The Poor Are Getting Poorer

Today, 83% of people living in poverty are either children, elderly, [disabled], students, [caretakers] or [the unemployed], according to The Washington Post. There are six million families with children living in poverty right here in the United States, [considered the] wealthiest nation in history, which means one in five families are living in poverty. For the U.S.A. to ensure no children grow up in poverty-stricken households, it would cost us $57 billion a year, or $578 [annually for families not living in poverty].

So are [we] all going to pitch in to make this happen? […]

[O]n Jan. 8, 1964, President Johnson declared “an unconditional war on poverty in America.” […] He pledged better schools, better health, better homes, better training and better job opportunities, [as well as] more libraries, public transportation and food relief for the poor. […] The Food Stamp Act was passed in 1964, and the Child Nutrition Act came in 1966. Both Medicare and Medicaid were launched in 1965. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) became a cabinet department in 1965, and the HUD Act of 1965 expanded funding for existing federal housing programs, added rent subsidies for the elderly and disabled, gave housing rehabilitation grants to poor homeowners, had provisions for veterans to make low down payments to obtain mortgages, and set money aside to have community centers constructed in low-income areas. […]

Our poverty level […] in 1964 was one in five families; [o]ur poverty level today [remains] one in five families. The Heritage Foundation reports that since 1964, U.S. taxpayers have spent over $22 trillion on antipoverty programs, [or] three times the cost of all U.S. military wars since the American Revolution. Are we just spinning our wheels?

Nationally, all of these numbers are very scary, [b]ut if you look at it locally, it is even worse. In my own state of Arizona, The Arizona Daily Star reported in April that Tucson’s poorest residents are about to get poorer. Five thousand residences were just notified that the state is taking them off the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and several hundred are losing their Temporary Assistance to Needy Families benefits. [T]he Tucson City Council is [also] voting on reducing funds sent to the Community Food Bank and the Primavera Foundation, which provides pathways out of poverty through safe and affordable housing. […] Primavera reports that over the last couple of years, with their current funding, they could only service 42% of the 3,600 families that needed shelter, and half of those had children. How many more families will now have to suffer because of the city council vote?

It is a given that [the] government is under pressure to curtail their spending, so ordinary citizens and nonprofit organizations need to step in to fill the void, as our poor are getting poorer. Luckily, there are several nonprofits[…] where we can turn […] with our donations and also volunteer to help. The Children’s Defense Fund is a strong and effective independent voice for all children. The Salvation Army […] feeds, clothes and comforts those in the most need. The Gospel Rescue Missions provide social services to help the less fortunate with 300 missions serving 50 million meals and providing 20 million nights of lodging. […]

The numbers of those in need in America are staggering. Our government has no more money to allocate to additional programs. It hurts all of us when our neighbors go hungry or can’t find a place to sleep. Our total society suffers when we deny children a good night’s sleep and a nourishing meal, because they are the future of America. This is not a political or religious issue; it is a moral issue that we all need to embrace.

Original article here:

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