Minimum wage in Connecticut is higher than the federal minimum, $8.70 an hour instead of $7.25. In fact, the federal minimum is so ridiculously low that not many people are earning it. Maybe as few as 1.5 million, according to one study.
So, what happens if it goes up to $10.10 an hour here, or less likely, nationally. Some minimum wage workers will tell you that is still ridiculously low, $15 an hour is more like it. And, there are movements to help fast food workers bargain collectively for that kind of raise.
Somehow, kale has become trendy in the last few years, although its moment in the sun seems to be almost over. How did a thing like that happen? Would it be possible to infuse an old standby like broccoli with a similar hip panache? Broccoli is the warmest vegetable, and the coolest.
Fifty years ago in his state of the union address, President Lyndon Johnson declared "war on poverty." Today, there are still 50 million people in poverty in the U.S. But Yale Historian Jennifer Klein said that number doesn't mean Johnson's war was a failure.
Just over 50 years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson delivered his State of the Union address and made a pledge to the nation. "This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America," he said.
Johnson didn't live long enough to see the end of the War on Poverty...and neither have we. Poverty continues to be a big problem in the United States and right here in Connecticut.
Frequent WNPR guest and former Hartford Courant columnist Susan Campbell rode along with the Hartford Homeless Outreach Team early on Thursday morning. She works for Partnership for Strong Communities, which is working to end homelessness.
An interactive map showing median household incomes in neighborhoods across the U.S. shows that Connecticut is poorest in its urban centers, and wealthiest in Fairfield County. The numbers come from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey Five-Year Estimates, assembled elegantly by the data news team at WNYC.
Connecticut’s food pantries and soup kitchens continue to see rising numbers of people in need of food assistance. Nancy Carrington is president of the Connecticut Food Bank. She said though there’s been slight improvement in job growth in the state, its not affecting people at the lower end of the pay scale.
Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 4:20 pm
When you think of Oregon and food, you probably think organic chicken, kale chips and other signs of a strong local food movement. What probably doesn't come to mind? Food stamps.
And yet, 21 percent of Oregon's population – that's one out of every five residents – relies on food stamps to get by. And like many people across the country, these Oregon families who have come to rely on federal food assistance program for meals are learning to make do with less as of this month.
The gap between fuel prices and what low-income people can afford to pay to heat their homes in Connecticut has more than tripled in recent years. Operation Fuel, the nonprofit which provides energy assistance to thousands of households in the state, said the number of residents in need is growing.
Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 1:17 pm
Worldwide, roughly 1 in 8 people suffered from chronic hunger from 2011 to 2013, according to a new report from three U.N. food agencies.
They concluded that 842 million people didn't get enough food to lead healthy lives in that period, a slight drop from the 868 million in the previous report.
The modest change was attributed to several factors, from economic growth in developing countries to investments in agriculture. And in some countries, people have benefited from money sent home by migrant workers. But the gains were unevenly distributed, the report's authors say.
According to the government, there are 46.5 million Americans who live below the poverty line. In other words, that's how many people are officially poor. But pretty much everyone who studies poverty agrees: The way we arrive at this figure is completely wrong.
On today's show, we figure out how we got here, why still measure poverty in a way that so many people agree is wrong, and how could we do it better.
Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 8:51 pm
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted Thursday to slash $40 billion from the federal food stamp program.
GOP lawmakers cited what they said was widespread abuse of the program, formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, which is intended to help poor individuals and families buy groceries.
The vote to cut food stamps came on a party line vote of 217-200.
"It's wrong for working, middle-class people to pay" for abuse of the program, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said.
Congress is heading into a major fight over food stamps. The battle highlights sharp ideological differences over a program that helps to feed about 220,000 people in Connecticut.
Conservative House Republicans, especially members of the Tea Party, say the food stamp program has become bloated and discourages people from finding jobs. They propose cutting $40 billion over the next decade from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the official name for food stamps.
Rico Saccoccio is a junior at Fordham University in the Bronx. He's from a middle-class family in Connecticut and he spent the summer living at home with his parents, who cover about $15,000 a year in his college costs.
According to the U.S. government, Saccoccio is living in poverty. The $8,000 he earns doing odd jobs puts him well below the $11,945 poverty threshold for an individual. In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau recently reported that more than half of all college students who are living off campus and not at home are poor.
Poverty is a problem you tend to think of affecting very urban and very rural areas of America. But a new Brookings study shows a shocking fact: that over the last decade, the poor population in the suburbs has grown by about 60 percent. That national trend follows the same path as local metro areas are seeing, and the numbers aren’t just due to the effects of the economic downturn.
We explore that subject and check in with Elaine Zimmerman from the Connecticut Commission on Children to see what the impact of all this is on Connecticut’s kids.
Thousands of children struggling against poverty find hope - and the path to a better life - through classical music.
Its not some pipedream...but a very real and inspiring story of El Sistema - The System: a music phenomenon in Venezuela that’s touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of kids and captured the attention of the world.
Today, we talk with the author of a book about El Sistema. We’ll also speak with educators who are using music to transform the lives of students right here in Connecticut.
Bridgeport’s Board of Education has appointed Paul Vallas, interim superintendent, part of the state’s takeover of the struggling school system. Vallas is a nationally recognized education reformer who’s spearheaded turnaround efforts in Chicago, Philadelphia and New Orleans.
Departing Bridgeport superintendent John Ramos joined a panel of school leaders earlier this month to talk about the effect of inadequate education funding on disadvantaged students.
In this country we could see some changes in a government housing program known as Section 8. Critics have complained that this subsidized rent program gives recipients enough money to live in poor, minority neighborhoods, but not enough money to live anywhere else. Now the Department of Housing and Urban Development is rethinking the way it calculates rent payments.
The city of Dallas has been testing these changes and Jeff Cohen from member station WNPR has this report.
We give billions to charity every year, but are we actually solving the world’s problems? When we look at the programs meant to fight global poverty and disease, we tend to see two poles...either we just need more money thrown into the aid programs we now have, or we realize that all these billions are just going down the drain.
Our roller coaster economy has been a leveler - throwing the formerly rich and lower income people into the same basket. We thought we'd talk about debt, credit cards and bankruptcy with Mitchell Allen, author of A Survival Guide to Debt. He has been a debt counselor to many.
Recent reports show a 3% increase of people in shelters in Connecticut from 2009 to 2010. Of this population, more than half of all families and 40% of single adults in shelters report being homeless for first time And in these harsh winter months, even overflow homeless shelters are overflowing.