Category : Poverty

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

(Economist) Reno, Nevada–Anti-vagrancy laws are not the best way to reduce homelessness

As the city’s fortunes have risen, so too have its rents, occupancy rates and house prices. Since 2012 the median price of a home has doubled; the average rental price jumped 17% between 2014 and 2016. In January the Reno Area Alliance for the Homeless counted nearly 4,000 people living in weekly motels, up from 2,560 in 2011. Those who cannot afford motels have moved into shelters or onto the street.

If the proposed ordinance to ban sleeping outside passes, Reno’s police officers will be directed to try persuading those living on the streets to move to shelters. If they have no space, the homeless living on the street will be left alone. But if they do, anyone living outside who refuses to move in after a warning might be arrested.

An arrest record makes it harder for a homeless person to find employment or housing in the future. Many studies suggest there are cheaper ways to tackle the problem. The Central Florida Commission on Homelessness, a charity, found that the average costs associated with the incarceration and hospitalisation of a chronically homeless person are about triple what it would cost to provide a chronically homeless person with housing. Between 2007 and 2015, New Orleans reduced its homelessness rate by 85%, primarily by providing housing. Reno’s city government should take a look.

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Posted in America/U.S.A., City Government, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Poverty, Urban/City Life and Issues

A Story of Hope for a Friday–this Wonderful Lady provides Birthday parties for children who have never had one

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

(Big Issue) Lord Nicholas Henry Bourne of Aberystwyth–Homelessness Happens too Often; Cathedrals Can Help

“People end up homeless for many reasons, but all too often it’s because a single problem has spiralled out of control…”

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Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Poverty, Religion & Culture, Urban/City Life and Issues

(NYT Op-ed) David Bornstein–When Families Lead Themselves Out of Poverty

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.

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Posted in Economy, Marriage & Family, Poverty

(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.

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Posted in Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Parish Ministry, Poverty, Stewardship