Poverty

What kind of year will 2018 be?

Our blog covers global health and development, so we're not going to make any predictions about North Korea or Middle East peace or who will design Meghan Markle's dress.

What we do have to offer: prognostications about a variety of issues, including the fight to wipe out polio, the dark side of drones and the #MeToo movement.

Wild polio will be finished by June, but cases caused by vaccine won't

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

The winter solstice, Dec. 21, is marked every year as Homeless Persons' Memorial Day. It's the longest night of the year.

Every year Key West holds a ceremony remembering those who died during the year. This year 71 names were read.

They ranged in age from infants to 95.

But only nine of them were homeless. The rest were people still listed on the county forms as "paupers" - those whose remains went unclaimed. So the county takes responsibility for cremation and their remains are placed in the crypt owned by the Florida Keys Outreach Coalition.

C.M. Guerrero / Miami Herald

Equity is a growing focus in South Florida, as communities try to address problems like high housing costs and a car-centered transportation system that excludes some public transit users.

A new organization is hoping to spur even more conversations about how to resolve some of those problems.

It’s called the Miami Urban Future Initiative and its goal is to bring together researchers, business leaders, officials and activists on critical equity issues that accompany South Florida's ongoing growth. 

The growing number of fatherless children in this country poses one of the the most serious problems in education today, according to best-selling author Alan Blankstein.

He has spent most of his life advocating for kids who struggle in school. He wrote Failure is Not an Option, a guide to creating high-performing schools for all students.

When it comes to poor Americans, the Trump administration has a message: Government aid is holding many of them back. Without it, many more of them would be working.

Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney said as much when presenting the administration's budget plan this week to cut safety net programs by hundreds of billions of dollars over the next 10 years. The administration also wants to tighten work requirements for those getting aid, such as food stamps, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

One in eight Americans — 42 million people — still struggles to get enough to eat. And while that number has been going down recently, hunger appears to be getting worse in some economically distressed areas, especially in rural communities.

Food banks that serve these areas are also feeling the squeeze, as surplus food supplies dwindle but the lines of people seeking help remain long.

Creative Commons

Most people in Florida who get food stamps are required to work in order to keep them.

A bill (HB 23) that’s slated to be heard by the full state House of Representatives would increase the penalties if people fail to meet those requirements. A now-competing bill in the state Senate would strike these penalties.

Advocates for the poor say the budget plan the Trump administration rolled out on Thursday would be a kick in the shins for low-income Americans.

Sheryl Braxton, who relies on public housing, explained at a hearing in New York City this week that her community needs reinvestment, not less funding.

For several years, Oxfam International has released an annual report on global wealth inequity. The numbers were startling: In the 2016 report, Oxfam said the world's richest 62 people owned as much wealth as the poorest 3.6 billion.

Diario El Mundo/flickr

 

Florida is among the worst states for women living in poverty. A report out this month by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) and the Florida Women’s Funding Alliance finds 41.5 percent of single women with children are in poverty in our state.

 

Institute for Women's Policy Research

Rural north Florida counties and parts of south Florida are home to the highest rates of women living in poverty according to a new report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

The group found that more than twenty-five percent of women live in poverty in Gilchrist, DeSoto, Hamilton, Alachua, and Hardee counties and that the rate is also high for women in Miami-Dade county.

In the quest to help the poor, it's difficult to know whose needs are the greatest. Without clear data, it's tough to know who to help first.

The traditional way to look for the poorest of the poor is with household surveys. That's the primary source of data for policy decisions, but it has drawbacks.

Twenty years ago, welfare as Americans knew it ended.

President Bill Clinton signed a welfare overhaul bill that limited benefits and encouraged poor people to find jobs.

"We're going to make it all new again, and see if we can't create a system of incentives which reinforce work and family and independence," Clinton said at a White House bill signing ceremony.

The goals were admirable: help poor families get into the workforce so they'd no longer need government aid. They'd get job training and support, such as help with child care.

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User: Tax Credits (https://flic.kr/p/chEwR9)

How much can Florida’s minimum wage actually buy? Well, not a whole lot, apparently. And making that wage will not carry a person out of poverty, according to new study from the National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University.

The study modeled what families have to pay for when parents work—child care, transportation, taxes—and compared those expenses to increases in earnings as parents work more hours.

According to a new report, children's health in Florida has improved overall, but is still lagging behind when compared to other states.

According the latest Kids Count report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Florida has slipped three places in overall child well-being, to 40th place from 37th last year.

  

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