poverty | KUOW News and Information

poverty

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.

The wealth gap in America manifests itself not just in our pocketbooks but also in our bellies: The poor are eating less nutritious food than everyone else.

So concludes a new review of 25 studies published between 2003 and 2014 that looked at the food spending and quality of diets of participants in SNAP, the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps.

There's a lot of evidence that the meals school cafeterias are serving have gotten healthier since new federal nutrition standards were rolled out.

Lovincer from Uganda works managing her fresh banana business to support her family.
Facebook Photo/Kiva

Jessica Jackley was a liberal arts major who stumbled her way into the Stanford MBA program.

Philosophy and business came together for her in 2005 when she helped start Kiva, the world’s first person- to-person microlending website. Kiva facilitates lending to poor and underserved entrepreneurs and students in 83 countries.

KUOW Photo/Paul Kiefer

RadioActive’s Julia Furukawa and Paul Kiefer delve into the often overlooked reality of hunger in contemporary America. Through a brief history lesson, a talk with University of Washington School of Public Health professor Donna Johnson and a small experiment, these journalists build a basic understanding of the origins and issues of modern food insecurity. 

RadioActive is KUOW's program for youth age 16-20ish. Listen to RadioActive stories, subscribe to the RadioActive podcast and stay in touch on Facebook and Twitter.

In 2000 the world's leaders agreed on an ambitious plan to drastically reduce global poverty by 2015. Called the Millennium Development Goals, the targets spurred an unprecedented aid effort that brought lifesaving medicines and vaccines to millions of people and helped slash the share of people in the developing world who live in extreme poverty from 47 percent in 1990 to 14 percent today.

In April this year, on Earth Day, Pope Francis urged everyone to see the world through the eyes of God, as a garden to cultivate.

"May the way people treat the Earth not be guided by greed, manipulation, and exploitation, but rather may it preserve the divine harmony between creatures and creation, also in the service of future generations," he said.

Ross Reynolds speaks with Charlie Bresler, the former president of the clothing chain Men’s Wearhouse who became executive director of Bainbridge Island-based charity The Life You Can Save. The nonprofit was founded by ethicist Peter Singer to encourage effective philanthropy to end poverty in developing nations. 

File photo of homeless person in Seattle.
Flickr Photo/~C4Chaos (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Alice Shobe about rapid re-housing and how the strategy fits into ending homelessness in Seattle and King County. Shobe is executive director of the Seattle nonprofit Building Changes.

A homeless camp beneath an Interstate 5 off-ramp in Seattle's SODO district.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Bill Radke talks with Seattle City Councilmember Mike O'Brien about a proposal to expand and regulate homeless encampments in Seattle.

Jeannie Yandel talks with Marty Hartman about the challenges faced by homeless students in Washington state. Hartman is executive director of Mary's Place, a Seattle nonprofit that provides shelter and resources for homeless women and children.

Ross Reynolds talks with Stephen Norman, executive director of King County Housing Authority, about the affordable housing crisis in King County.

Jairo Gomez is 17 years old and lives in a tiny apartment in New York City with eight other family members. He has grown up in poverty, like one-third of all kids in the city. With WNYC's program Radio Rookies, Gomez tells the story of how poverty has held him back, and how he's trying to overcome it.

There are nine of us in my family, and we live in a one-bedroom apartment. I share a bunk bed with my sister Judy.

What if, the next time you went to the doctor, instead of a prescription for blood thinners you got one for cash? What if you walked out the door with $1,000 in your pocket instead of paying a copay?

Marcie Sillman talks to New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, author of the new book "A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity," about the power of giving back.

Jeannie Yandel talks with James Morone, an urban studies and political science professor at Brown University, about the growing pains of young cities. 

We also hear from Pat Gray of Kent Hope and Kent resident Gregg Haffner about the plans for a 24-hour homeless shelter in the city. 

KUOW/John Ryan photo

A homeless camp has popped up on a busy sidewalk in Seattle’s University District. Members of the small tent community say 20 people live here.

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