Category: Poverty / Homeless / Hunger


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NBC NEWS

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Utah’s Strategy for the Homeless: Give Them Homes

Utah’s Chronic Homeless Rate Drops 91% When It Gives the Needy Housing2:30

By the end of 2015, the chronically homeless population of Utah may be virtually gone. And the secret is quite simple:

Give homes to the homeless.

“We call it housing first, employment second,” said Lloyd Pendleton, director of Utah’s Homeless Task Force.

Even Pendleton used to think trying to eradicate homelessness using such an approach was a foolish idea.

“I said: ‘You guys must be smoking something. This is totally unrealistic,'” Pendleton said.

But the results are hard to dispute.

In 2005, Utah was home to 1,932 chronically homeless. By April 2015, there were only 178 — a 91 percent drop statewide.

“It’s a philosophical shift in how we go about it,” Pendleton said. “You put them in housing first … and then help them begin to deal with the issues that caused them to be homeless.”

Chronically homeless persons — those living on the streets for more than a year, or for four times in three years, and have a debilitating condition — make up 10 percent of Utah’s homeless population but take up more than 50 percent of the state’s resources for the homeless.

 

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American Hunger-Related Healthcare Costs Exceeded $160 Billion in 2014, According to New Study

Food insecurity, especially for children, remains near record high despite the Great Recession’s official end.

BY Elizabeth Grossman

Currently about 50 million Americans meet the USDA criteria for food insecurity. About 15 million of them are children.

While the official end of the Great Recession is a full five years behind us, there are now nearly 12 million more Americans who lack enough resources to access adequate food than there were in 2007, a number that has only improved slightly since United States food insecurity peaked at over 21 percent in 2009. These statistics alone are disturbing. But as detailed in a new study released today as part of Bread for the World Institute’s 2016 Hunger Report, absence of food security in the U.S. carries enormous healthcare costs, more than $160 billion in 2014.

Using data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Census Bureau and research on food security published in peer-reviewed academic journals between 2005 and 2015, a team of researchers led by Boston University School of Medicine associate professor of pediatrics John Cook, estimated these health care costs by looking at the costs of treating diseases and health conditions associated with household food insecurity plus earnings lost when people took time off work because of these illnesses or to care for family members with illnesses related to food insecurity.

As Cook, who is also research scientist and principal investigator with Children’s Health Watch, explained to In These Times, lack of access to adequate food does not necessarily directly cause a particular illness but “plays a role in that disease occurring.” Years of research consistently shows food insecurity increases the risk for a range of health problems. These risks are particularly great for children but poor and inadequate nutrition also increases risk for adult health problems, including obesity and chronic diseases, among them diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. It also exacerbates illness duration and severity–in some cases simply because people lack money for medication–and therefore treatment costs.

Putting this in a broader economic context, Bread for the World Institute points out that the U.S. “spends more per capita on health care than any other high-income country but compares poorly with these others on key population health indicators such as life expectancy and child survival. This is due,” report authors, “in part to our tolerance as a nation, for higher levels of poverty and hunger.”

Currently about 50 million Americans meet the USDA criteria for food insecurity. About 15 million of them are children. In 2014, 19.2 percent of U.S. households with children were food insecure–about a third higher than households without. The Boston University research team found if the costs of special education for children whose learning abilities are adversely affected by food insecurity are factored in along with related education impacts for high-schoolers, the $160 billion rose by an additional  nearly $18 billion. This brings a total estimate of direct and indirect health care costs of U.S. food insecurity in 2014 to $178.93 billion.

 

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The Independent

Malnutrition and ‘Victorian’ diseases soaring in England ‘due to food poverty and cuts’

Cases of malnutrition and other “Victorian” diseases are soaring in England, in what campaigners said was a result of cuts to social services and rising food poverty.

NHS statistics show that 7,366 people were admitted to hospital with a primary or secondary diagnosis of malnutrition between August 2014 and July this year, compared with 4,883 cases in the same period from 2010 to 2011 – a rise of more than 50 per cent in just four years.

Cases of other diseases rife in the Victorian era including scurvy, scarlet fever, cholera and whooping cough have also increased since 2010, although cases of TB, measles, typhoid and rickets have fallen.

Chris Mould, chairman of the Trussell Trust, which runs a nationwide network of foodbanks, said they saw “tens of thousands of people who have been going hungry, missing meals and cutting back on the quality of the food they buy”.

 

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The Independent

Malnutrition cases in English hospitals almost double in five years

Admissions to hospitals have soared as poorer families struggle to afford food

 

The shocking impact of recession and austerity on England’s poorest people has come to light again in figures showing the number of malnutrition cases treated at NHS hospitals has nearly doubled since the economic downturn.

Primary and secondary diagnoses of malnutrition – caused by lack of food or very poor diet – rose from 3,161 in 2008/09 to 5,499 last year, according to figures released by the health minister Norman Lamb.

While the data does not include information on the circumstances of each diagnosis, the rise coincides with a dramatic increase in the cost of living, and a spike in demand for charity food hand-outs.

