poverty

Emily Holt (left) and Kathleen Cromp staff the Welcome Desk at Meridian Center for Health. The clinic provides medical, dental, mental health and maternal support services under one roof.
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna

When it comes to providing care for people with mental illness, Washington ranks in the bottom five in the country.

The state has one of the highest percentages of adults with mental illness and one of the worst records for not getting them the treatment they need. One Seattle clinic wants to change that.

Steve Graham was No. 136 among people waiting Monday, February 22, 2016, for a chance to apply 110 low-income apartments.  'I'm keeping my fingers, toes and everything else crossed,' he said.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

Steve Graham got in line late. His number was 136.

But he was optimistic about the chance of a lifetime: a shot at brand new, low-income housing in an increasingly unaffordable city.

“Number 8! Numero ocho!” came the call Monday night at El Centro de la Raza, a nonprofit in Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood. Only 110 units are available.

Ann Dornfeld / KUOW

On a recent morning at George T. Daniel Elementary School in Kent, the school bell had already rung. In the driveway, one minivan after another pulled up, spilling tardy students onto the sidewalk.

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Stephen Lam/Reuters

While elite colleges tend to publicize their diversity, a new report finds that the admissions process at selective colleges actively works against high-performing, but low-income students.

“When I was schools chancellor, I thought if you were really poor and really smart, you could write your own ticket,” says Harold Levy, executive director of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation and former chancellor of New York City schools. “That turns out to be just wrong.”

Jeannie Yandel talks to Dona Ponepinto, president and CEO of United Way of Pierce County about a new study commissioned by United Way that found one in three Northwest households are living just above or below the poverty line. 

The first day back from winter break can be restless.

Many children are still coming down from the excitement of the holidays. Two unstructured weeks away from school — with strange food, rituals and relatives — can be overwhelming for many children, especially when it grinds to a halt after the new year and normality resumes.

But for students whose families are struggling in poverty, time away from school isn't an exciting blip on an otherwise calm school year. For them, it can be a crippling time of insecurity when it comes to food and shelter.

Sarah Jackson had quit abusing drugs and had been sober for six months when she found out she had hepatitis C.

"That was weeks of not sleeping and just constant tears," she says. "I had already put a lot of that behind me and had been moving forward with my life and this was just a major setback."

To get rid of the infection, her doctor prescribed Harvoni, one of the new generation of highly effective hepatitis C drugs. But Jackson never started the treatment because her insurance, Indiana's Medicaid, refused to pay for it.

Washington state has a plan to fully fund preschool for low-income children by 2020. The current state budget adds more slots. Even so, many thee and four-year-olds remain on a waitlist.

On a recent Saturday afternoon at his West Baltimore row house, Harrelle Felipa fields a steady stream of interruptions as he breads a large plate of fish and chicken for dinner.

His 4-year-old son wants to recite his letters. The 3-year-old brings him a toy that's broken. The tweens play Minecraft on the Xbox while Felipa's teen daughter checks her email. Felipa says he loves it.

"This is what my life consists of," he says. "I arrange my life around these guys."

It's not the typical image of a "deadbeat dad."

Poverty does not treat men and women equally, especially in old age. Women 65 years old and older who are living in poverty outnumber men in those circumstances by more than 2 to 1. And these women are likely to face the greatest deprivation as they become older and more frail.

This pretty much describes the situation of 87-year-old Lydia Smith.

Nearly 1.2 million public housing units would need to become "entirely smoke-free" under a new rule put forth Thursday by Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro.

The proposed rule would give more than 3,100 public housing agencies 18 months to ban cigarettes, cigars and pipes in all living units, indoor common areas and within 25 feet of buildings. The ban would also apply to administrative offices.

The World Is Not As Hungry As You Might Think

Oct 16, 2015

Back in 1798, English philosopher Thomas Malthus predicted that the world would eventually run out of food for its growing population.

"The power of population is so superior to the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man, that premature death must in some shape or other visit the human race," he wrote.

The Nobel Prize Committee has awarded the 2015 Nobel in Economic Sciences to Angus Deaton of Princeton University, "for his analysis of consumption, poverty, and welfare."

Deaton, 69, was born in 1945 in Edinburgh, Scotland. He holds both U.S. and British citizenship.

Fisherman in Coos Bay, Oregon where 21 percent of residents live below the poverty level.
Courtesy of MSNBC/Matt Black

Jeannie Yandel talks to photographer Matt Black about his photo series, "The Geography of Poverty," and about how poor Northwest communities compare to impoverished towns across America. Black's photos were published by MSNBC

Breaking bricks. That's what 50-year-old Mohammed Alfazuddin has done for about half of his life outside Dhaka, Bangladesh.

"We do it because we are poor and because we don't have any stones in Bangladesh, so we need to break up bricks to mix in with the concrete when we make buildings," he says.

For each brick he smashes, Alfazuddin makes the equivalent of about 3 cents. He's illiterate and lives with his family in a tin-shed home owned by his in-laws.

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