Poverty

NHPR Staff Photo

Summer is fast approaching, and for children from low-income families, that means an end to the free or reduced price lunches they get in school.

Wednesday, the state Department of Education and the USDA kicked off the annual Summer Meals Program.

Last year, the program fed more than 300,000 meals to children across the Granite State, and organizers expect that number to grow this summer.

Cheri White, administrator for the state Department of Education’s Bureau of Nutrition, joined Morning Edition to talk about the program.

dierk schaefer via flickr Creative Commons / https://flic.kr/p/5vGNkE

Studies show that growing up below the poverty line can have serious health implications, but can it have a lasting effect on the brain? On today’s show we continue NHPR’s series The First Decade by examining scarcity and how it can hijack a person’s neural pathways, affecting a child’s decision making later in life.

Then, a look at a technological issue that is threatening the livelihoods of farmers across the U.S. how the increasingly computerized nature of automobiles – and a far-reaching  copyright law –  is preventing farmers from maintaining their own equipment.

NHPR / Michael Brindley

Research is clear that parental involvement is critical to a child's success in school. But for a number of factors, that can be difficult for families in low-income households.

Maria Barry is the home and school coordinator for Ledge Street Elementary in Nashua, where 8 out of 10 students qualify for free or reduced lunch.

Rick Ganley visited Maria in her office at the school to talk about some of the challenges she faces in her job, as well as some of the success stories she's seen.

Vinoth Chandar via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/7Jcr9c

What happens to our minds when we have too little, and how does that shape our choices and behaviors? On today's show, we'll talk to a pair of Princeton professors who set out to answer those questions. Plus, the inspiration for our Good Gig series was a conversation with a person who has one of the most unique gigs on the planet: sketch artist for the U.S. Supreme Court.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments. 

Iowa Digital Library via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/dg8YuC

While the U.S. leads the world in dental innovation, many Americans are unable to afford basic dental care, and as a result, suffer from health and psychological consequences. On today’s show: the high price of poor teeth.

Then, stretching your artistic muscles has been shown to reduce stress and increase positive thinking, but for many people, being more creative sounds like an arduous task. We’ll talk to an artist who makes a bold case for dropping the excuses, and picking up the sketchpad.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

courtesy Investing In Communities Initiative

There’s lots of discussion these days among public policy leaders and government officials about poverty – what causes it, and what can be done about it.

A new study aims to answer a different question – what are our perceptions of poverty, and what do those tell us about how to deal with the issue? Melissa Bernardin is director of the new Investing in Communities Initiative, which commissioned the research. She joined All Things Considered with more on the research.

Poverty Under A Microscope In N.H.

Jan 13, 2015
UK in Hungary / Flickr/CC

Following up on our homelessness show yesterday, we’re looking at the broader issue of poverty in New Hampshire.  While the state has one of the nation’s lowest poverty rates, it doesn’t always do well on certain measures, like childhood poverty. We’re looking at the latest numbers, and some of the efforts to address the issue.

GUESTS:

The U.S. Census Bureau is releasing new data that shows about 17,000 fewer people were living in poverty in New Hampshire in 2013 compared to the year before.

The 1.3 percent decline from about 128,500 people in poverty in 2012 to roughly 111,500 last year is the second sharpest drop in the nation, trailing only Wyoming's 1.7 percent decrease.

In New Hampshire, 8.7 percent of the population lives in poverty, compared with 15.8 percent nationally. The national rate in 2012 was 15.9 percent.

New Hampshire has slid to fourth place on a national ranking of places to raise children.

After decades in first place, the Granite State slid to fourth in the Kids Count Index, compiled by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, with Massachusetts, Vermont, and Iowa now holding the top spots.

The drop was attributed to an increase in child poverty, up from 9 percent to 16 percent between 2005 and 2012.

Increases in homes with single parents and where the parents lack secure employment also factored into the decline.

NHPR / Michael Brindley

The end of the school year in Nashua marks the end of the line for an after school program that organizers say was vital for the city’s middle school students.

Hanibaael via Flickr Creative Commons

Fifty years ago this month President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed a nearly $950-million anti-poverty bill into law, creating Head Start, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Economic Opportunity Act. President Johnson envisioned a wealthy country where no child would go unfed or unschooled.  Five decades on, the official poverty rate has dropped, but childhood poverty is on the rise, as is income inequality. With no victory to declare, is it time for another war on poverty? Our guest is Angela Glover Blackwell. She responded to that question in New York Times’ “Room for Debate” series. She is founder and CEO of Policy Link, a national research and action institute which works to improve access and opportunity for people of color and residents of low-income community. 

courtesy of lapovertydept.org

Los Angeles’ skid row has the nation’s largest concentration of homeless people. For nearly 30 years, this nexus of impoverished shelters and cardboard boxes has also been home to the Los Angeles Poverty Department, an arts and performing arts group comprised of people who live and work on skid row. The other LAPD makes theater about experiences common to people living in poverty – like addiction, incarceration, and the psychology of victimization – for stages all over the world. Their play “Hospital” follows the dysfunction of the American health care system, and is being performed at the Hopkins Center for the Arts on January 17th and 18thJohn Malpede is Founding Artistic Director, and Kevin Michael Key is a performer and Community Coordinator for the group.

Sara Plourde

Scarcity is a kind of great equalizer. Whether it be less sleep, security, time, food, money or whatever a person needs, scarcity hijacks the mind, diminishes intelligence, and lowers resistance to temptation. Eldar Shafir, Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs at Princeton set out to find evidence for what happens to our minds when we have too little – and how scarcity shapes our choices and behaviors.  He's coauthor of the new book is Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much.

