Rico Saccoccio is a junior at Fordham University in the Bronx. He's from a middle-class family in Connecticut and he spent the summer living at home with his parents, who cover about $15,000 a year in his college costs.
According to the U.S. government, Saccoccio is living in poverty. The $8,000 he earns doing odd jobs puts him well below the $11,945 poverty threshold for an individual. In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau recently reported that more than half of all college students who are living off campus and not at home are poor.
Washington’s judicial system abolished court fees for poor people in 2010, but county courts sought ways around the rule. Now in a unanimous decision, the Washington State Supreme Court has reaffirmed that if someone qualifies as indigent, courts need to give them access for free.
A handful of third-world countries have turned themselves around from numerous hardships in the past 30 years: China rose from seemingly hopeless poverty, Mexico bounced back from the Third World Debt Crisis, Brazil overcame hyperinflation.
The King County Housing Authority has stopped issuing new Section 8 vouchers. The program is federally subsidized through the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The move is a result of the impending reduction in those funds due to sequestration.
Watch out for scammers. That’s Seattle Housing Authority’s warning to people who are going online this week to apply for the city’s Section 8 housing lottery. Agency officials caution that some misleading sites have been set up to trick people into submitting their personal information to the wrong place.
In the pre-dawn hours this Friday, hundreds of volunteers will fan out across King County to look for people sleeping in alleys, parks, shopping centers and city busses. The effort is part of the county’s annual One Night Count, which aims to get an annual head-count of people who are homeless.
On Sunday nights, you can find Graham Pruss under the Ballard Bridge, serving up a hot meal. A recent menu included ham and potato soup, locally baked bread and apple cobbler. He calls this weekly dinner a bridge to connect with people who live in their cars. They’re often referred to as car campers or mobile homeless, but Pruss prefers the term, vehicle residents.
Pruss is one of many homeless advocates who’s pushed Seattle to provide more services to this group of people. In response, last year the city launched the “safe parking” program, which opens up church lots where people can park and connect to housing services. The pilot program is modestly increasing this year, in a step toward what advocates hope will be a citywide expansion.
In 2012 the Washington state Legislature passed a law that sponsors called the “driving while poor” bill. The law aims to help people who end up with suspended licenses because they failed to pay traffic tickets.
As a kid, Tracie McMillan's favorite food was Hamburger Helper. Until she got to college, she considered people who ate "good food," snobs. She became interested in how food and class relate in America while reporting on poverty.
The United Kingdom already has a universal health care system. So you might expect that the health gap between rich and poor is smaller in England than it is the United States — but you’d be wrong!
Melissa Martinson is a professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Washington and she talks with Ross Reynolds about the differences in health between citizens of the United States and the United Kingdom.