Posts tagged poverty
Posts tagged poverty
Generosity can’t always bridge cultural and economic divides
"For those who are well-off, it may be easier to castigate the irresponsibility of the poor than to recognize that success in life is a reflection not only of enterprise and willpower, but also of random chance and early upbringing.
Low-income earners, who actually encounter the needy in daily life, understand this complexity and respond with empathy. Researchers say that’s why the poorest 20 percent of Americans donate more to charity, as a fraction of their incomes, than the richest 20 percent. Meet those who need help, especially children, and you become less judgmental and more compassionate.
And compassion isn’t a sign of weakness, but a mark of civilization.”
In August, Science published a landmark study concluding that poverty, itself, hurts our ability to make decisions about school, finances, and life, imposing a mental burden similar to losing 13 IQ points.
It was widely seen as a counter-argument to claims that poor people are “to blame” for bad decisions and a rebuke to policies that withhold money from the poorest families unless they behave in a certain way. After all, if being poor leads to bad decision-making (as opposed to the other way around), then giving cash should alleviate the cognitive burdens of poverty, all on its own.
Sometimes, science doesn’t stick without a proper anecdote, and “Why I Make Terrible Decisions,” a comment published on Gawker's Kinja platform by a person in poverty, is a devastating illustration of the Science study.
Read more. [Image: Reuters]
Emily Badger. Oct 24, 2013
The housing crisis sounded all kinds of alarms for policymakers and the public about what happens when families can’t afford their homes, or when they lose the stability that a secure home provides. We’ve heard about the effects of foreclosures on neighborhoods, the weight of housing stress on human health, the impact of lost equity on household wealth for huge portions of the U.S. population.
But something has been absent in all this talk about how unstable housing in any form affects families.
"The attention raised by the mortgage crisis and the foreclosure crisis really missed a lot of central aspects of housing that are likely to be important for children," says Rebekah Levine Coley, a professor in the Lynch School of Education at Boston College.
Notably, it’s the quality of housing – the presence of peeling paint or cockroaches, broken appliances or damaged walls – that most strongly predicts a child’s well-being and development.”
Do you remember when a couple brought a box of shoes to donate and inside there was some blue slippers? Well there was a client who I was able to help through those slippers.
This person came to me complaining about his feet and I asked them what was wrong. They stated they had blisters and asked if I had a band-aid. I asked to look at his feet because I wanted to see how bad his feet were. They proceeded to undo their shoes and at this point I noticed they had no socks on and was wearing high leather work boots.
As the shoe came off I saw how bad their feet actually were and I knew I did not have the medical experience to help them. What I was able to do was get them some socks, and I grabbed the slippers that were just donated and brought it to them. I was assuming the slippers would be too big as they were wearing a size 7 shoe and the slippers were a 10. But when I brought them over, they fit perfect! The shoes they were wearing were 3X too small!
My next step was to get in contact with our new nurse Donna to see if she would have time to dress their feet at some point. This person has been with us for a few days and has been known to just hang around the dining area. So I knew if I was to find our nurse it wouldn’t be a problem to find them… I was wrong… the nurse came and this person was no where to be found! Turns out the socks and slippers helped out wonders and this person was walking around outside! We finally tracked them down and the nurse was able to dress his feet… by supper time I saw the first smile I have seen on this person… it totally made my day and week!
Woke up this morning to this story in my inbox from a co-worker and just had to share!
Robert Reich on The Daily Show, September 16, 2013.
Also sorry to be, well, me, but TANF has a work requirement, but there are so few jobs (at least in my state) that it is terribly difficult to meet the work requirement. We have moms picking up garbage in the hot southern sun to meet the work requirement while their kids are in substandard childcare (because the poor don’t deserve great childcare, right?!).
We have this idea that white middle class mothers should stay at home with their kids—it’s what is best for them, it is critical—and research seems to support that. But by golly, if a woman of color in my state can’t make ends meet and has to go on TANF to support her kids and raise them she better be out there in the hot sun picking up trash instead of getting job training or education (which doesn’t count as work requirements under TANF, even though in the long run it would be better for the family and give them more opportunities) while her kids are in shit daycare.
