"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: St. Lawrence County Community Food Security Assessment with Heather Sullivan-Caitlin (Sept. 12, 2014)
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 December 18, 2014
- There Has Never Been A Greater Portion Of America Living On Food Stamps - A quick glimpse at the following charts two rather uncomfortably 'non-recovery-like' lines - of structural unemployment and the percent of the US population of Food Stamps - would suggest that for much of America, the recovery never happened, and in fact has gotten worse.
- Unsteady Incomes Keep Millions Behind on Bills - Between the early 1970s and the late 2000s, household income became "more volatile" although there had been a period of increased stability, according to a 2012 study*. A recent report of low and moderate-income families from U.S. Financial Diaries shows "a clear upward trend in income volatility," with nearly all 235 households studied reporting at least a 25 percent drop in income in one year due to reduced work hours, health problems, and household size shifts.
- A two-generation approach to lift kids out of poverty - The latest Kids Count report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation makes the case for creating opportunity for families by addressing needs of parents and children simultaneously, and connecting low-income families with early childhood education, job training, and other tools to achieve financial stability and break the cycle of poverty. Low-income families today face a number of challenges: parents have inflexible, low-paying, unpredictable jobs; lack access to high-quality, flexible, reliable early child care and education; and grapple with stress at home. Nearly half -- 45 percent -- of American families with children age 8 and under are low-income, and many lack essential tools to achieve financial stability.
- Why Poor People Stay Poor - It's amazing what things that are absolute crises for me are simple annoyances for people with money. Anything can make you lose your apartment, because any unexpected problem that pops up, like they do, can set off that Rube Goldberg device.
- From Paycheck to Pantry: Hunger in Working America - Our latest study, From Paycheck to Pantry: Hunger in Working America released with Oxfam America, shows that 54 percent of households seeking food assistance have one member that has worked in the past 12 months. While more than half (54%) of all client households have a member that has worked for pay in the past 12 months, these households still experience difficulties in meeting their basic needs. Limited hours, changes in employment status, low incomes, and competing household expenses are some of the common challenges.
- In 33 U.S. Cities, It's Illegal to Do the One Thing That Helps Homeless People Most: Feed Them - In case the United States' problem with homelessness wasn't bad enough, a forthcoming National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) report says that 33 U.S. cities now ban or are considering banning the practice of sharing food with homeless people. According to government data, about 600,000 people are homeless on any given night.
- Nation's Largest Food Bank Reduces Portions, Turns Away Needy After Massive Food Stamp Cuts - Thanks to billions of dollars in food stamp cuts over the past year, the nation's largest food bank has seen need jump so dramatically that it can't keep up, the Food Bank For New York City (FBFNYC) announced Monday. In New York City alone, the cuts wiped out about 56 million meals' worth of benefits, the FBFNYC guesses. Feeding America's latest survey of member charities reported that one in every six of its food banks nationwide is worried about having to close down due to a lack of resources and surging demand. Those fears come despite eye-popping figures on volunteer participation: 2 million people volunteer more than 8.4 million hours at Feeding America charities every month.
- Response to Child Homelessness Must Extend Beyond Housing, Report Says - Homeless families are frequently headed by single mothers who lack the education, child care, transportation, and social supports to find a long-term, stable home for their children, a report says. Emergency housing alone will not solve the crisis of record homelessness among children in U.S. schools, says a report released this week. Rather, cross-sector efforts that address underlying causes of homelessness-such as mental illness and inadequate childcare-will be needed to change trend lines in a sustainable way.
- 'Rich Hill': Documentary Focuses on Teens in Rural Poverty - Poor families in rural America do not get much media attention. Or when they do, it's disturbing reality-TV treatment. "Rich Hill" is a documentary offering a more serious look at life for youngsters in outlying Middle America, including some aspects of their schooling. The film follows three teenage boys in dysfunctional families around Rich Hill, a Missouri town of about 1,300 some 70 miles south of Kansas City, Mo.
- About 60 people participate in 'Inequalities Roundtable' in Canton - About 60 people from all over the North Country participated in the first “Inequalities Roundtable” held at the Unitarian Universalist Church recently.
- Half in Ten Annual Poverty and Inequality Indicators Report - Since 2010, the Half in Ten campaign has tracked its progress toward achieving its goal of cutting poverty in half in 10 years by examining 21 different indicators of economic security and opportunity. The good news is that the national poverty rate started to edge down and the child poverty rate declined significantly in 2013. The bad news is that incomes remain stagnant with high levels of income inequality remaining stubbornly stuck in place.
- More than half of America's poorest households still don't get the Internet at home - Internet use is so ubiquitous that many Americans take it for granted. But a shockingly large number of America's poorest households live without it.More than 80 percent of American households owned a computer and just shy of 75 percent had an Internet subscription in 2013, according to a new report by the U.S.
