as long as we need to as well….

PELLEY: Has the Fed done all it can do?

POWELL: Well, there’s a lot more we can do. We’ve done what we can as we go. But I will say that we’re not out of ammunition by a long shot. No, there’s really no limit to what we can do with these lending programs that we have. So there’s a lot more we can do to support the economy, and we’re committed to doing everything we can as long as we need to.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, America/U.S.A., Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Federal Reserve, House of Representatives, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Office of the President, Politics in General, Poverty, President Donald Trump, Senate, The U.S. Government

(WSJ) Soaring Prices, Rotting Crops: Coronavirus Triggers Global Food Crisis

The coronavirus pandemic hit the world at a time of plentiful harvests and ample food reserves. Yet a cascade of protectionist restrictions, transport disruptions and processing breakdowns has dislocated the global food supply and put the planet’s most vulnerable regions in particular peril.

“You can have a food crisis with lots of food. That’s the situation we’re in,” said Abdolreza Abbassian, a senior economist at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, or FAO.

Prices for staples such as rice and wheat have jumped in many cities, in part because of panic buying set off by export restrictions imposed by countries eager to ensure sufficient supplies at home. Trade disruptions and lockdowns are making it harder to move produce from farms to markets, processing plants and ports, leaving some food to rot in the fields.

At the same time, more people around the world are running short of money as economies contract and incomes shrivel or disappear. Currency devaluations in developing nations that depend on tourism or depreciating commodities like oil have compounded those problems, making imported food even less affordable.

“In the past, we have always dealt with either a demand-side crisis, or a supply-side crisis. But this is both—a supply and a demand crisis at the same time, and at a global level,” said Arif Husain, chief economist at the UN’s World Food Program. “This makes it unprecedented and uncharted.”

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Posted in Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Poverty

(CNN) Coronavirus pandemic will cause global famines of ‘biblical proportions,’ UN warns

The world is facing multiple famines of “biblical proportions” in just a matter of months, the UN has said, warning that the coronavirus pandemic will push an additional 130 million people to the brink of starvation.

Famines could take hold in “about three dozen countries” in a worst-case scenario, the executive director of the World Food Programme (WFP) said in a stark address on Tuesday. Ten of those countries already have more than 1 million people on the verge of starvation, he said.
He cited conflict, an economic recession, a decline in aid and a collapse in oil prices as factors likely to lead to vast food shortages, and urged swift action to avert disaster.
“While dealing with a Covid-19 pandemic, we are also on the brink of a hunger pandemic,” David Beasley told the UN’s security council. “There is also a real danger that more people could potentially die from the economic impact of Covid-19 than from the virus itself.”
The WFP had already warned that 2020 would be a devastating year for numerous countries ravaged by poverty or war, with 135 million people facing crisis levels of hunger or worse. Their updated projections nearly double that number.

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Posted in Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Poverty

(BBC) Riding the Motel 22; homeless in Silicon Valley in California

Here is the BBC blurb about it:

‘Motel 22’ is an unusual shelter for California’s homeless people. The state is one of the wealthiest in America yet it has the largest population of homeless people – more than 151,000 – in the US. In the Silicon Valley the bus route 22 runs an endless loop from Palo Alto to the Valley’s biggest city, San Jose. Along the way it passes some of the world’s biggest tech giants: Google, Apple, Hewlett-Packard and Facebook. It is the Valley’s only all night bus and many of its night-time passengers ride to keep warm and sleep. For Assignment, Sarah Svoboda takes a ride on the bus, known to many as ‘Motel 22’, to hear the stories of its travellers.

Listen to it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Poverty

(Mirror) The Rev. Paul Nicolson–‘I’m an 87-year-old vicar – but when I acted homeless, I was suddenly invisible’

While several people entering or leaving Church House stopped for a chat, most walked by as if I was not there.

That invisibility while lying on the pavement must be very depressing for long term street homeless people.

£14.38 was put into my mug which I gave to one of the three street homeless people begging outside Tottenham who I pass on my journey home. I am planning another session in the role of beggar opposite Downing Street.