And they only have two years to get back on their feet! And then all of it is gone! TANF is done! TANF isn’t even that much. What do you do in areas where there is no industry, there are few minimum wage jobs, and education and job training are too expensive?
Extreme poverty among elderly women shot up between 2011 and 2012. What’s going on?
Read more. [Image: Christian Hartmann/Reuters]
While I hate the first sentence with a passion, this is a trend we see here in Saskatoon as well. Lack of affordable housing really squeezes people, especially seniors on fixed incomes.
Jamie Oliver’s new project is to teach us all how to eat like kings whatever our budget. But with 13 million Brits living below the poverty line, has he misunderstood the challenges his viewers are facing?
The problem with this series is not just the fact that ultimately it’s only ever likely to help those people who perhaps have a lower food budget than they used to, but are still quite well off, and doesn’t come close to its promise of offering royal banquets to people of all budgets. But more worrying than that is the fact that people who are not really struggling to buy food – people who make decisions, people who shape opinion, people who vote – will be reassured by Oliver’s confident assertion that it’s possible to eat very well with very little money. They may even be angered that people supposedly on the breadline are complaining when there is evidently such a wealth of recipes available to them. Either way, the conclusion will be that really there’s nothing to worry about.
“I’m not judgmental, but,” he began — a phrase which, like “I’m not a racist, but” or “I’m not homophobic, but” is a surefire indication that the clause to follow will prove the first clause false. This was certainly true in Oliver’s case; he went on to say: “I’ve spent a lot of time in poor communities, and I find it quite hard to talk about modern-day poverty. You might remember that scene in [Oliver’s previous TV series] Ministry of Food, with the mum and the kid eating chips and cheese out of Styrofoam containers, and behind them is a massive f**king TV. It just didn’t weigh up” … I just want to hug them and teleport them to the Sicilian street cleaner who has 25 mussels, 10 cherry tomatoes, and a packet of spaghetti for 60 pence, and knocks out the most amazing pasta. You go to Italy or Spain and they eat well on not much money. We’ve missed out on that in Britain, somehow.”
Perhaps the best rebuttal to Oliver’s contemptuous generalization came from the Guardian’s Alex Andreou, who writes that he has lived “in affluent and destitute circumstances — and every shade between the two,” and blasts Oliver’s poverty tourism. Andreou’s explanation of the psychology of poverty is illuminating:
“What I had not understood before I found myself in true poverty, and what Oliver probably does not, is that it means living in a world of ‘no.’ Ninety-nine per cent of what you need is answered ‘no.’ Ninety-nine per cent of what your kids ask for is answered ‘no.’ Ninety-nine per cent of life is answered ‘no.’ Cinema? No. Night out? No. New shoes? No. Birthday? No. So, if the only indulgence that is viable, that is within budget, that will not mean you have to walk to work, is a Styrofoam container of cheesy chips, the answer is a thunderous ‘YES.’ ”
The world’s tallest slum: For the first time, cameras go inside seething Caracas’ notorious Tower of David. VIDEO —> http://voc.tv/19zTFSB
"Welcome to the world’s tallest slum: poverty-ridden Venezuela’s Tower of David. Squatters took over this very unfinished 45-story skyscraper in the early 1990s, and they’ve been there ever since. The tower was originally intended to be a symbol of Caracas’ bright financial future, complete with a rooftop helipad, but construction stopped because of a banking crisis and the sudden death of the tower’s namesake, David Brillembourg."
Find out more at Vocativ
A visual journey examining how the homeless use technology in their daily lives to look for work, pass time, and pursue their interests.
I’m seeing more and more people staying in the emergency shelter who not only have smart phones but laptops or tablets as well. They are treasured possessions. These devices help people find jobs and resources and connect with family and friends. Poverty can be isolating and boring and technology can give people who have limited mobility or trouble socializing access to the outside world.