“People end up homeless for many reasons, but all too often it’s because a single problem has spiralled out of control…”
Category : Poverty
(Big Issue) Lord Nicholas Henry Bourne of Aberystwyth–Homelessness Happens too Often; Cathedrals Can Help
DB: Where did the war on poverty go wrong?
MLM: The war on poverty was about movements at the beginning; then it became about programs and institutions. And that has created a listening gap. All these poverty conferences we go to — the families we’re talking about are never there except as examples of a successful social service program. They’re never there to represent themselves, their own successes. They always represent programs. And their stories are told to get more funding for the programs.
DB: What’s wrong with programs?
MLM: I ran a program for 20 years. But I wouldn’t want my own family to use my own services, even though they were among the best in the country. Once I had money, I saw that the system for people with money runs very different than the social service system. When I get my kids tutors at Sylvan Learning Center, they ask, “Do you want tutors in the evening or afternoon? What works for you?” When I offered tutoring through my program, families had to take what I gave them, and I had to do what the funders required. But if the person who comes in for help isn’t making the choices themselves, they don’t hold themselves accountable. And there are very limited choices offered to people who can’t pay.
(CT Pastors) Small Church, Big Ministry God is using 124 people from this historic congregation to feed 145,000
“When your income is not that great, and prices are going up, how are people supposed to survive?”
For the last year, Charles Johnson and his family of five have been caught in an insecure no man’s land. Their family’s low income can’t always stretch to cover everything they need, yet they don’t qualify for public assistance in Georgia. So in his words, “We’re trying to look for any kind of help we can get.”
That’s where Hillside Presbyterian Church comes through. Whoever said small churches can’t do big things?
This small church in the Atlanta area has found its calling in Decatur, Georgia, by meeting tangible needs of people in the community. Over the last 20 years, this church of 124 members—80 active members, most of them between the ages of 50 and 90—has distributed around 800,000 pounds of food to nearly 145,000 people. Hillside has become well known for its food pantry, and people from outside its service area—often sent by other churches—come looking for help.
If you were to ask a group of Americans to pinpoint poverty in this country, a good many would tell you you to turn a watchful eye to the inner-city blocks. Perhaps others would suggest you look at the isolated valleys of rural Appalachian coal mining towns. But few would point you to the suburbs, our country’s neatly manicured, leafy green mazes of driveways and cul-de-sacs. That’s a shame; it’s this very misperception that makes the issue so pernicious.
In recent decades, the number of suburbanites living in poverty has increased at an alarming clip. In 1990, there were 9.5 million poor people living in America’s 100 largest cities, and 8.6 million poor people living in the suburbs of those cities. By 2014, there were 17 million poor people in the suburbs of the country’s 100 largest metro areas, and less than 13 million in the cities themselves. The average suburban poverty rate, meanwhile increased from 8.3 percent in 1990 to 12.2 percent in 2014.
Poverty, in other words, is now a suburban problem, just as much as it’s an urban or rural problem. In his new book, Places in Need: The Changing Geography of Poverty, Scott Allard, a poverty researcher and professor at the University of Washington, explores this phenomenon and its many implications. Allard spoke to Pacific Standard about what’s driving suburban poverty rates, how the mismatch between perception and reality may affect support for safety net programs, and what the changing distribution of poverty means for the social safety net.
The United Nations is warning that more than 1.4 million people in northeastern Nigeria could face famine by September because of a severe funding shortage. To date, only 28 percent of the U.N. appeal for more than $1 billion to provide humanitarian aid for nearly seven million people has been received.
Since Boko Haram militants began their armed rebellion against the government of Nigeria in 2009, the United Nations estimates more than 20,000 people have been killed, nearly two million are internally displaced inside the country, and about 200,000 have taken refuge in neighboring Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
Government forces have recaptured much of the territory held by Boko Haram, but the security situation remains fragile.
(CT) DL Mayfield–How Government Support Saved Me; Signing up for food stamps changed my view of poverty in America
Just a few months ago, my family stopped qualifying for government cheese.