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Posted in England / UK, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Poverty, Religion & Culture

Wednesday Encouragement–After being bullied for his sneakers, teen donates shoes to those in need

Kyler Nipper started the nonprofit Kyler’s Kicks to make sure others with limited means can have a new pair of shoes. It’s a struggle Kyler knows all too well. The 14-year-old lives in a shelter with his family and says he was bullied and attacked for his worn-out sneakers

Watch it all from NBC.

Posted in Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Children, Education, Pastoral Theology, Poverty, Stewardship

(Economist) Finland has slashed homelessness; the rest of Europe is failing

Tuya’s collection of bongs occupies an entire bookshelf in her immaculate little flat, though she does not smoke marijuana—she just likes the way they look. Her weaknesses, alcohol and pills, landed her in a homeless shelter in Helsinki for three years. But since 2018 she has had an apartment of her own, thanks to a strategy called “housing first” with which Finland has all but eliminated homelessness.

Akbar has no such luck. Last month the Afghan migrant stood in the mud of a camp outside Paris, brushing his teeth at a hose that served as a communal shower. For two months Akbar had been living in a tent city of 3,500 Asian and African migrants, hoping to apply for refugee status.

Tuya and Akbar are at opposite ends of Europe’s growing homelessness problem. Finland is the only European country where the numbers are not rising. In other rich welfare states, escalating housing costs are pushing more people into homeless shelters. In countries with weak social services, many end up on the street. And everywhere, migrants with the wrong papers fall through the cracks.

Statistics on homelessness are patchy, but dispiriting. In 2010-18 the French government doubled the spaces in emergency accommodation to 146,000, yet cannot meet demand. In Spain the number in shelters rose by 20.5% between 2014 and 2016. In the Netherlands homelessness has doubled in the past decade. In Ireland, the number in shelters has tripled. The German government estimates homelessness rose by 4% in 2018 to a record 678,000, most of them migrants. All this has thrown a spanner into governments’ plans. For years, they have been trying to shift from providing beds for the night to housing-first strategies like Finland’s. Instead they are struggling to keep people off the streets….

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Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Finland, Politics in General, Poverty

(CC) How local governments punish poor people with fines

Several years ago, Anne Stuhldreher rolled through a stop sign in San Francisco and got a ticket. That kind of infraction costs $238 or more in California. The price shocked Stuhldreher, who knew that many families living in San Francisco—rated one of the most economically unequal cities in the US—don’t have a few hundred dollars to spare.

After Stuhldreher got her ticket, she thought about the way that the fee would impact different people in the community differently. “If someone who is a daycare worker in my neighborhood got that ticket, it would be very different than someone who works at a tech company.” Stuhldreher, who has long worked on addressing the financial issues facing low-income residents, started digging into these questions.

Around this time, new research was demonstrating the impact of fines and fees on low-income people across the country. The problem isn’t isolated in San Francisco: a 2016 survey by the finance website Bankrate showed that 63 percent of Americans don’t have enough money saved to cover a $500 emergency. That is nearly the cost of a ticket for running a red light in California.

In its 2015 report on Ferguson, Missouri, in the aftermath of the police shooting of Michael Brown, the US Department of Justice showed that aggressive law enforcement in low-income communities of color was being used to generate revenue. People’s inability to pay for minor offense tickets could have major ramifications on their live, forcing them to go into debt, lose a driver’s license or a job, or even end up in jail.

Stuhldreher calls it the “spiral of despair.” A person gets a traffic ticket for a few hundred dollars. Unable to pay the fine, she misses the deadline for payment, and the ticket starts accruing late fees and creates a debt that hangs over her head. The city sends the ticket to the collections department, and now her credit is damaged, so that the next time she tries to rent an apartment, her application is rejected.

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Posted in City Government, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Personal Finance & Investing, Poverty

(Mirror) Foodbank hell for Britain as demand soars 3,800% under a decade of Tory rule

Foodbank demand has rocketed by 3,772% under a decade of Tory rule, the Mirror can reveal.

Bombshell figures show a surge in need from hungry families after nine years of gruelling austerity.

Britain’s biggest foodbank network had 57 outlets open in the final year of the Labour government in 2009/10.

