Category : Poverty

(CT) John Perkins On The Day He Finally Understood The Bible

What would you say is your calling?

Well, when I started reading the Bible it was difficult for me to understand, because the Bible was not written in the everyday English language. In addition to that, I was an Ebonics speaker. I spoke within the context of my dialect in Mississippi. So the Bible was not that easy for me to read.

It didn’t have relevant meaning to me in Genesis. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, darkness…” I bet you I read over that without really understanding what it was. But as I began to read through the Bible, I came to Abraham’s calling; it was the twelfth chapter of Genesis. To me, that’s where Genesis began: the call of Abraham.God had said to Abraham, “Get thee out from among your family and from your father’s house, and I will make you, I will bless you. I will bless them that bless you and curse them that curse you. And through you all the families of the earth will be blessed.” It seemed like, what he was saying to Abraham, I heard it like he was talking to me. That’s when I really thought I was being called of God.

I heard that to say “I’m going to redeem your name.” Or better yet, I felt my name was so messed up, my heritage, my people and that I was such a sinner. That brought a conviction in my life. And I said to God, “God, would you redeem my name?”

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Posted in Poverty, Theology: Scripture

(IFS) Straight Talk About the Success Sequence, Marriage, and Poverty

Some communities in America convey the success sequence’s three rules to their young adults very emphatically. The importance of these norms gets through loud and clear in much of Mormon Utah, many immigrant communities, and in countless upper-middle class homes, neighborhoods, and schools across the nation. A whole host of stories, ideals, expectations, and norms in these communities foster adherence to the success sequence. This adherence, in turn, reduces the odds that their young adults end up poor, even when those young adults hail from poor and working-class families. It’s no accident, for instance, that children raised in lower-income families from Utah have markedly higher rates of economic mobility than children raised in lower-income families in most other states, or that children raised by poor Chinese immigrants from Brooklyn are much more likely than other poor children in New York City to get into the city’s elite public high schools, positioning them to move into the middle class or higher as adults. These young adults have been formed by communities that reinforce their own versions of the sequence—even in the face of social structural obstacles that make following the sequence more difficult.

There’s no reason, however, to limit the success sequence’s message to the offspring of the privileged, particular immigrant groups, or the religious. All young Americans—regardless of their parents’ education, ethnicity, or religious commitments (or lack thereof)—deserve to hear straight talk about the importance of education, work, and marriage. Although this message is not a panacea, and it is not a substitute for taking policy actions to address structural disadvantages —like reforming education, expanding the child tax credit, and increasing wage subsidies—we owe it to our young people to tell them the truth about how the exercise of their own agency in the direction of particular choices rather than others is likely to affect their own financial future. Doing anything less is just one more way in which our country locks in durable inequality for poor, Black, and Hispanic young men and women, and increases the odds that they forge a path into adulthood not towards the American dream, but towards poverty.

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Posted in Anthropology, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance, Poverty, Sociology

(Wash Post) Robert Samuelson–Don’t deny the link between poverty and single parenthood

What’s less worthy is basing any debate on misleading analysis. That’s my complaint against the Times essay. Its hypothetical and admittedly unrealistic thought experiment that eliminating poverty among single mothers wouldn’t have much effect on overall poverty is wrong, according to the government’s own figures from the Census Bureau.

Let’s look at the census figures.

In 2016, 40.6 million Americans had incomes below the government’s official poverty line, which was $24,339 for a family of four, including two children. Of those below the poverty line — 12.7 percent of the population — nearly 5 million were moms or dads heading single-parent families; 8.7 million were children under 18 in these single-parent homes.

Do the arithmetic. Together, single-parent families and their children totaled almost 14 million people, which is roughly a third of all people in poverty. If, magically, a third of America’s poor escaped poverty, the change would (justifiably) be hailed as a triumph of social policy. If we included the children in poverty in two-parent families, that would add more than 7 million to the total (3 million parents and 4 million children). The total of 21 million would equal about half of all people in poverty.

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Posted in Census/Census Data, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Personal Finance & Investing, Poverty

(Guardian) Stephen Pimpare– Opinion Where are all the films about poor Americans?

Buried within the Trump administration’s recent budget was a proposal to sharply cut food stamp funding. In its place would be a box of government-provided foods, a scheme sure to be a boondoggle benefiting only the companies who get contracts to produce and deliver these packages. The plan offers yet more evidence of the lack of policy knowledge within the administration, its ignorance of the scale and scope of US hunger and poverty, and its disregard and contempt for the millions who, despite their best efforts, still struggle to get by.