It came as a little bit of a surprise to me—I had, after all, been a part of the WIC (women, infants, and children) program for almost seven years, starting with my first child. My daughter was born two months early due to life-threatening complications and I was never able to breastfeed. WIC supplied the formula, an expense that would have been a huge blow to our family’s finances. As my husband and I took turns getting our graduate degrees, WIC provided us with milk, cheese, eggs, and a few other essentials, and when we were support-raising missionaries living in immigrant and refugee neighborhoods for three years, we used our WIC vouchers along with all of our neighbors.
Two years ago when my second child was born, I wasn’t able to work, and while moving across the country, our only car broke down. By the time we finally found an apartment to live in and a job for my husband, we didn’t even have enough money to buy curtains for our windows. We applied for food stamps, or SNAP, along with WIC, and I don’t know what we would have done without it for those few months. I felt sweet relief being able to go to the grocery store, swipe my card, and purchase food for my family. Each time, I was incredibly grateful for my country.
In light of where my family is now, it’s important for me to take a moment and remember those feelings—both the stress of not having money to buy essentials and the gratitude for any small breaks.
Two million people are teetering on the brink of famine in northeastern Nigeria but efforts to reach some are being thwarted by Boko Haram jihadists, the UN’s food agency said Thursday.
More than 20 million people across Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen, are in areas hit by drought and are experiencing famine or are at high risk of famine in “the biggest crisis we have seen in the past 50 years”, said Denise Brown, emergency coordinator for the UN’s World Food Programme.
“While they are all in difficulty, northeastern Nigeria is one that has got under our skin at WFP,” she added.
Fr Nithiya Sagayam, national coordinator of the Association of Franciscan Families of India (AFFI), is gravely concerned that the global response to extreme poverty is too low in almost every country while, he says, “corporations continue to grow richer and richer.”
This doesn’t just affect some people and not others, Sagayam believes. “The social security of every last person is at risk,” he says.
As the World Council of Churches (WCC), All Africa Conference of Churches and other partners invite churches, organizations and individuals to join a Global Day of Prayer to End Famine on 21 May, Sagayam said he is grateful for the opportunity for fellowship and public engagement. He believes the Global Day of Prayer to End Famine provides a way of getting in touch with what he describes as “the forgotten people.”
The risk of mass starvation in four countries – northeast Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen – is rapidly rising due to drought and conflict, the U.N. refugee agency said on Tuesday.
“We are raising our alarm level today that the risk of mass deaths from starvation among populations in the Horn of Africa, Yemen and Nigeria is growing,” UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards told a news briefing.
Throughout his life, Wilson suffered from spinal weakness. “God threw me on my back so that I could look up to him more,” he quipped. It was during one of these bouts of poor
health that the 26-year old Wilson began to read a book entitled Grace and Truth by Dr WP Mackay. He later described how he came to faith: “At the beginning of the chapter I was
a rank outsider. Before I got to the end, I had thrown myself at the feet of Christ and cried ‘My Lord and my God!’”
In 1870, Wilson married Flora Vickers, with whom he had five sons. He was ordained a deacon in 1880. Shortly after, he became curate at St Mary Abbots in Kensington, where he preached to one of the most fashionable congregations of Victorian London. By an ironic twist of fate, he would shortly become, as nicknamed by the then Bishop of London, the ‘Archbishop of the Gutter’. Church services were considered by the working people of the time as the exclusive preserve of the privileged. Since the working class refused to step foot inside a church, the enthusiastic young preacher began holding small, open air services at the time of day when coachmen, valets and grooms would be taking their evening stroll…
Wilson regularly suffered brutal physical assaults and even stonings during his open air missions. His outdoor work drew such huge crowds – and complaints – that he was
ordered to stop….
Read it all from the Church Army Magazine ShareIt (begins on page 4).
