"The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the
abundance of those who have much. It's whether we
provide enough for those who have too little."
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt
For more information: AAUW Fact Sheets and Position Papers on Affirmative Action, Athletics, Education, Managed Care Reform, Reproductive Rights, and Social Security Reform.
North Country Matters Video: Poverty in St. Lawrence County, NY: A panel of local people discussed the way poverty manifests itself at the SUNY Canton's Campus Center's Kingston Theater on Feb. 5, 2014 as part of a week of activities sponsored by the International Student Activist Organization (ISAO). The panel members were Amani M. Awwad, PhD, and associate professor and chair of the social sciences department at SUNY Canton, Mary Ann Ashley, Village of Canton Mayor, Thomas R. Burns, superintendent of St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES, Christopher Rediehs, St. Lawrence County commissioner of social services, 116th NYS Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, and Steven J. Todd, assistant superintendent of St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES. The panel moderator was Donna Seymour, a member of the St. Lawrence County Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and the Public Policy Vice President for AAUW-NYS. This program was recorded and edited by Paige Smith, Comm & Media Student, Clarkson University. (May 4, 2014)
Video: The Story of Hungry - A unique look at life through the eyes of a small girl struggling with hunger, and how something as simple as breakfast in the classroom can changer her day, her week — and maybe even her entire future.
Film: A Place at the Table and its trailer>
A Framework for Understanding Poverty By Ruby K. Payne - People in poverty face challenges virtually unknown to those in middle class or wealth--challenges from both obvious and hidden sources. The reality of being poor brings out a survival mentality, and turns attention away from opportunities taken for granted by everyone else.
Updated July 23, 2014
- We're Arresting Poor Mothers for Our Own Failures - State and federal childcare spending last year fell to the lowest level since 2002. Much of the money available for childcare comes to states through Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, or today's version of welfare, but TANF hasn't been adjusted for inflation since 1996. It's lost a third of its value since then. The money spent on childcare has declined from a high of $4 billion in 2000 to $2.6 billion in 2013. That means fewer and fewer children get subsidized care. The number of children served by subsidies is at the lowest level since 1998.
- With a Series of Small Bans, Cities Turn Homelessness Into a Crime - Laws that criminalize homelessness are on the rise across the country, according to a new report by an advocacy group. The laws prohibit everything from sleeping in public to loitering and begging. Advocates for the homeless say the laws are making the problem worse.
- SNAP Challenge Shows College Student Healthy Eating Struggles of Low-Income Americans - "In just five days of living on a food stamp budget I gained a better understanding of the realities faced by…low-income people," Moreno concludes. "I also realized that if policymakers want to create more healthful communities, they will have to do much more than just tell people to eat healthy."
- The Major Networks' Evening News Programs Barely Mention Poverty - In a 14-month period (1/1/13-2/28/14), only 23 segments discussing poverty appeared over the 14-month study period. Less than half of the 54 segment sources (22) were people personally affected by poverty. That means, on average, someone affected by poverty appeared on any nightly news show only once every 20 days. Over the same period, the network news shows aired almost four times as many stories, 82, that included the term "billionaire."
- Couple's Quest to Eat Healthy on a Food Stamp Budget - Food Stamped is a documentary that takes an in-depth look at the food system in our country, which many citizens find to be broken. The film follows an American couple on their quest to eat healthy and stay on a well-balanced diet while on a food stamp budget. Throughout the film, the filmmaker, Yoav Potash, and his wife, Shira, a nutrition specialist, travel the country discussing the problem amongst the company of U.S. government officials, nutritionists, food organizations and other folks living on a one-dollar-meal plan.
- About a quarter of Americans have no emergency savings, poll finds - The Bankrate.com survey results released Monday also found that two-thirds of respondents said they have less than the recommended six months' worth of readily available savings to cover living expenses, such as rent or mortgage payments, utility bills and food costs, in case of a lost job or other difficulties.