Wendy Longo photography / Flickr Creative Commons

Behind the numbers are the experiences of America's poor, which, more often than not, go unheard. This divide is the problem that N.H. writer and activist Dan Weeks addressed in the project he undertook last year, to travel around some of the poorest areas of the country by bus and see poverty close up, as well as the ways that it intertwines with a lack of political voice. Today we'll talk with him about the series of articles he wrote for The Atlantic on his trip and what he saw.

GUESTS:

For more than 27 years, Mike Ostrowski has served as president of Child and Family Services of New Hampshire, an organization that serves some 15,000 children and families in New Hampshire each year.

He’s stepping down from that role as the year comes to a close, but before he does he joins All Things Considered host Brady Carlson in the studio to share some of what he’s learned on the job.

Some years ago, Maria Dichtelmiller found herself unable to buy food and living in a shelter. She went to The Community Kitchen in Keene, a local food pantry.

While standing in line at the pantry, Maria noticed a chayote (a type of squash) had been sorted in with boxes of fruits. After pointing this out and explaining what a chayote was to the staff, they hired her as a volunteer. She now works at the Kitchen’s grain station and educates others on the value of food they might be unfamiliar with.

Photo courtesy By Gerbriel Kamener and Sown Together

Detroit’s declaration of bankruptcy this summer opened up the floodgates for stories of its decline. Documentary films, photo essays, and articles reveal a once-proud American city, home to world’s highest-paid workers and a strong middle class, as a shell of its former self. Some residents are finding hope among the abandoned neighborhoods, crumbling municipal buildings, and rusting car factories that made the motor city hum.

Some years ago, Maria Dichtelmiller found herself unable to buy food and living in a shelter. She went to The Community Kitchen in Keene, a local food pantry.

While standing in line at the pantry, Maria noticed a chayote (a type of squash) had been sorted in with boxes of fruits. After pointing this out and explaining what a chayote was to the staff, they hired her as a volunteer. She now works at the Kitchen’s grain station and educates others on the value of food they might be unfamiliar with.

Hemera Collection

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

angelamaphone via flickr Creative Commons

In his first term, President Obama boosted Pell grants and reformed federal financial aid in hopes of increasing college access for low-income students.  Despite these efforts, there is another problem preventing the less privileged from getting an education – a disconnect between poor families, and the arcane bureaucracy surrounding the admissions process.

Sarah Carr is author of the new book Hope Against Hope: Three Schools, One City, and the Struggle to Educate America’s Children.”  An excerpt from that book featured in The Atlantic tells the story of one New Orleans high school’s efforts to bridge the admissions process gap.

Increasing access to existing food resources, strengthening New Hampshire's food systems, and ensuring the economic security of children and families.

These were among the recommendations found in "Roadmap to End Childhood Hunger," a report issued this week by New Hampshire Hunger Solutions and the Children's Alliance of New Hampshire.

Ulrica / Flickr Creative Commons

New Hampshire has the lowest child poverty rate in the country.  That’s according to new numbers released by the Census Bureau. 

In the United States, the poverty line works out to less than $23,000 a year for a family of four—that means two parents and two children.  And fewer than one out of eight New Hampshire kids are living below that line.  That’s good news.  But Carsey Institute researcher Jessica Bean says the same family of four with even twice that income—close to $46,000—is still struggling.

Mercy Health, via Flickr

Reporters love to write in a kind of shorthand. And when it comes to Medicaid, the preferred shortcut is, 'the health care program for the poor.'

Recently we’ve seen dueling definitions of what it means to be poor. The U.S. Census Bureau came up with two figures, depending on whether factors like food stamps are included.  And another study defined poverty as having scant resources. But some have long said that poverty figures are exaggerated and used for political purposes.

Guests:

Beth Mattingly: Director of Research on Vulnerable Families at the Carsey Institute and Professor of Sociology at the University of New Hampshire.

Welfare changes in the 1990s helped slash cash benefit rolls, yet the use of food stamps is soaring today. About 15 percent of Americans use food stamps. The program has become what some call the new welfare.

A big reason why is a deal struck between President Clinton and the Republican-controlled Congress in 1996. At that time, the number of Americans who received cash payments — what's often thought of as welfare — was at an all-time high.

The Central American nation of Panama is booming. Fueled by a multibillion-dollar expansion of the Panama Canal, a thriving banking industry and capital flight from Venezuela, the tiny nation has the highest economic growth rate in the hemisphere.

But even as the government builds a subway system and markets the country as a tropical paradise for multinational corporations, not everyone is sharing in the prosperity.

Not long after the start of the school year, Monique Sanders, a teacher at Nathan Hale Elementary School in Manchester, Conn., realized many of her students were going to bed hungry.

"It was very bad. I had parents calling me several times a week, asking did I know of any other way that they could get food because they had already gone to a food pantry," Sanders says. "The food pantry only allows you to go twice per month, so if you are running low on your food stamps or you didn't get what you needed and you're not able to feed your family, that's very stressful."

The Obama administration is calling for major changes in Head Start, the 46-year-old early childhood education program that helped launch President Johnson's War on Poverty.

President Obama says too many children today aren't learning, and too many education programs are mismanaged.

"We're not just going to put money into programs that don't work," the president announced late last year. "We will take money and put it into programs that do."

More Cuts Threaten Legal Services for the Poor

Apr 3, 2012

The most recent State budget slashed funding for legal services for the poor. Last week, the House passed a bill that would put even more aid at risk.

The legislation would change how something called IOLTA works.

IOLTA stands for ‘Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts’.

When a client hands money over to a lawyer for a short period of time, say, while a real estate deal is being closed, the lawyer puts the money into a pooled account. That account earns interest.

With more than 46 million recipients, the food stamp program has become one of the government's biggest benefit programs.

It has also become one of the biggest targets for those who think the federal government isn't doing enough to prevent fraud.

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