That said, there’s nothing especially novel about the administration’s attitude – disdain for poor people is a longstanding feature of American political culture.

Hollywood has been among the guilty parties. Thanks to April Reign’s #OscarsSoWhite campaign, we are developing the habit of evaluating how well women, people of color and LGBT Americans are represented among the nominees. But the notion that we should also look for better representation of poverty in the movies is still not on our radar. It should be.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Movies & Television, Poverty

(Express) ‘I tried to save lives in Uganda… but Britain’s poor need me more’ says missionary Jenny Green

When the Reverend Jenny Green walks the streets of Bradford’s notorious Faxfleet estate she never fears for her wellbeing.

In an area where crime is rife and vandalism, arson and fly-tipping are part of everyday life, Jenny is greeted with open arms.

Indeed, she can barely walk 100 yards without hearing calls of, “Morning, Jenny”.

The 62-year-old holds a unique position as community chaplain, a role that helps bridge the gap between residents and the local St Matthew’s Church, providing support for families in extreme poverty.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Poverty, Religion & Culture

C of E General Synod backs motion to tackle food waste

The Church of England’s General Synod has called upon the Government to tackle food poverty and take steps to minimise waste throughout the supply chain.

Members backed a motion brought by the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich outlining ways retailers and Church of England members can attempt to tackle food poverty in Britain.

The motion calls for the Government to consider steps to reduce waste in the food supply chain. It also urges parishes to help lobby retailers on food waste.

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Dieting/Food/Nutrition, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Poverty, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

(PA) Hidden hunger crisis hitting hard-up parents in the UK- report

Speaking on behalf of the Church of England, which is a member of the UK End Hunger UK campaign, the Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Rev Rachel Treweek, said: “That nearly a quarter of parents are saying they cannot reliably afford to feed their families shows that it is time to take a serious look at what
we are doing about the growing problem of household food insecurity in the UK.

“I am amazed by the generosity of the volunteers who run food banks in churches all over the country, helping those in the most acute need, but it is now clear that we need to do much more to reduce the need for food banks in the first place, starting with a commitment from Government to measure the scale of the underlying problem.”

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Posted in Children, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, England / UK, Marriage & Family, Poverty, Religion & Culture

(NBC) After growing up homeless, boy is over the moon for his new bed

8-year-old Daeyr Neely has been homeless since he was a toddler, so he couldn’t contain himself when he saw his very own bed, and his reaction has gone viral.

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Posted in Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Children, Poverty

(Guardian) Homelessness: ‘People think it can never happen to them, but it can, in the blink of an eye’

Being on the street wore me down. I slept in car parks, where boy racers threw rubbish at me. You wake up freezing, with no public toilets open. I lost weight; I lost all communication with my friends. I had a nervous breakdown. When I came to the Doorway drop-in centre, I was wearing trainers with the soles falling off. They managed to get me into a room after the government basically failed me.

I have noticed homelessness going up. Every other doorway there’s someone sitting there – people are losing their flats because of universal credit, domestic violence, not being able to afford the mortgage; it could be anything. I talk to them because I’ve been in that situation. It does help when someone says hello; most days you wake up with nobody to talk to apart from the pigeons.

But I’m grateful for what I’ve got compared with six months ago. This Christmas I’ll be in my hostel room. I’ve got a little shower, a TV and computer downstairs, and I’m saving up my pennies to get on the coach to see my nieces and nephews. I’d love to get back into horse-riding, and have my own little flat. I want to get back to being me, because you lose yourself when you’re on the streets. You’ve got to pick yourself up and do the best you can. Life’s too short to sit around being miserable.

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Posted in England / UK, Poverty

Rowan Williams: Nativity is a powerful reminder of our own vulnerability and weakness

Dr Williams is chair of Christian Aid and called for support for its Christmas appeal as he said, ‘life doesn’t have to be like this. We can build a world with deeper justice, greater fairness, greater security for all.’

He said: ‘One of the most serious forms of powerlessness that anyone can experience is, of course, hunger. Take a country like South Sudan: after years of merciless and bloody civil war, food security has become a major question in South Sudan. This year, a famine was declared. Countless young people faced starvation. It’s not the only place in Africa, or indeed throughout the world, where this is a problem. Places like Burkina Faso are facing some of the same challenges.

‘But South Sudan is particularly vivid in my own memory: I visited there a couple of times in the last 10 years. I’ve seen what life is like in the refugee camps. I’ve seen the feeding programmes, combined with educational programmes, that many local churches and charities take up. The challenge is enormous, and it’s one that we are determined to face this Christmas, and to respond to. A gift of £10 will feed a family in South Sudan for a week. A gift of £40, for a month.’

