Posts tagged poverty
Posts tagged poverty
America’s Worst Housing Project Is Being Gentrified
Have you ever simultaneously regretted that the poor had been pushed out of a neighborhood, but wished you could have gotten in when rents were still cheap? Have you ever admired the pluck and ingenuity of the first few nonpoor bastards to move into a poor area? I have.
The Los Angeles City Council just unanimously voted to tear down Jordan Downs, nearly the oldest housing project in America and probably the title holder for ugliest. Jordan Downs is comprised of 103 spookily identical buildings in the low-income, violence-ridden neighborhood of Watts. While notorious for its gangs, its racially tinged police brutality, and its intractable poverty, Watts is also noteworthy for its cultural vibrancy and the palpable neighborhood pride of its residents. I wrote that last sentence by the way, not the Watts Chamber of Commerce, but they can have it for free.
They’re not just tearing down Jordan Downs, they’re turning this Orwellian nightmare-scape into an “urban village,” including four story townhomes, condos, retail restaurants, and a farmer’s market. Residents have been hearing about this pie-in-the-sky renovation for years, or even decades, but about ten months ago, a developer was chosen, and the City Council’s decision on Wednesday, April 17 marked a big step forward. But optimism on the part of lifelong residents might not be the most practical emotion.
American Winter (Preview
Premiering on HBO on March 18, 2013, AMERICAN WINTER is a powerful and timely documentary that follows the stories of eight families struggling to survive in the aftermath of the Great Recession, and reveals the impact of rising economic inequality, cuts to social services, and the fracturing of the American Dream.
The scariest film of the year is a documentary.
As the wealthy have gotten wealthier, the economists find, that’s created an economic arms race in which the middle class has been spending beyond their means in order to keep up. The authors call this “trickle-down consumption.” The result? Americans are saving less, bankruptcies are becoming more common, and politicians are pushing for policies to make it easier to take on debt.
David Moser pens a compelling essay that examines the ways in which sprawling auto-dependent land use patterns exacerbate poverty. As more low-income individuals and families are pushed to the suburbs, “this problem is gaining urgency.”
“There are many reasons suburbs make the experience of poverty worse, but first among them is that automobiles are really expensive,” argues Moser. “Purchasing, maintaining, repairing, insuring, and fueling a car can easily consume 50% or more of a limited income. For someone struggling to work themselves out of poverty, these expenses can wreck havoc on even the most diligent efforts to maintain a monthly budget.”
“The lower one’s income, the greater is the proportional advantage of living in a walkable, ‘car-optional’ neighborhood. Those with limited financial resources can benefit from walkability the most. But due to the scarcity and cost of urban housing, low-income people are being driven away from walkable urbanism and into auto-dependent sub-urbanism.”
Moser uses Seattle as a case study to demonstrate that the types of environments most able to support auto-free lifestyles also have the highest rents, whereas those neighborhoods with more affordable prices also have the lowest walkability scores.
The solution? Moser says “[t]he only way to slow this process is to build enough housing to meet the demand, preferably near transit.” Efforts to limit development and preserve existing “neighborhood character” must be defeated, he asserts.
Full Story: Driven into Poverty: Walkable urbanism and the suburbanization of poverty Published on Friday, March 8, 2013 in Citytank
In addition to the responsibility of providing adequate healthcare to prisoners,we have a responsibility to society. Most prisoners are released back into the community.To the extent that their blood-borne communicable diseases, depression and other mental disorders, and chronic, degenerative diseases are under poor control, their families and the community will bear the burden of the related health,social and economic costs of inadequate care.
At the Lighthouse, the life expectance of our tenants is much lower than the general population. Sometimes when I share this people state, “Well, they’ve lived a rough life.” Which I suppose is part of it. But there is also a large part of inadequate and sub-standard health care given to them, not being able to afford medicines, not being able to travel to the doctor, poor diet due to lack of resources, toxic home or work environments, and on and on.
When I started working here, the old wives’ tale was that out of our 68 supported living tenants and 40 emergency stay clients, there would be a death every 6 months. That has proved to be strangely, hauntingly accurate.
Young and old, sudden and quick, long and painful, some unpredictable, some drawn out. It makes it more important to check in with everyone to see how they’re doing; it’s important to note if someone has been unaccountably missing from our little community. Everyone looks out for everyone.
Now we’ve added 48 affordable living suites to our community. Some hold families, some hold roommates, some with young babies. I pray and hope that we can change the ‘6 month’ lore curse.
The issue of wealth inequality across the United States is well known, but this video shows you the extent of that imbalance in dramatic and graphic fashion.
The video, which started going viral on Friday and whose traffic continues to climb on YouTube— reflects the facts as seen from many different sources.