— Church of England (@c_of_e) September 26, 2016
(HuffPo) Bp Paul Bayes of Liverpool: For Carol’s Sake, For Christ’s Sake, We Must Look After The Poor
A comment piece in today’s (23/3/2017) Guardian shows again the human cost of what I am sure to the bureaucrats in the Treasury seems like a sensible pen stroke on an accountancy line. It tells the story of “Carol”, a disabled woman, struggling to keep her head about water as she copes with the loss of £40 a week. “Welfare reform” – cuts – have made it harder and harder for her to survive. Our local Council has supported her through its hardship fund but even that is squeezed meaning tough decisions and greater hardship. And when I think of Carol, and of the other real people I have met, I am angry.
I am angry because we as a nation are allowing a cumulative, creeping deprivation to happen to our sisters and brothers, to our children, to our neighbours. I am angry that our hard-working local politicians are forced into heartbreaking, difficult decisions over where best to spend their limited resources. I am angry that the Westminster government fails to recognise the cumulative impact of their cheese-paring, the impact in injustice and impracticality of their funding regime.
I do not want to see a society where our children starve, where our fellow citizens are punished for being disabled, sick and in need. In today’s world, in today’s Britain we should surely be investing in our support for people not continuing to punish, attack and demonise the very people who need our help. We should be investing in dignity and love, and we should if necessary be paying the price of dignity and love, the price of human flourishing, the price of a caring and more equal society.
(Atlantic) Nobel laureate Angus Deaton discusses extreme poverty, opioid addiction, Trump voters, robots, and rent-seeking
Angus Deaton studies the grand questions not just of economics but of life. What makes people happy? How should we measure well-being? Should countries give foreign aid? What can and should experiments do? Is inequality increasing or decreasing? Is the world getting better or worse?
Better, he believes, truly better. But not everywhere or for everyone. This week, in a speech at a conference held by the National Association for Business Economics, Deaton, the Nobel laureate and emeritus Princeton economist, pointed out that inequality among countries is decreasing, while inequality within countries is increasing. China and India are making dramatic economic improvements, while parts of sub-Saharan Africa are seeing much more modest gains. In developed countries, the rich have gotten much richer while the middle class has shriveled. A study he coauthored with the famed Princeton economist Anne Case highlights one particularly dire outcome: Mortality is actually increasing for middle-aged white Americans, due in no small part to overdoses and suicides—so-called “deaths of despair.” (Case also happens to be Deaton’s wife. More on that later.)
It takes a lot to declare a famine.
If a population can’t find enough food it’s not strictly a famine. Nor is it famine if one third of the population is severely malnourished.
The United Nations’ definition of famine is when three conditions coincide: at least 20 per cent of a population faces extreme food shortages, 30 per cent of people experience acute malnutrition, and at least two people per 10,000 die every day.
This week both the UN and the World Food Program agreed with South Sudan’s decision to declare a state of famine in parts of the country’s south.
We also touched base with Gary Edmonds, President and CEO of Food for the Hungry, to get further perspective
He explains, “Over decades, we have had many partners who actively engage in resettling refugees in this country. It’s a quite onerous, strict process these refugee candidates and asylum seekers go through. So we know there has been a very strong vetting process over time, and thus we want to make sure our partners who actively engage in working with refugees here in the United States are able to continue to do it as faith-based Christians who are living with the level of passion and seeking to follow the admonishing of Jesus to that point of being hospitable, being welcoming to the foreigner, the alien, [and] those who are in states of poverty.
“We are people who support [and] pray for the president, we pray for those in leadership,” says Edmonds. However, “we”¦have a sense that the way [the executive order] was written, the way it was rolled out very quickly, that it didn’t seem to take into consideration all the people in present processes and people who are actively right now seeking asylum and being, at least on a temporary basis, turned away. Obviously, if this were rescinded, if the things were taken care of, that would be favorable to us. We would see that as a favorable approach, because we do believe we’ve got a very strict process that is being actively followed in vetting or qualifying those who get to come and seek full refugee status or asylum status here in the United States.”
Read it all from MNN.
I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.