Tuesday, February 15, 2005

[US Domestic Policy] Study: War on Poverty Sees More Hungry, Homeless in the U.S.

Excerpt from article authored by Leslie Gevirtz

The National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness surveyed 900 providers of emergency food and shelter in 32 states and found that government cuts to social programs caused nearly one-fourth of the emergency food agencies to turn people away. More than three-quarters of shelters had no place for people to stay.

The Bush Administration proposes in its new budget to cut millions of dollars in funding to the three largest federal food programs: food stamps, school lunches and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, better known as WIC.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, in an October 2004 report, said that 36.3 million people lived in households without enough food in 2003. The Urban Institute, based in Washington, D.C., found in a 2000 survey that 3.5 million people in the United States were homeless. The Bush Administration has also proposed billion dollar-cuts to the federally funded affordable housing program.

Minimum wages in the United States do not go far toward eliminating homelessness either.

The U.S. minimum wage is $5.15 an hour, but a separate survey by the National Low Income Housing Coalition found that in 2004 there was no place in the United States where a person earning as much as $9.17 an hour could afford a modest two-bedroom apartment.

A quarter of U.S. workers earn $9.17 an hour or less --about $19,000 annually or a little more than the $18,850 that is the official federal poverty level for a family of four.

Source: Reuters