The figures, broken down by region, reveal the heaviest burden of hunger is being felt in rural areas. Hospitals in Somerset saw the most cases, with 215 diagnoses, followed by Cornwall and Scilly Isles.

 

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End Of The American Dream

The American Dream Is Becoming A Nightmare And Life As We Know It Is About To Change

The Middle Class - Public DomainWe just got more evidence that the middle class in America is dying.  According to brand new numbers that were just released by the Social Security Administration, 51 percent of all workers in the United States make less than $30,000 a year.  Let that number sink in for a moment.  You can’t support a middle class family in America today on just $2,500 a month – especially after taxes are taken out.  And yet more than half of all workers in this country make less than that each month.  In order to have a thriving middle class, you have got to have an economy that produces lots of middle class jobs, and that simply is not happening in America today.

You can find the report that the Social Security Administration just released right here.  The following are some of the numbers that really stood out for me…

-38 percent of all American workers made less than $20,000 last year.

-51 percent of all American workers made less than $30,000 last year.

-62 percent of all American workers made less than $40,000 last year.

-71 percent of all American workers made less than $50,000 last year.

That first number is truly staggering.  The federal poverty level for a family of five is $28,410, and yet almost 40 percent of all American workers do not even bring in $20,000 a year.

If you worked a full-time job at $10 an hour all year long with two weeks off, you would make approximately $20,000.  This should tell you something about the quality of the jobs that our economy is producing at this point.

And of course the numbers above are only for those that are actually working.  As I discussed just recently, there are 7.9 million working age Americans that are “officially unemployed” right now and another 94.7 million working age Americans that are considered to be “not in the labor force”.  When you add those two numbers together, you get a grand total of 102.6 million working age Americans that do not have a job right now.

So many people that I know are barely scraping by right now.  Many families have to fight tooth and nail just to make it from month to month, and there are lots of Americans that find themselves sinking deeper and deeper into debt.

If you can believe it, about a quarter of the country actually has a negative net worth right now.

What that means is that if you have no debt and you also have ten dollars in your pocket that gives you a greater net worth than about 25 percent of the entire country.  The following comes from a recent piece by Simon Black

 

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  Rent Is Too Damn High Party car
Wikipedia.org
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We just learned America’s rental affordability crisis is as bad as it’s ever been. Unfortunately, it’s about to get a whole lot worse.

The American Community Survey for 2014, released a few weeks ago, found that the number of renters paying 30 percent or more of their income on housing – the standard benchmark for what’s considered affordable – reached a new record high of 20.7 million households, up nearly a half-million from the year before. Despite the improving economy, the increase was nearly five times bigger than last year’s gain.

That means about half of all renters live in housing considered unaffordable. And the latest increase comes on top of substantial growth since 2000 that has seen this number climb by roughly six million households over the period, an increase of about 41 percent.

Related: More Americans Struggling to Pay the Rent

 

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Daily Caller News Foundation

Silent But Expensive: An Anti-Poverty Program’s Mysterious Achievements

Ethan Barton

An obscure Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program grants millions of dollars every year to only three eligible organizations, but a government official won’t say how the money actually combats poverty.

More than $429 million has been granted through Section 4 of the HUD Demonstration Act of 1993 to help local organizations – called community development corporations – combat poverty through “capacity building” – a vague phrase that essentially means building their size and expertise, according to a HUD document.

“Capacity building develops core skills that strengthen the ability of local community based organizations to implement HUD programs, raise capital for community development and affordable housing, coordinate on cross-programmatic place-based approaches and facilitate knowledge sharing,” the agency’s 2015 request for funding says.

The funds pass through one of three eligible groups, known as intermediaries, which then either redistribute Section 4 funds to local groups or provides them with direct assistance through trained staff. Those three groups defined by law are Enterprise Community Partners, Habitat for Humanity International and Local Initiatives Support Corporation.

According to HUD’s 2015 funding request, $20 million will “result in: approximately 5,000 housing units newly constructed renovated, or preserved; 600 training opportunities; and an estimate of more than $200 million in total development costs channeled to low-income communities in more than 250 communities nationwide.”

But HUD officials won’t say how indirectly backing local groups after funds pass through an intermediary will achieve those claims, and the intermediaries can still receive grant dollars without providing evidence of successful urban renewal.

 

 

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Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines

 

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‘A Pipeline Straight to Jail’

Posted on Oct 11, 2015

By Chris Hedges

Boris Franklin in a classroom at Rutgers. When he was in prison, he was a student under the New Jersey Scholarship and Transformative Education in Prisons Consortium (NJ-STEP), and he is now attending Rutgers under the university’s Mountainview Program. (Michael Nigro)

The defeat of the Harvard University debate team by a team from the Eastern New York Correctional Facility in the Catskills elucidates a truth known intimately by those of us who teach in prisons: that the failure of the American educational system to offer opportunities to the poor and the government’s abandonment of families and children living in blighted communities condemn millions of boys and girls, often of color, to a life of suffering, misery and early death. The income inequality, the trillions of dollars we divert to the war industry, the flight of manufacturing jobs overseas and the refusal to invest in our infrastructure wrecks life after innocent life.

