poverty | KUOW News and Information

poverty

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.

KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Just off Aurora Avenue in North Seattle is a rather gray looking apartment building owned by Seattle Housing Authority.

Single mother Rebecca Snow Landa lives there with her two kids. She shows me around. "So this is our piano that we’re very proud of, and I’m teaching my kids to play."

In the first month of legal, recreational marijuana sales in Washington, two welfare clients withdrew cash at pot stores using their electronic benefits transfer cards in violation of state law.

Ross Reynolds talks with Andrew Lofton, Seattle Housing Authority executive director, about a new proposal that would change how tenants are charged for rent. Also, Marcie Sillman gets reaction to the proposal from Jonathan Grant, executive director of the Tenants Union of Washington State.

The Tangled Web Of Payday Lenders On Tribal Lands

Jul 30, 2014

David Hyde talks with financial consultant Shawn Spruce, a member of the Pueblo tribe in New Mexico, about the intersection of payday lenders and Native American tribes.

Payday lenders are increasingly situating themselves on tribal lands across the country to skirt state laws, ensnaring Washington residents. Many tribes are working to save their members from unscrupulous loans.

Flickr Photo/Blake Burkhart (Cc-BY-NC-ND)/http://bit.ly/1WmamK7

Ross Reynolds talks with Bruce Stedman, Arlington's acting police chief, and Doug Honig, ACLU of Washington's communications director, about the city's strict new approach to panhandling.

How Trauma Affects The Brain Of A Learner

Jun 15, 2014

Our public media colleagues over at KPCC, Southern California Public Radio, have a fascinating two-part report on the efforts of schools in the Los Angeles area to address the effects of "toxic stress" on student learning.

There are 46 million poor people in the U.S., and millions more hover right above the poverty line — but go into many of their homes, and you might find a flat-screen TV, a computer or the latest sneakers.

And that raises a question: What does it mean to be poor in America today?

Much has been said and written about the Dust Bowl, but if you want to get a visceral feel for how it all began and the way it affected the people who experienced it, you need go no further than the opening pages of John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath:

In Olympia, Washington policymakers are pondering whether to make an end run around looming cutbacks in the federally-funded food stamp program.

When Congress passed a farm bill earlier this year, it expected to save $8.6 billion over 10 years by tightening what many say is a loophole in the food stamp, or SNAP, program. But it's not going to happen.

You see, Congress left states an opening to avoid the cuts. And so far, nearly half of the states participating have decided to take that option — a move that could erase the promised savings.

There are more than 4 million American families living under the poverty line today that are led by a single mother. Katrina Gilbert is one of those moms.

Gilbert is a certified nursing assistant in Tennessee. To support her three children, she sometimes works seven days a week at a nursing home. But at $10 an hour, her paycheck doesn't go very far.

From Highline Public Schools' Facebook page

When you were a kid, your mom probably insisted you eat breakfast before school.

Studies show she was right; students who eat breakfast do better academically. Still, many kids go without – especially those living in poverty.

For many Americans it's been a harsh, disruptive winter, from the country's Northern edges to the Deep South.

When cold snaps and blizzards shutter schools, kids miss more than their daily lessons. Some miss out on the day's nutritious meal as well.

This recently became apparent to school administrators in rural Iowa, where extreme cold delayed openings two days in a row at Laurens-Marathon Community School, where 59 percent of students who eat school lunch qualify for free or reduced-price meals.

Somewhere between a food pantry and a traditional grocery store lies an opportunity to help feed those in need.

Enter "social supermarkets," a European model that offers discounted food exclusively to those in poverty. The stores have grown in popularity across the continent, and this week, the U.K. opened its first. Dubbed Community Shop, the store is located in an impoverished former mining town in South Yorkshire.

The number of families on cash assistance in Washington has hit an all-time low. This follows a spike in welfare enrollment less than three years ago.

As we reported earlier this year, there are some big problems with the way poverty is measured in this country.

Howard G. Buffet's book "40 Chances."

Ross Reynolds talks with Howard G. Buffet, son of financier Warren Buffet, who has recently published a book titled "40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World," which is about his quest to help those who lack food security all over the world under a tough, self-imposed deadline: 40 years.

Reductions To SNAP Puts Pressure On Food Banks

Nov 1, 2013
Flickr Photo/USDAgov

Steve Scher talks with Jeannie Falls, executive director of Pike Market Senior Center and Food Bank, about how SNAP reductions will affect food bank operations.

KUOW Photo/Amy Radil

In Washington state, food stamp recipients are being notified that their benefits will be reduced in November. Federal stimulus funding has provided a boost to benefits since 2009, but that funding just expired.

Flickr Photo/Great Beyond

Before the government shutdown, the House of Representatives voted to cut $40 billion from the federal food stamp program. Senate Democrats and President Obama have said they will block the plan.

Even so, the debate over food stamp funding is worrisome for people who receive food assistance. It comes on the eve of scheduled cuts to SNAP beneficiaries that will go into affect in November, when the federal government's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act expires.

David Hyde talks with Kent resident Catherine Hernandez about how her family uses food stamps. Later in the hour, Ross Reynolds talks with John Camp, administrator for the Department of Social and Health Services' food assistance program about distributing food stamps in Washington.

Republicans and Democrats have been debating a bill that would cut $40 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program over the next 10 years. House Republicans argue that the food stamp program has grown too large and unmanageable.  Representative Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., has been an active advocate against the Republican-backed bill. She explains the implication of this bill.

Flickr Photo/Seattle Municipal Archives

The US Census Bureau released numbers this week looking at poverty rates and wages across the US in 2012. Our local numbers reflect what’s happening around the country: the number of people living in poverty has stagnated and wages have stayed about the same.

At first glance, this may seem like good news, or even non-news. But the census numbers reveal a larger picture of what’s happening in the wake of the recession: that people in low and middle income brackets aren’t really experiencing a recovery.

Jennifer Romich is the director of the West Coast Poverty Center and an associate professor at the UW School of Social Work. She told KUOW's Marcie Sillman the "statistically insignificant" numbers from the Census Bureau paint a concerning picture of many people that are unable to get ahead financially.

The College Kid

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.

Legal Voices Photo/Matt Hubbard

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.

Peter Blair Henry
Courtesy/NYU

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. 

Pages