What is poverty and why are so many families having such a hard time?
First, try, try, really try to look at poverty today with a new lens or let’s say a wider lens. As the saying goes, this is not your grandfather’s poverty. Everything is different today than back in the day! Did we even have FICO scores back then? Working hard does not necessarily mean you won’t end up living below the poverty guidelines in America. Did you know it is estimated that low income families often work 1.7 jobs to make ends meet? What does that mean?
People living in conditions of poverty are unable to meet their basic needs for food, shelter, heat, utilities, clothing, transportation and child care. We sometimes refer to families living below the Federal Poverty Level as being economically insecure. This means on any given day, these families and individuals choose which basic commodities they can provide for their children often choosing between paying the rent and eating.
Poverty is a multi-faceted problem that affects all of us. Children and adults growing up and living in poverty often face extreme stress and hopelessness. Health issues and family dynamics can be negatively impacted. So here is something all of us can do to help.
Change our perspective. Poverty is a condition not a person. Just as many different people share a disease, everyone is different. Homeless families and hard working people that are one paycheck away from being homeless are our neighbors and should not be lumped into one shallow category. I often hear of how embarrassed and humiliating it is for parents to not be able to provide the basic needs for their children.
We, as a community, will continue to work on the local issues. As we enter the holiday season, my heartfelt thanks to the people who have dedicated their lives (time, energy, knowledge and resources) embodying the spirit of hope
and making our community a better place to live.