- Rural Poverty Increasing According to USDA - Two recent USDA reports - Rural America at a Glance, 2013 Edition and Rural Poverty & Well-being - are reporting that rural poverty is increasing. In 2008, the overall rural poverty rate was 15.1 percent; in 2012, the rate increased to 18.1 percent. Poverty among rural children increased to 26.7 percent in 2012. Urban poverty decreased from 14.9 percent in 2010, while urban child poverty decreased from 21.9 percent in 2010. Deep poverty - having cash income below half of the poverty line - was 12.2 percent in 2012 for rural areas and 9.2 percent in urban areas.
- Broke and Broken? The Psychological Effects of Poverty - For the more than 40 million Americans in poverty, everyday life is a struggle - buying food, going to school, getting a job. And for a great many of them, what most people think of as simple tasks are also difficult. Let's explore the picture of poverty in the U.S. and the psychological and physical toll it takes.
- Food stamp usage in St. Lawrence County increased during recession, but is lower than state average, report says - The proportion of county residents receiving food stamps hit 14.7 percent in 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition. The inflation-adjusted median household income in St. Lawrence County in 2011 was $44,131, compared to the New York median of $57,116. Nationally, median household income was $52,306 in 2011. In 2011, residents of the county received a combined $27,690,831 in SNAP benefits.
- What I Realized When I Finally Decided to Sign Up for Food Stamps - The people in that waiting room could have been my neighbors or co-workers. They were people I interact with every day. One of them I recognized as an ex-employee of one of my clients who is now out of business. These were not the dregs of society looking for a handout. These were working people, just like me, who just needed some help. This was a shocking reminder of what has become of the middle class. They say you can't make good decisions if you're hungry. While I never got to that, making decisions when you are worried about going hungry is just as bad.
- America's homeless: The rise of Tent City, USA - The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty documented media accounts of tent cities between 2008 and 2013, and estimated that there are more than 100 tent communities in the United States -- and it says the encampments are on the rise.
- Many Iraq-Afghanistan War Vets Struggle to Find Enough Food: Study - One-quarter of U.S. veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have trouble getting enough access to enough food, according to new research. That is drastically higher than the prevalence of food insecurity in the U.S., which is 14.5 percent.
- USA: The World's Newest Third World Nation - Despite our nation's vast wealth, 14.5 percent of U.S. households were "food insecure" as of 2010, and as of 2011, 1.5 million American household were struggling with "extreme poverty." An analysis done recently by the New York Times found that our neighbor to the north, Canada, actually has the wealthiest middle-class in the world, dethroning America after decades at the top of the list.
- America's Essentials Are Getting More Expensive While Its Toys Are Getting Cheap - Jordan Weissmann nails it: "Prices are rising on the very things that are essential for climbing out of poverty." The road to upward mobility is uncertain, but we know the checkpoints. Graduating from college-whose sticker price is actually rising faster than its actual cost-correlates with higher employment and richer earnings. Chronically sick children affect parents' mental health, and chronically sick parents hurt a family's well-being. Single moms and dads who can't afford daycare and wind up spending lots of hours watching after their kids have trouble finishing school or establishing themselves in the workforce. Just as the benefits of wealth create a virtuous cycle of behavior, the challenges of poverty start a vicious circle that continues to spin down through multiple generations.
- RISE Out of Poverty Act - With more than 45 million U.S. citizens living in poverty, it is a social issue that cannot be ignored. n order to better meet the needs of impoverished citizens, U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore of Wisconsin introduced the RISE (Rewriting to Improve and Secure an Exit) Out of Poverty Act in February 2013. The legislation seeks to amend TANF so as to better accommodate the economic needs of those in poverty.
- In the News: 50 Years Into the War on Poverty, Hardship Hits Back - Fifty years after the war on poverty began, its anniversary is being observed with academic conferences and ideological sparring - often focused, explicitly or implicitly, on the "culture" of poor urban residents. Almost forgotten is how many ways poverty plays out in America, and how much long-term poverty is a rural problem. Of the 353 most persistently poor counties in the United States - defined by Washington as having had a poverty rate above 20 percent in each of the past three decades - 85 percent are rural. They are clustered in distinct regions: Indian reservations in the West; Hispanic communities in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas; a band across the Deep South and along the Mississippi Delta with a majority black population; and Appalachia, largely white, which has supplied some of America's iconic imagery of rural poverty since the Depression-era photos of Walker Evans.