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Posted in --Rowan Williams, --South Sudan, Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Christmas, Poverty, Stewardship

(NYT) Raphaël Louigene and his burial team, tending to Haiti’s Dead

Like the country itself, Burial Road stretches between those who have everything and those with nothing. Even modest funeral parlors offer elaborate services starting at $1,100 — far beyond the means of most Haitians, who live on $2 a day or less.

No matter how rich in love they may be, most people can’t pay those fees. And so, the bodies of their sons and mothers wait here so long that their faces melt, their skin unravels. They are stacked one atop another in gruesome, wet piles that resemble medieval paintings of purgatory.

The men who have finally come to their rescue aren’t friends or relatives. They don’t know their individual stories. But they recognize poverty.

“They didn’t have a chance,” says Raphaël Louigene, the burial team’s stocky, soft-spoken leader. “They spent their lives in misery, they died in misery.”

Mr. Louigene and the other men work for the St. Luke Foundation for Haiti, a charitable organization started in 2000 to help the country’s poorest.

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Posted in Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, Eschatology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Haiti, Pastoral Theology, Poverty

(Yorkshire Post) Andrew Adonis: Whole cities and towns are in grip of a social crisis

WE are in the grip of a social crisis. Half or more of the country have been left behind, while the rest of Britain went to university, modernised and globalised. This is not just about individuals and families, but communities, even whole towns and cities. The ultra-respectable Financial Times last month carried a heart-rending article by Sarah O’Connor, who had immersed herself in Blackpool and reported on what GPs there called SLS or “s*** life syndrome” — deep poverty, pervasive drugs, obesity, anti-depressants and mental illness, in a large, isolated town exhibiting alarming signs of disintegration, including the largest encampment in Britain of children expelled from school. It is euphemistically called a pupil referral unit. Even more euphemistically, it is run by an organisation called Educational Diversity, but it is basically a dumping ground for 330 children whom schools want nothing to do with. That is 330 who have been expelled from schools in one Northern town and sent to what is in many respects a giant training camp for the criminal justice system, in addition to hundreds excluded from school day by day for lower-level misbehaviour, who simply roam the streets.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Economy, Education, England / UK, Poverty, Religion & Culture

(AP) America’s homeless population rises for first time in years

The nation’s homeless population increased this year for the first time since 2010, driven by a surge in the number of people living on the streets in Los Angeles and other West Coast cities.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released its annual Point in Time count Wednesday, a report that showed nearly 554,000 homeless people across the country during local tallies conducted in January. That figure is up nearly 1 percent from 2016.

Of that total, 193,000 people had no access to nightly shelter and instead were staying in vehicles, tents, the streets and other places considered uninhabitable. The unsheltered figure is up by more than 9 percent compared to two years ago.

Increases are higher in several West Coast cities, where the explosion in homelessness has prompted at least 10 city and county governments to declare states of emergency since 2015.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., Poverty

(Premiere) Church of England ‘deeply concerned’ over poverty stats

The Church of England has raised concern at new data on poverty which shows another 400,000 children and 300,000 pensioners have fallen into poverty in the last four years in the UK.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) says a “turning point” has been reached in the fight against poverty following the first sustained increases in child and pensioner poverty for 20 years.

Its state of the nation report said poverty rates increased last year, leaving 14 million people living in poverty, including four million children and 1.9 million pensioners.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of the JRF, said: “These worrying figures suggest that we are at a turning point in our fight against poverty.

“Political choices, wage stagnation and economic uncertainty mean that hundreds of thousands more people are now struggling to make ends meet. This is a very real warning sign that our hard-fought progress is in peril”

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Poverty

(LA Times) Malibu church pressured to end homeless dinners, with some saying it lures needy to upscale city

For 17 years, religious groups fed homeless people, and the city and private donors put up hundreds of thousands of dollars for social workers to find them housing and services.

But Malibu United Methodist Church — facing pressure from the city — in recent weeks took a U-turn, deciding twice-weekly dinners for homeless people would stop after Thanksgiving. The cutoff came after city officials summoned organizers and suggested they were attracting more homeless people and making the problem worse.

The issue boiled over on conservative and Christian online forums, where Malibu residents were castigated as liberal hypocrites. Lurid death threats poured in to City Hall.

At an emotional public hearing last week, Mayor Skylar Peak denied ordering the meals to end, but he also apologized for “miscommunication.”

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