- Federal Government to Double the Value of Food Stamps if Spent on Fruits and Vegetables - The federal government is about to put $100 million behind a simple idea: doubling the value of SNAP benefits - what used to be called food stamps - when people use them to buy local fruits and vegetables. Earlier this year, the farm bill passed, and it included $100 million, over the next five years, to boost SNAP dollars when they're spent on fresh fruits and vegetables. Those taxpayer dollars have to be matched by private funding, so the program could add up to $200 million in total. That's a huge increase. According to some estimates, it may be 10 times what these programs spend right now.
- Sanitation can eliminate slums in less than a generation - Investing in water and sanitation could eradicate urban poverty and eliminate slums in less than a generation, said a study published on Thursday. Almost 1 billion people, most of them in South Asia and Africa, live in slums without access to basic services like clean water and improved toilets.
- In New York, Number of College/University Food Pantries Grows - Ten new food pantries will open in the City University of New York's (CUNY) community colleges over the next year with help from the Food Bank for New York City; 15 State University of New York schools that run food pantries and three more universities in that system will work with local groups to open pantries before 2014 ends. These food pantries help students with the high cost-of-living in New York, especially those students who attend college tuition-free. The pantries help students stay in school "instead of getting a second or third job or sometimes, dropping out of school, because they can't make ends meet," said Dr. Frank Sanchez, CUNY's vice chancellor for student affairs. The state's food banks and SUNY colleges are working to open even more food pantries, as hunger awareness grows, financial aid for education decreases, and more unemployed people are returning to school. For instance, between 250 and 700 people visit Kingsborough Community College's food pantry each month.
- Food Insecurity among Adolescents and College Students - Now that autumn is here and students across the country have returned to school, the IN FOCUS article for this issue examines food insecurity among adolescents and college students. The NEW RESEARCH section highlights nine recent studies related to food insecurity, including several large studies and literature reviews on food insecurity in the U.S., as well as studies on food insecurity in childhood and pregnancy.
- Hidden truth about the health of homeless people - As many as 4 million Europeans and 3.5 million Americans experience homelessness every year, and the numbers are rising. Homeless people "are the sickest in our society", but just treating ill health might not be enough to help get people off the streets, according to a new two-part Series on homelessness in high-income countries.
- Homelessness Rose in New York - The number of homeless people living on the streets and in shelters across the country fell this year, according to an annual federal survey released on Thursday. But in New York City, the homeless population continued to grow, swelling in almost every category: individuals, families and the chronically homeless. More than half of the city's homeless population, 41,633 people, were in families, all of them living in shelters, the report said.
- 8 Impossible Choices People Who Can't Afford Food Make Every Day - Among food-insecure families, 27 percent reported adding water to formula when there was a limited amount, a method that can affect a baby's developing brain and lead to cognitive, behavioral and psychological issues, according to a 2012 Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center study.
- The Bottom 90 Percent Are Poorer Today Than They Were in 1987 - Once upon a time, the American economy worked for everybody, and even the middle class got richer. But this story has only been a fairy tale for almost 30 years now. The new, harsh reality is that the bottom 90 percent of households are poorer today than they were in 1987.
- Share No More: The Criminalization of Efforts to Feed People In Need - In recent years, cities across the nation have established a precedent of criminalizing homelessness and pushing the problem out of sight. One method that has become more popular has been to introduce new legislation, designed with the intention of restricting individuals and groups from sharing food with people experiencing homelessness.
- Small Stores Accepting SNAP May Have Difficulty After USDA Stops Funding EBT Machines - As part of the farm bill, the federal government will no longer subsidize EBT machines, a move that will force many small, SNAP-accepting stores to stop accepting benefits, or raise their prices. It's estimated that 118,000 bodegas, corner stores and similar markets nationwide have had their EBT machines paid for through this federal and state partnership. These small stores could now see bills of up to $1,000 a year to use EBT equipment, supplies and related services, according to Xerox Corp, which administers EBT cards in 19 states.
- One-Third of Americans at or Near Poverty - Some people think of poor people as a small, especially degenerate class of people. I and others have tried to push back against this understanding by pointing out, among other things, that 60% of poor people are children, elderly, disabled, or students, that poverty rates differ significantly across the life cycle.
- Poor kids who do everything right don't do better than rich kids who do everything wrong - America is the land of opportunity, just for some more than others. That's because, in large part, inequality starts in the crib. Rich parents can afford to spend more time and money on their kids, and that gap has only grown the past few decades. Indeed, economists Greg Duncan and Richard Murnane calculate that, between 1972 and 2006, high-income parents increased their spending on "enrichment activities" for their children by 151 percent in inflation-adjusted terms, compared to 57 percent for low-income parents.
- Janet Yellen on the Broken Way America Pays for Public Schools - Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen stepped out of her banks-and-money specialty today to point to an issue that doesn't usually get on the radar of central bankers: school finance. In a speech lamenting inequality in America, she said "public education spending is often lower for students in lower-income households than for students in higher-income households."