They provided 40,898 aid packages – the equivalent of 368,082 meals. Of those parcels, 13,959 went to children.

By the end of March the network had 425 foodbanks – a 646% increase.

Their volunteers gave away 1,583,668 packages – 14,253,012 meals – in 2018/19. Some 577,618 parcels went to children.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, England / UK, Poverty

(Economist) Is The best way to eradicate poverty in America to focus on children?

Elderly residents of Inez, the tiny seat of Martin County, Kentucky, deep in the heart of Appalachia, can still vividly remember the day the president came to town. Fifty-five years ago, while stooping on a porch, Lyndon Johnson spoke at length to Tom Fletcher (pictured), a white labourer with no job, little education and eight children. “I have called for a national war on poverty,” Johnson announced immediately afterwards. “Our objective: total victory.” That declaration transformed Fletcher and Martin County into the unwitting faces of the nation’s battle, often to the chagrin of local residents who resented the frequent pilgrimages of journalists and photographers. The story never changed much: Fletcher continued to draw disability cheques for decades and never became self-sufficient before his death in 2004. His family continued to struggle with addiction and incarceration.

Today Martin County remains deeply poor—30% of residents live below the official poverty line (an income of less than $25,750 a year for a family of four). Infrastructure is shoddy. The roads up the stunning forested mountains that once thundered with the extraction of coal now lie quiet, cracked to the point of corrugation. Problems with pollution because of leaky pipes mean that some parts of the county are without running water for days. “Our water comes out orange, blue and with dirt chunks in it,” says BarbiAnn Maynard, a resident agitating for repairs. She and her family have not drunk the water from their taps since 2000; it is suitable only for flushing toilets. Some residents gather drinking water from local springs or collect rainwater in inflatable paddling pools.

The ongoing poverty is not for lack of intervention. The federal government has spent trillions of dollars over the past 55 years. Programmes have helped many. But they also remain fixated on the problems of the past, largely the elderly and the working poor, leaving behind non-working adults and children. As a result, America does a worse job than its peers of helping the needy of today. By the official poverty measure, there were 40m poor Americans in 2017, or 12% of the population. This threshold is extremely low: for a family of four, it amounts to $17.64 per person per day. About 18.5m people have only half that amount and are mired in deep poverty. Children are the likeliest age group to experience poverty—there are nearly 13m of them today, or 17.5% of all American children.

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Posted in Anthropology, Children, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Poverty

(CBS) A California High school senior throws birthday parties for children in homeless shelters

Seventeen-year-old Tanvi Barman spends most of her free time throwing birthday parties. But not for people she knows — for homeless children who otherwise couldn’t afford them.

The high school senior travels to different homeless shelters around the Bay Area and throws personalized parties for children there. Barman has been working on her organization since she was in eighth grade. She calls it “No Birthday Left Behind.”

Barman told CBS News she got the idea when she was volunteering with her family at a homeless shelter. It later hit her that the pleasures in life she takes for granted — like birthday parties — may be unavailable to homeless children.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Poverty, Teens / Youth

(CT) An interview with Jeremy Everett–A New Recipe for Ending Hunger

What are the main reasons that hunger exists in America?

Underemployment is the biggest factor. If you’re employed but only making minimum wage, there’s no place in America where you’ll be able to pay for all your expenses. And underemployment is chronic, meaning that typically families have experienced some measure of unemployment for generations.

Educational attainment is another major factor. Beyond a high school diploma, in most cases you need an additional two-year degree or a technical degree to escape hunger and poverty. But if you’re living in hunger and poverty, you’re much less likely to get the education you need.

A third factor is family structure. Common sense—and simple math—says that two gainfully employed adults are going to be better than one. My wife and I have three kids. We both have graduate degrees, we are Anglo, and we grew up in middle-class households. We’ve had every advantage that anyone could have, outside of inheriting large sums of money. But despite all these advantages, raising kids was still difficult, and it’s difficult to pay the bills. Imagine being a single parent trying to work, take care of your kids, and make sure everybody gets to school on time and gets fed on a regular basis. You have to be superhuman to pull that off while getting an additional degree.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Poverty, Theology

(Patch) Senior Hunger: 5.5M Older Americans Struggle To Find Enough Food

Hunger among senior citizens is in many ways an invisible crisis, but the troubling reality is that 5.5 million older Americans are skipping meals or going entire days without eating anything. And with more Baby Boomers leaving the workforce every year, the problem is getting worse, not better, even with a strong economy.

