Ideas. Cities. Social Innovation.

Interesting perspective:

Are the new Plans 2.0, projected to end chronic and veterans homelessness in the next handful of years, going to succeed? It depends on what our definition of “success” is.

Creating a plan to end homelessness is a roadmap on how to literally end this sad human American tragedy by showing this country that we have the capacity to actually accomplish it. Whether our leaders, both locally and nationally, have the political courage to fund and implement such a plan is another issue.

Have these plans successfully created a path toward ending homelessness in this country? A resounding yes.

Perhaps this decade-long initiative to end homelessness has taught us a lesson. Perhaps we should not be counting years. Ten years. Five years.

Instead, maybe we should be counting homes. Like the latest, most innovative national initiative, the 100,000 Homes Campaign, that is counting the number of chronic homeless neighbors who are being permanently housed.

The national study by Metropolis, an international network of researchers in immigration policy, found most newcomers reported spending more than 50 per cent of income on housing, with 15 per cent spending 75 per cent or more.

“Financial difficulties force many newcomers to share accommodations that are often poor quality, overcrowded and unsafe,” says the report.

In denying New York’s request, the Agriculture Department also raised one objection that helped kill the bill in Florida: Food stamp users might feel stigmatized if they couldn’t buy the same products as everyone else.

This is a flimsy argument. Almost all food stamp beneficiaries today make purchases with a card that looks much like a debit or credit card, not a booklet of stamps. It’s not obvious to others standing in the checkout line which products are bought with food stamps and which are paid for with the customer’s own money. Once everything is rung up on the register, the customer simply pays the balance due on the exempt items. And if other shoppers can tell what products are purchased with food stamps, won’t it be a relief to them to see that their tax dollars aren’t going for junk?

In the summer of 2009 Tiny and some collaborators created a weekend-long program for people with money, education, or other resources who wanted to help create a world without poverty. I was among them. 
 
Instead of just writing checks or volunteering whatever help we deemed they needed most, we were schooled by POOR’s members. The welfareQUEENS performed poems about raising kids with no health insurance and living with the constant threat of separation. Members of POOR ran us through crushing exercises that mimicked the experience of dealing with social-service bureaucracies, shouting at us to cram our life stories into forms. They also told inspiring stories about communities that take care of each other. Tiny, as usual, was both warm and painfully honest, calling out our role in gentrification while addressing each of us as “hon.”
 
At the end of the weekend, a few of us formed POOR’s Solidarity Family. We talk to each other, and others in the POOR family, about things that are both practical and emotional, like how our families relate to money and how to share resources and build real relationships despite class differences. We’re one part of a multifaceted funding strategy: Instead of relying on government and foundation grants with all sorts of strings attached, POOR is supported primarily by individual donations from people who are part of its extended family.

Some good signs, and some concerning trends as well. It would help to see some of the numbers that are no longer published regularly.

A study released this month sheds some light on longer-term trends. The paper, by Brian Murphy, Xuelin Zhang and Claude Dionne of Statistics Canada’s income statistics division, examines 34 years of low-income levels in Canada. It looks at what different measures of poverty show, and how trends changed between 1976 and 2009.

It comes as public debate over income inequality is heating up, in Canada and around the world, as evidence points to a growing polarization between the rich and the poor.

But a slightly different question indicates views have changed: 29 percent said it was extremely important for the government to increase equality of opportunity. More significant, 41 percent said that there was not much opportunity in America, up from 17 percent in 1998.

Americans have been less willing to take from the rich and give to the poor in part because of a belief that each of us has a decent shot at prosperity. In 1952, 87 percent of Americans thought there was plenty of opportunity for progress; only 8 percent disagreed. As income inequality has grown, though, many have changed their minds.

This is important, and will have significant ramifications if it grows:

Could the rising tide of suburban poverty threaten the core assumptions of suburban life? Many suburbanites will no longer be able to insulate themselves from problems they used to associate with the inner city: poverty, social disorder, drugs and violence. What will this mean for the new suburban poor, for suburban municipalities and for the United States?

At the most basic level, poor people living in suburbs face challenges gaining access to services they need, because the municipalities they live in are unaccustomed or even hostile to providing them, or are simply unable to do so. Suburbs, with their thin safety nets, are not well equipped to handle the rising demands for help. Local food pantries in suburbs across the nation are stretched beyond capacity to meet the needs of the new poor. The Parma Heights Food Pantry in Ohio served thirty-six families in 2007 and now must meet the needs of 260 families. In El Paso, Colo., county workers have taken to working nights and Saturdays to meet exploding demands for aid.

The suburban poor also face the geographic challenges of decentralized living. Car ownership is a costly, brittle lifeline in suburbs with weak public transport networks. Budget cuts often target public transportation first, hindering access to jobs, as well as services. Suburban poverty also throws into bold relief the environmental burden of the suburbs; poor people are faced with the challenge of heating and lighting spacious but energy-inefficient single-family homes.

Stunning chart. Good work by the NLIHC.
thedisgruntledgradstudent:

afterromulus:

librariansoul:

icaruscalling:

Okay, I found the source for this map. It’s from here. That’s it in PDF,
This is the page about the 2012 report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, and here is the full report in PDF (in just under 250 pages).
Some 2011 information.

This makes me feel ill.

Well doesn’t this just explain everything

AND… that just ruined my dinner.

Stunning chart. Good work by the NLIHC.

thedisgruntledgradstudent:

afterromulus:

librariansoul:

icaruscalling:

Okay, I found the source for this map. It’s from here. That’s it in PDF,

This is the page about the 2012 report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, and here is the full report in PDF (in just under 250 pages).

Some 2011 information.

This makes me feel ill.

Well doesn’t this just explain everything

AND… that just ruined my dinner.

History shows us that poor people’s silence will be met with government inaction. As American academics Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward put it in their classic book Regulating the Poor, “A placid poor get nothing, but a turbulent poor sometimes get something.” The Drummond report tells poor people they must wait. Now it is up to the poor to reply: “We will not.”

Food stamp rolls exploded during the downturn, which began in late 2007. Even after the recession came to its official end in June 2009, families continued to tap into food assistance as unemployment remained high and those lucky enough to find jobs were often met with lower wages.