- In the News: Systemic hunger, right here in the North Country - In the North Country, there is an ongoing conversation about poverty, health, and hunger. Over the last five years, 40 percent more people living in St. Lawrence County have signed up for SNAP benefits, or food stamps. Nationwide, one in six Americans doesn't know where the next meal is coming from.
- In the News: Walmart Worker: Why Did the Waltons Get $8 Billion in Subsidies While I Had to Pay Taxes? - Walmart workers deliver a message about spreading the wealth.
- In the News: Hunger grows among college students - A problem known as "food insecurity" - a lack of nutritional food - is not typically associated with U.S. college students. But it is increasingly on the radar of administrators, who report seeing more hungry students, especially at schools that enroll a high percentage of youths who are from low-income families or are the first generation to attend college.
- In the News: Survey: Nearly 40 Percent Of Americans Can't Come Up With $2,000 For Emergency - Nearly 40 percent of survey participants answered that they weren't "confident" about coming up with $2,000 if an unexpected need arose within the next month. The survey also found that almost 60 percent of individuals in the country did not have three months of emergency funds that they could access to cover an emergency.
- In the News: Students to Repay Loans Into Our 50s? - A generation is saddled with the idea that adult life starts in debt, giving rise to an apathy about the politics that make it so. Students currently at university will be repaying their government loans well into their 40s and 50s comes as no surprise.
- In the News: Poverty-related Challenges Sap Instructional Time in High Schools - Poverty-related challenges steal time from high school class periods, leading students at low-income schools to receive an average of half an hour less instruction per day than their higher-income peers.
- In the News: NC colleges and universities add student food pantries - The cost of higher education jumped nearly 540 percent from 1985 to last year, compared with an increase of 286 percent for medical costs and 121 percent of inflation in the Consumer Price Index over the same period, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. It's also true, said several people involved with the pantries, that there had long been problems with hunger on campus, even before the recession, but awareness about it has grown.
- In the News: Food Stamps Don't Keep Walmart's Prices Low, They Keep Its Profits High - The same company that brings in the most food stamp dollars in revenue has the most employees using food stamps. A study released last year by staff of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce found that a single 300-employee Walmart Supercenter may cost taxpayers anywhere from $904,542 to nearly $1.75 million per year.
- In the News: Could You Get By on a Low-Wage Job? - Nearly a third of all working families in the U.S. struggle to pay for their basic necessities every month. For Americans working in jobs that don't require a college degree-minimum-wage workers at McDonald's, sales associates at Walmart, those working multiple part-time jobs in retail-the struggle is more pronounced. In this interactive, developed by Marketplace's Wealth & Poverty Desk, you can see for yourself how difficult it is to make ends meet in a low-wage job.
- April 7: GardenShare will host the Cinema 10 film series of "A Place at the Table" at 7:15 p.m. at the Roxy Theatre. The film is a commentary on hunger in the U.S. Tickets are $4.50 for adults and $3.50 for seniors and students. The film will be followed by a discussion on local hunger and food security issues.
- In the News: The Secret Life of a Food Stamp - The biggest winners of the SNAP economy are the ones the government won't tell you about. In order to be authorized by the government to participate in SNAP, a store must meet certain standards and fulfill certain responsibilities. It must keep a specific amount and variety of food in stock. It must work with the federal government to monitor fraud. It must not discriminate against customers who use EBT, or force them to use certain lines. But nowhere does the government require that for a store to be part of the food stamp program, it must pay its workers enough that they don't need to use food stamps themselves.
The United States Is Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading to the Poor, U.N. Report Charges - The UN Human Rights Committee says the U.S. should stop criminalizing homeless people for being homeless.
- In the News: Desiree's story: Your questions answered on student homelessness - It was seen by tens of thousands of people and generated a lot of questions about homelessness in the region. Sarah Harris and Martha Foley answered some of those questions in a conversation this morning. A list of resources is included.
- In the News: Sixteen and homeless, in Parishville woods - When you think of being homeless, you think of living in shelters and on the street. You imagine a city. But homelessness happens here in the North Country, too. And it happens to children.
- In the News: Sixteen and homeless, pt. 2: homeless no more - In the 2012-2013 school year, there were 3,218 homeless students in the greater North Country. 697 of them were in St. Lawrence County.
