Poverty News Round Up

Here are some of the most notable stories about poverty that were in the news this week.

1. The Boston Globe reports on the devastating impact the sequester is having on public housing.

“Thousands of the state’s poorest residents are losing or being denied federal housing subsidies as a result of automatic, across-the-board spending cuts, forcing many to choose between food, rent, medicine — or the streets.

The cuts are pummeling the Section 8 voucher program, which offers assistance to poor individuals and families renting apartments in the open market.”

2. Suburban poverty brings several new challenges for anti-poverty efforts, including transportation. From the Council of State Governments:

“Being away from the bustle of the city was always the point of suburban living but this creates a unique transportation barrier as the poor are now  farther away from their jobs and traditional programs which serve them.”

3. As more women join the workforce and become the primary breadwinners for their families, pressure is beginning to mount for improved child care services.

“Demographers say the change is all but irreversible and is likely to bring added attention to child-care policies as well as government safety nets for vulnerable families. Still, the general public is not at all sure that having more working mothers is a good thing.

While roughly 79 percent of Americans reject the notion that women should return to their traditional roles, only 21 percent of those polled said the trend of more mothers of young children working outside the home is a good thing for society, according to the Pew survey.”

4. With all the attention to tax expenditures in the wake of the new CBO report, it’s worth pointing out that the majority of charitable contributions don’t actually go towards the poor, in fact, only around 30 percent of charitable giving is targeted at alleviating poverty.

From Wonkblog:

wonkblog charitable donations

Mothers Fighting Poverty: Lupe Gonzalo, Immokalee, Florida

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Leading up to Mother’s Day, the NCC Poverty Initiative is sharing a series of stories lifting up, celebrating, and praying for mothers who are fighting poverty and alleviating suffering in their communities.

Prayer for Lupe: Dios, gracias for expressing your love through Lupe to farmworkers. Thank you for filling her heart with solidarity and love of her fellow workers. When times get tough, fill her with your grace and courage. Bless and strengthen her family and her work for Fair Food. In good times and bad, let her life overflow with the deepest joy that only You can give. Amen.

Recognized by: Interfaith Action of Southwest Florida

One of the farmworker leaders of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), Lupe is a powerful voice for dignified wages and working conditions in the fields of Florida. Originally from Guatemala, Lupe spent over a decade in Immokalee, FL harvesting vegetables, often under some of the harshest conditions.
Today, because of the tireless work of mothers and workers like Lupe, we are witnessing a transformation of human rights the US agricultural industry, as a twenty-year struggle gives birth to the  Fair Food Program, a unique partnership between workers, growers and corporate buyers. Just last month, the Fair Food Program was lifted up by the White House as “one of the most successful and innovative programs” in the fight to uncover — and prevent — modern day slavery.
These days, when not caring for her family, Lupe works full time educating other workers on their newly won rights, chief among them the right to work free of sexual harassment.
While the struggle continues with intransigent corporate buyers like Publix and Wendy’s, we give thanks for the remarkable leadership and strength of such mothers and luchadoras (fighters), knowing that so long as they’re leading, the historic shift underway in Florida will only continue to grow.

Mothers Fighting Poverty: Rhonda Case, Portland, Oregon

ImageLeading up to Mother’s Day, the NCC Poverty Initiative is sharing a series of stories lifting up, celebrating, and praying for mothers who are fighting poverty and alleviating suffering in their communities.
Prayer for Rhonda: God, thank you for expressing your love through Rhonda to women in Oregon who draw on her to discover their own resilience. Thank you for filling her heart with love of her neighbor. When times get tough, fill her with your grace and courage. Bless and strengthen her family and her work. In good times and bad, let her life overflow with the deepest joy that only You can give. Amen.
Recognized by: Karen Hessel, who says “Women in or near poverty takes on many dimensions. Those of who have had to deal with the expenses of the legal system, medical and other unprotected costs can plunge women and families into near poverty quickly regardless of education and skill levels. We are all vulnerable. Thank you for doing this project.
Rhonda Case was an educator for more than 27 years. After more than a decade of struggle with legal and safety issues of protecting her own child from serious harm, she felt “called” to act on her commitment to “bring the Spiritual Alliance to Stop Intimate Violence down to earth with a grassroots pilot project in Portland Oregon as a way of transforming our family’s sorrow and suffering into healing for others by working to affect urgently needed social change.”  A colleague in Oregon, whose organization won a Gloria Award in May 2012, and has now become a part of Portland” Communities Inspired to SAIV, wrote, ” You are one of those people whose entire life is a contribution to the cause!”
Rhonda Case deals with issues of child protection from abusive parents, spousal and intimate partner abuse, and all related issues both in terms of protective services and public policy and training in the faith community. Her volunteer leadership in 2012-13 led to the creation of a successful pilot project bringing together faith based and community groups for strategic prevention and healing as a goal; seeking to eradicate intimate violence by transforming the societal structures from which it arises. Rhonda has served as SAIV Liasion, building communities of mutual support for strategic collaboration through “Portland: Communities Inspired to SAIV”.   This new collaborative has formed mutual partnerships to protect the human rights of women children and other oppressed groups whose rights continue to be trampled by violence that is economic, social and personal. SAIV, Portland, offers a way of empowering those whose basic human rights have been violated through intentional connections of key community people engaged in preventing and stopping intimate violence.
Rhonda Case has become a key leader to stop intimate violence in collaboration with faith communities and related non-profits through her partnership with SAIV. She deserves affirmation for her bold leap of faith to risk all for the sake of her “call” to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with her God. We are grateful that she continues with energy, intelligence, imagination and love to reach out to those who can share in this work in ways that are effective and may possibly lead to actual employment in her new vocation (as the scarce personal resources she has garnered are tapped dry). Her resilient spirit inspire me to believe that this is indeed possible!    Happy Mother’s Day to Rhonda Case!
DVMothersDay