These types of statistics and unbalanced realities are important to remember/recall when austerity has been implemented, a set of policies that says the poorest & most-cheated in society should bare the weight of the mistakes of the richest & most-powerful. And as the graphics in this video clearly demonstrate, it all adds up to the wealthiest getting wealthier and the poorest getting the bare minimum that the wealth owners can get by with paying the working class.
Barry M. Popkin’s work as a nutritionist has spanned from Taiwan to South Africa to Mexico and the U.S. He’s the originator of the “nutrition transition” concept, a model for understanding how globalization has led to widespread changes in people’s diets around the world. A professor at the Univestity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Popkin has become well known for his 2009 book, The World Is Fat: The Fads, Trends, Policies, and Products That Are Fattening the Human Race, in which he argues how the global food industry has altered the way we eat, drink and move.
Here, Popkin talks about the complex reasons for why developing nations are adopting America-like food systems, and why reverting back to more traditional, nutritional diets en masse is going to be difficult, to say the least.
In crazy dense Hong Kong, 100,000 of the city’s laborers live in sub-divided apartment units averaging 40 square feet.
See more. [Images: Society for Community Organization]
Listen up, Tumblr. There are some cold hard facts about being poor that you need to know before you try to talk to me or my family or any other poor person about anything involving money, food, jobs, housing or healthcare.
- Being poor is expensive as fuck. Living paycheck-to-paycheck means you can’t shell out lots of money at once for a reliable car, so you have to buy a used car that might break down more often. Or maybe you can’t pay monthly insurance costs so you end up with a $2000 emergency room bill. Renting costs more in the long run than owning. And so on.
- Asking for money doesn’t fucking hurt anybody. As long as you ask in a way that is not abusive or coercive, you should not feel ashamed if you sometimes have to ask for money. ESPECIALLY if you do it via crowdsourcing or some other method that doesn’t put pressure on any one person. Don’t you dare shame a poor person for asking for help taking care of themselves or their family.
- Sometimes poor people have nice things. Yeah, I fucking said it. I have a nice TV and some game consoles that I bought when money was less tight. In fact, anytime a poor person gets an unexpected sum of money, like a birthday gift or a tax return, it often goes to something like that. Know why? Because we know we might never get another chance to buy the thing. And being resourceful people, we also know that if we have a chance to buy a nice thing now it will cost less in the long run than buying a neverending series of things that break after a month. We also get really fucking tired of always looking like poor people to everyone else. It sucks always being the house nobody wants to visit because somebody else can afford an XBOX 360 and you can’t. Finally, you don’t fucking know where that nice thing a poor person has came from. Maybe it was a gift, or somebody gave them a Best Buy gift card and they bought a laptop. Maybe a rich person was giving it away on Craigslist. Maybe the person wasn’t always poor but shit got hard recently. Maybe they actually saved up pennies for a year to buy it. You don’t know, and it’s not actually your business anyway.
- Healthy food is more expensive than unhealthy food. I’m not going to even argue this point, I’m just going to fucking shout it. HEALTHY FOOD IS MORE EXPENSIVE THAN UNHEALTHY FOOD.
- It’s none of your business why someone is poor. Maybe they have a disability, maybe unemployment is high in their field, maybe they are part of a group that has been socioeconomically oppressed for generations and you don’t just fucking pull your bootstraps up out of that. I’ve never met anybody who was poor just for the hell of it. But you know what? Some people are poor because they made irresponsible decisions or they’re addicted to drugs or gambling. Those people are still people and they still deserve food and shelter.
- You can’t always get what you need at a thrift store or garage sale, and if you can, it still costs money. Some people have never actually set foot in a thrift store, so let me tell you what they’re like. There are rows and rows of clothes that are ugly or have holes in them or don’t fit you. And by ugly, I mean ugly-sweater-party ugly, like if I wore that to work I’d get fired ugly. If you’re REALLY lucky you might find ONE OR TWO things that fit and won’t fall apart after one washing. If you’re fat, trans or having other specific clothing needs it’s even worse. These are clothes that people rejected, and most of the time it was for a reason. Then there’s a lot of sketchy appliances from 1973 that somebody cleaned out of their mom’s garage after she died, toys for children 3 and under but fuck you if you have a ten-year-old, etc. They can be surprisingly good places to find books and Disney VHS tapes, but that’s about it.
- For similar reasons, things like Freecycle are spotty as hell. I live in a major metropolitan area. Currently, the things that are available on my local Freecycle list include an automatic pet water dish, various non-essential baby supplies, a “microwave splatter cover”, and a couple of office chairs. This is pretty representative of what is generally offered. It’s not a great place to get things you specifically need.