I spent four years as a graduate student at Harvard University. Privilege, and especially white privilege, I discovered, is the primary prerequisite for attending an Ivy League university. I have also spent several years teaching in prisons. In class after class in prison, there is a core of students who could excel at Harvard. This is not hyperbolic, as the defeat of the Harvard debate team illustrates. But poverty condemned my students before they ever entered school. And as poverty expands, inflicting on communities and families a host of maladies including crime, addiction, rage, despair and hopelessness, the few remaining institutions that might intervene to lift the poor up are gutted or closed. Even when students in inner-city schools are not the targets of racial insults, racism worms into their lives because the institutions that should help them are nonexistent or deeply dysfunctional.

I stood outside a prison gate in Newark, N.J., at 7 a.m. last April 24. I waited for the release of one of my students, Boris Franklin, who had spent 11 years incarcerated. I had ridden to the gate with his mother, who spent her time reading Bible verses out loud in the car, and his sister. We watched him walk down the road toward us. He was wearing the baggy gray sweatpants, oversize white T-shirt and white Reeboks that prisoners purchase before their release. Franklin had laid out $50 for his new clothes. A prisoner in New Jersey earns $28 a month working in prison.

 

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 Iraqi refugees in Syria Wikipedia.org
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 POLITICO

October 07, 2015

Last week I arrived back home to Iraqi Kurdistan, exhausted but proud of a small but real triumph over the Islamic State. Three women and two toddlers came back with me—five human beings just rescued from enslavement by ISIL. For over a year, they were abused, raped and traded fighter to fighter because of one reason: our Yazid religion. I am determined to save every last one of the more than 2,000 Yazidi women and girls still waiting to be freed.

They thought they were abandoned. Their ISIL captors told them that no one wanted them, in their shame and defilement, and that no one was looking for them. But I insist on reaching out to them through pleas on Arabic radio and TV. I give them my phone number, and tell them that we love them and we want them back. Some brave women hear these messages and contact us, and a rescue mission commences. I answer the phone every time, determined to do all that I can, but it is little, and it is not enough. I know there will always be another call, another Yazidi who is terrified and broken and in need of hope, as the world looks the other way.

One of the women, clutching her 2-year-old child, was so distraught. The child kept asking for her 7-year-old sister, who had been taken away from her mother and enrolled in a religious institution where she would be forced to convert to Islam. Her mother had had no choice but to escape without her, and she told me she feared the girl would be raped at the hands of the militants. We have evidence of the militants raping our girls as young as age 8.

For that brief time in August 2014, the United States launched airstrikes to halt the advance of ISIL after its troops took over a third of Iraq, saving the Yazidi people from total massacre by ISIL troops. But since then, we’ve been abandoned and forgotten by Washington and the rest of the international community. For every story of a girl who has been rescued, there’s another one about a girl who is still in captivity, where she is starved, raped, beaten and sold—often to “fellow” Iraqis. And 500,000 Yazidis, a full 90 percent of the indigenous Yazidi population, are in displaced persons’ camps, living in abject misery and isolation with less than minimal sustenance. We languish in these camps, live without income, and without food, medicine or even shelter durable enough to keep the rain out. As long as ISIL remains intent on wiping my people off the map; and as long as the Iraqi and Kurdish Regional governments continue to see Yazidis as less than second-class citizens, unworthy of significant aid and attention, these horrors will continue.

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© Zoran Milich
Responding to a New York Post report stating that more than 300 New York City municipal employees didn’t earn enough to be able to afford a place to live, the mayor has offered to find them permanent housing.

During a press conference on Monday, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio admitted there were people working for the city that were homeless, though he disputed the number initially reported.

What we’re facing now, this is becoming more and more of an economic problem. Meaning people have been displaced from their homes by the high cost of housing, even if they’re working,” de Blasio said at City Hall.

We’re going to make sure in every case, particularly with working folks, that we look for every opportunity to get them to permanent housing.

The mayor questioned whether the number of homeless city employees was over 300, with his spokeswoman Ishanee Parikh saying records showed that only 83 shelter residents have identified themselves as city employees.

View image on Twitter

De Blasio vows to put a roof over homeless city workers’ heads http://nyp.st/1NIMFoP 

Municipal union leaders told the Post, however, that the actual number is over 300, but many don’t report their employment status to shelters out of shame.

“There’s a social taboo that they believe comes with being homeless,” Joseph Puleo, president of Local 983 of District Council 37, the city’s largest blue-collar municipal-workers union, told the Post.

 

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 Published time: 25 Sep, 2015 12:20
© Seven LE DUC
The French animal rights group, Cause Animal Nord, has come under fire after a video emerged of the activists taking away a puppy from a crying homeless man in central Paris.

The video shows the man fighting for his dog, but eventually losing out as three members of the group, including the organization’s president, seized the puppy and ran away. The homeless man was left in tears.

The cruel act has been condemned by the media and internet users. A number took to social networks to express their disgust, while others left highly critical messages on the organization’s Facebook page.

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3 French animal rights activists steal puppy from homeless man, and put it up for adoption under the name “Vegan”:h…

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