“Oftentimes, all food insecurity is under the radar, but this is a really, really important topic,” said Craig Gunderson, the lead author in The State of Senior Hunger report released Tuesday by Feeding America, a Chicago-based nonprofit that operates 200 regional food banks and 60,000 food pantries around the country,

“I don’t think we’re talking nearly enough about this issue,” said Gunderson, also the director of undergraduate studies at the University of Illinois, who has spent his career researching issues of food insecurity and making policy recommendations on how to curb it.

For these senior citizens — your parents and grandparents — aching questions about the availability of food never go away, and many go at least a day without eating to stretch their limited incomes farther, Gunderson said. As with America’s hungry kids, depression rates and medical costs soar when older Americans don’t have enough nutritious food in their pantries.

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Posted in Aging / the Elderly, America/U.S.A., Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Poverty

(1st Things) Chris Arnade–Back Row America

first walked into the Hunts Point neighborhood of the Bronx because I had been told not to. I had been told it was too dangerous and too poor, and that I was too white. I had been told that “nobody goes there for anything but drugs and prostitutes.” The people telling me this were my colleagues (other bankers), my neighbors (other wealthy Brooklynites), and my friends (other academics). All, like me, successful, well-educated people who had opinions on the Bronx but had never been there.

It was 2011, and I was in my eighteenth year as a Wall Street bond trader. I spent my work days sitting behind a wall of computers, gambling on flashing numbers, on a downtown Manhattan trading floor filled with hundreds of other people who did exactly the same thing. My home life was spent in a large Brooklyn apartment, in a neighborhood filled with other successful people.

I wasn’t in the mood to listen to anyone, especially other bankers, other academics, and the educated experts who were my neighbors. I hadn’t been for a few years. In 2008, the financial crisis had consumed the country and my life, sending Citibank, the company I worked for, into a tailspin stopped only by a government bailout. I had just seen where hubris—my own included—had taken us, and what it had cost the country. Not that it had actually cost us bankers, or my neighbors, much of anything.

I was in the habit of taking walks, sometimes as long as fifteen miles, to explore and reduce stress, but now my walks began to evolve. Rather than setting out with some plan to walk the entire length of Broadway, or along the length of a subway line, I started walking the less-seen parts of New York City. Along the way, I talked to anyone who talked to me. I used my camera to take portraits of people I met.

What I started seeing and learning was just how cloistered and privileged my world was—and how narrow and selfish I was. Like most successful and well-educated people, especially in New York City, I considered myself open-minded, considerate, and reflective about my privilege. I read three ­papers daily, I watched documentaries on our social problems, and I voted for and supported policies that I felt recognized and addressed my privilege. I gave money and time to charities that focused on ­poverty and injustice. I understood that I was ­selfish, but I rationalized. Aren’t we all selfish? ­Besides, I am far less selfish than others. Look at how I vote (­progressive), what I believe in (equality), and who my colleagues are (people of all races from all ­places).

When I first came to Hunts Point, I was determined to be respectful. I knew that HBO had done an early and salacious documentary called Hookers at the Point. Other documentaries had likewise focused on the drugs and the sex work, not on the lived realities of the majority of the residents. So I spent most of my time talking to and photographing the bike clubs, the pigeon keepers, the graffiti artists, and the workers from the nonprofits. My focus changed during a rare, quiet moment in the industrial part of Hunts Point on a Sunday afternoon. The truck traffic was light and most of the shops were closed. Takeesha was standing alone by a trickling fire hydrant, washing her face. She was working, wearing thigh-high faux-leather red boots and leopard-print tights, waving at every car or truck that passed by. She yelled to me, “Hey, take my picture!” When I asked why, she said, “Because I am a sexy, ­beautiful ­prostitute.”

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Books, Poverty, Religion & Culture