- There is no such thing as the welfare queen. This could be an entire post by itself, but let me give you a quick run-down of what ‘welfare’ usually consists of. This varies by state, but the aid available in Massachusetts includes food stamps ($200 a month max, doesn’t buy things like toilet paper, diapers or pet food), Emergency Aid for Elders, Disabled and Children ($300/month max if you qualify, you obviously have to be elderly, disabled or have children, and have to have almost nothing in your bank account), MassHealth insurance (actually pretty good but the application process can be long, and the state penalizes you by withholding some of your tax return if you go too long without insurance), and Section 8 housing vouchers, for which there is a waiting list of a year or more. If you manage to qualify for EVERYTHING, and you don’t have any kids, you might manage to scrape together enough to live off of. But barely. And MA is one of the better states for stuff like this.
There is probably a lot more shit I could tell you about what it’s like to be poor, but I’m tired and achy and so done with this shit, so I’m gonna stop here.
i agree with this completely and i’d like to add:
- just because someone has a job doesn’t mean they can afford the costs of living. i work full time at walmart, which is, if you didn’t know, the #1 employer in the united states. full time in my area means i get roughly 33 hours a week, and i make 50 cents above minimum wage. everyone i work with over the age of 30 has more than two jobs. one woman is in her 60s and has five jobs, two of which are technically considered full time, and she STILL lives in an apartment with her husband(who also works). if something happened and i had to fend for myself tomorrow, i would be looking for homeless shelters.
- unemployment doesn’t equal laziness. this is something that i can’t stress enough. some people are injured or have disabilities, some have multiple children that are too young for school, and some just can’t find a job (which is perfectly reasonable as unemployment is the highest its ever been). my grandmother lived off her health insurance, due to her frequent cancer relapses, and if she got a job she wouldn’t receive benefits from her insurance provider. my mom is a highly qualified accountant and it took her two years to find a job after getting laid off. if you have a job, you are very lucky, and don’t forget that.
Despite being well-known as the home to millionaires, many poor call cages home.
Anger over housing prices is a common theme in increasingly frequent antigovernmet protests. Legislator Frederick Fung warns there will be more if the problem can’t be solved. He compared the effect o the poor to a lab experiment.
“When we were in secondary school, we had some sort of experiment where we put many rats in a small box. They would bite each other,” said Fung. “When living spaces are so congested, they would make people feel uneasy, desperate,”and angry at the government, he said.
I live in a city of about 21,000 people in Alabama. There are, easily, 60 or more evangelical churches in my city. We have one of the highest churches per capita ratios in the country. Of those churches, only our church and one other will give money towards helping those in need. I know because I have looked into it for myself! There used to be a couple of others, but when I contacted them for help, most churches had quit doing this type of benevolence because of “budget issues,” or because it was too “time consuming.” Unfortunately, many of my inquiries as to why they had stopped giving boiled down to the fact that people took advantage of the church’s kindness. But I couldn’t help but wonder: Isn’t the very nature of a gracious act to give anyway?
Our church is rather small, and we can only afford to help out $50 per family; they have to decide if they want us to put it towards groceries, power, or rent. What’s readily apparent to me is that if the government didn’t get involved in welfare, we’d have far, far more people out on the streets, and many more children in desperate situations without proper food, shelter, and clothing. I thank God for WIC (“Women, Infants, and Children”); I would be an emotional wreck if it didn’t exist. During the time of my writing this article, I’ve helped a grandmother who is taking care of three children, one of whom is severely handicapped. I don’t know what would become of this woman and her grandchildren if it weren’t for food stamps. I’d have trouble sleeping.
Sometimes, I hear the objection that the government ought to stay out of the “welfare business.” The worry is that government welfare creates dependence and causes citizens to be lazy, and it is true that the apostle Paul taught that if a person does not work, then neither should he eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10). I agree with the Apostle Paul; the problem is that he is not addressing destitute widows, abandoned mothers, or men and women with severe injuries who cannot work. He is talking about lazy church members who were busy bodies. It is folly to take the apostle’s admonition and apply it across the board to every person on welfare. Furthermore, it underestimates the difficulty of living as a single parent with three children in a small repurposed FEMA trailer without reliable transportation, money for rent, and childcare even if one could get a job. When someone gets a job here, the best he or she could do would be about $8 an hour, and maybe after three months of employment, he or she would qualify for health benefits. What would people in this situation do with their children in the meantime? How will they pay rent until the check comes? (Sometimes employers take up to a month to get the first check out.)
The objection to the government being in the welfare business is often followed by the thought that such benevolence ought to be the jurisdiction of the church. But is that plausible? Could the church do it alone?
Food for thought.