- In the News: Overwhelming Evidence that Half of America is In or Near Poverty - And it's much worse for black families.
- In the News: Low-Wage Workers Find Poverty Harder to Escape - Climbing out of poverty has become more daunting as the work force has been transformed by the Great Recession.
- The Changing Face of the Low-Wage Worker - Low-wage earners in 2013 tended to be older as a group than they were in 1979. They were also more likely to have high school or college educations, and more likely to be racial and ethnic minorities.
- In the News: Income Gap, Meet the Longevity Gap - “Poverty is a thief,” said Michael Reisch, a professor of social justice at the University of Maryland, testifying before a Senate panel on the issue. “Poverty not only diminishes a person’s life chances, it steals years from one’s life.”
- In the News: Food pantries on the rise at US college campuses - At Stony Brook, where the average cost for an undergraduate residential student — tuition, fees, room and board — is $19,358 a year, officials opened the food pantry last year after learning that students had started a website sharing information about campus events where free food was being offered.
- In the News: House Speaker Boehner accuses N.Y. and other states of 'cheating' food stamp rules - House Speaker John Boehner accused New York and four other states of 'cheating' and 'fraud' for sidestepping federal cuts to food stamps through what critics call a 'loophole' in the laws. But Democrats say the states had to step in to keep people from going hungry.
- In the News: Celebrating 23 Women Righting the Wrongs of Hunger and Poverty Around the World - In many countries, women are responsible for the majority of food production, but they are also more likely to suffer from hunger due to food shortages. For instance, Oxfam International data has found women perform 66 percent of the world’s work, but only earn 10 percent of the income.
- In the News: North Country food bank pilot program will restock pantries faster
- In the News: Report: Minimum Wage Hike Would Cut Food Stamp Spending by $4.6 Billion a Year - Raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour would reduce federal food stamp spending by $4.6 billion a year, according to a report to be released Wednesday.
- In the News: NY, Conn. up heat help in food stamp cut end-run - Connecticut and New York have found a way around federal farm bill cuts: bump up home heating assistance a few million bucks in return for preserving more than a half-billion dollars in food stamp benefits.
- In the News: How Govt. Hides the Poor: Formula for Measuring Poverty Dates to When a Loaf of Bread Cost 22 Cents - To determine who is officially poor in America, the federal government compares a family’s annual cash income to a figure produced by an arcane formula that's based on the price of food in 1963, when a loaf of bread was 22 cents and a burger less than a quarter.
- In the News: Cuomo: We’ll use heating funds to shore up food stamps - With the latest federal farm bill reaping a cut in food stamp, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) money to the states, Gov. Andrew Cuomo says they’ll tap some heating assistance funds, dedicated to those whose heating bills are included in the rent, to shore up the food program for about 300,000 households.
- In the News: When feeling poor makes you sick: Subjective poverty massively affects older people's health - Poverty can also be a matter of subjectively feeling poor. A study of Germany and 11 other European countries shows that older people who assess themselves as poor get sick more often (38 per cent) and suffer more from health setbacks (48 per cent) than those who do not. The probability of dying earlier is also much higher -- around 40 per cent for men in this age group.
- In the News: Working Single Mothers Are Disproportionately Likely To Be Poor - While families headed by a working mom make up less than a quarter of all working families, they make up nearly 40 percent of all low-income ones. And their numbers are on the rise: the share of working families headed by a woman that are low income increased from 54 percent in 2007 to 58 percent in 2012. The share is even higher among African Americans, as 65 percent are low income.
- In the News: What If All Single Parents Received Child Support? - Amid all the 50-years-later press about LBJ's war on poverty, a deafening silence surrounds government support for single heads of household. This program, known as welfare, was ransacked in 1996 and today's single mothers are paying the price.
- In the News: Guest speaker Paul Gorski, to present “Reaching and Teaching Students in Poverty: Strategies for Erasing the Opportunity Gap.” at SLU Feb. 26 - Gorski, professor of social justice and education, will draw from decades of research to deconstruct popular myths, misconceptions, and educational practices that undercut the achievement of low-income students. His research provides specific, evidence-based strategies for teaching by creating equitable, bias-free learning environments.
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