- Rental America: Why the poor pay $4,150 for a $1,500 sofa - Five years into a national economic recovery that has further strained the poor working class, an entire industry has grown around handing them a lifeline to the material rewards of middle-class life. Retailers in the post-Great Recession years have become even more likely to work with customers who don't have the money upfront, instead offering a widening spectrum of payment plans that ultimately cost far more and add to the burdens of life on the economy's fringes.
- 10 Shocking and Wildly Depressing Facts About Being Homeless in Uncaring America - The figures are both staggering and sobering.
- Fact One. Over half a million people are homeless
- Fact Two. One quarter of homeless people are children
- Fact Three. Tens of thousands of veterans are homeless
- Fact Four. Domestic violence is a leading cause of homelessness in women
- Fact Five. Many people are homeless because they cannot afford rent
- Fact Six. There are fewer places for poor people to rent than before
- Fact Seven. In the last few years millions have lost their homes
- Fact Eight. The Government does not help as much as you think
- Fact Nine. One in five homeless people suffer from untreated severe mental illness
- Fact Ten. Cities are increasingly making homelessness a crime
- Deaths among low-income children are making the US a leader in infant mortality - The United States spends more money on healthcare than any other nation in the world, yet America also has one of the highest rates of infant deaths. So what's the reason?
- Hispanic Hunger Decreases, But Hispanics Still Disproportionately Experience Hunger - Census Bureau data show that the rates of hunger and poverty decreased for Hispanic households last year, but Hispanics continue to be disproportionately affected by hunger. Nationally, 14.3 percent of households experience food insecurity, while 23.7 percent of Hispanic households struggle with food insecurity. In addition, 24.8 percent of Hispanics live in poverty, compared to the national average of 14.5 percent. "It is really moving to see families finally start to make their way out of the hole the recession has put us in, but it weighs heavily on my heart that in the Hispanic community, 4 million children are not sure if they will be going to bed hungry even though their parents work two or sometimes three jobs," said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World.
- It Happened Again: How 14 People Made More Money Than the Entire Food Stamp Budget for 50,000,000 People - or the 2nd year in a row, America's 14 richest made more than all the money provided for those in need of food. Nearly half of the food-deprived are children. Perversely, the food stamp program was CUT because of a lack of federal funding. a testament to the inability -- or unwillingness -- of Congress to do anything about the incessant upward re-distribution of America's wealth, the richest 14 Americans increased their wealth from $507 billion to $589 billion in ONE YEAR from their investment earnings. As stated by Forbes, "All together the 400 wealthiest Americans are worth a staggering $2.29 trillion, up $270 billion from a year ago."
- Poverty and School Funding: Why Low-Income Students Often Suffer - Recently, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that 34 states are contributing less funding on a per student basis than they did prior to the recession years. Since states are responsible for 44 percent of total education funding in the U.S., these dismal numbers mean a continued crack down on school budgets despite an improving economy. In extreme cases, like in Philadelphia and Chicago, individual districts have had to tap into other money and reserves to cover the basics of public education in their areas.
- New definition of homeless would give kids more help
They are the hidden homeless. A bill before Congress aims to amend the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's definition of "homelessness," which would help children and families living in motels, cars, or temporarily with others to obtain needed services.
- College Student Hunger is Growing Problem Yet Largely Unnoticed - As the cost of college rises, and students grapple with tuition and cost of living increases, more and more students are experiencing food insecurity, yet the issue is difficult to measure and there is little data on college student hunger. Research at the University of Hawaii at Manoa revealed that 21 percent of their students experienced food insecurity, and similar research at Western Oregon University found that 59 percent of students struggled with hunger.
- You Can't Feed a Family With G.D.P. - The census numbers on what American families made last year are as mediocre as they are predictable. We now know that if your household brought in $51,939 in income last year, you were right at the 50th percentile, with half of households doing better and half doing worse. In inflation-adjusted terms, that is up a mere 0.3 percent from 2012. If you're counting, that's an extra $180 in annual real income for a middle-income American family. Don't spend your extra $3.46 a week all in one place.
- Homeless High Schoolers Face Barriers to Education - Many teens become homeless because of abuse or neglect, one expert says.
- Holder Backs Suit on Legal Service for Poor New Yorkers - Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. is supporting a class-action lawsuit that accuses Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the state of perpetuating a system that violates the rights of people who cannot afford to hire lawyers.
- Student homelessness hits another record high - A growing number of students don't have homes to return to once classes are out. Approximately 1.3 million students enrolled in U.S. public preschools, elementary schools, middle schools and high schools were homeless during the 2012-13 school year. That's up 8% from the prior year, and the highest number on record, according to the National Center for Homeless Education, funded by the Department of Education.
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