The federal government has just released a bunch of new statistics about poverty in the United States, and once again the news is not very good. According to a special report from the U.S. Census Bureau, 46.2 million Americans are now living in poverty. The number of those living in poverty and despair in America has grown by 2.6 million in just the last 12 months, and that is the largest increase that we have ever seen since the feds began calculating poverty figures back in 1959.
Median household income has also fallen once again. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, median household income in the United States dropped 2.3% in 2010 (after accounting for inflation which is also on the rise).
Today, 15.1% of all Americans are living in poverty.
Why is poverty in America on the rise in America – you need not be an expert. 1) the shrinking number of jobs. 2) inflation, 3) the downgrading of America’s credit rating. 4) The ballooning national debt…
To put this in some kind of perspective:
“One out of every six Americans is now enrolled in at least one government anti-poverty program”, according to the Congressional record.
More than “45 million Americans are now on food stamps” (including the author of this report). Almost “50 million lack health care coverage.” And “3.5 million homeless in America”, according to the National Coalition for the Homeless (http://www.nationalhomeless.org/). It also depends on who you ask, I suppose. The real number nobody really knowns for sure.
The number of Americans on food stamps has increased approximently 74% since 2007…that number is steadily increasing every year…it is a sad state of affairs for a once great country.Which today is mired in $14 trillion dollars in debt!
At the local level the situation is just as bad.
In Tampa, Florida you can see homeless people everywhere, especially satnding on the street corners and off ramps of major freeways. One woman held a sign: “Unemployed, need work, food and money for a place to stay.” She identified herself as “Pat” and said this: “It’s very hard to live in Tampa, the rents are very high. I lost my job and then lost my apartment, then I lost my car – now I’m homeless.”
Pat showed me a form letter she received from the State of Florida, Department of Children and Families, dated September 1, 2011. Addresssed to: “Applicants to the Emergency Financial Assistance for Housing Program (EFAHP).” From: Mary Anne Hoffman, EFAHP Coordinator. RE: “No funds for EFAHP assistance”.
It reads as follows:
“We have received your application for assistance with overdue rent, mortgage payment or security deposit from the Emergency Financial Assistance for Housing Program (EFAHP). Unfortunately, due to the huge number of applications received this year and the fact that we only received half of our usual funds, the program has run out of money and we will not be able to assist you. Please call your local 211 helpline (just dial 211), The Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services, Jewish Family Services or the homeless coalition to ask for a list of local organizations that might be able to help you or your family. Thank you.”
I also talked to Joe Wilson, a homeless man pushing a shopping cart in Tampa Florida who said: “The city and state could care less about the homeless in Tampa…”
As a veteran on the street of 24 months, Joe said this: “I’m seeing a lot more new people, who are lost wandering around. Their story is all the same, they lost a job, or can’t find a job and now they are on the street with no place to go. Many panhandle money on the street corners, others steal so they can eat. The situation is getting worse, man! It ain’t no joke out here, everyday!”
Many people choose to ignore this growing problem of homelessness at the federal, state and local level, leaving people like Pat and Joe Wilson to fend for themselves.
So much for the American dream!