9/25/2005

Katrina Exposes American Poverty - Yahoo! News

Poverty increased with Bush. DUH! -- law

Even as the economy strengthened in 2004,
Census Bureau figures show 37 million Americans lived under the poverty line, a jump of 1.1 million from 2003. People living in poverty have, in fact, been increasing steadily in this country since 2001.


Katrina Exposes American Poverty

SAN FRANCISCO - "Let me tell you about abandoned people," whispered J.R., his voice rising above the sighs and soft snores of sleepers curled on the church pews around him.


"Those people who were abandoned in New Orleans," he said, "they were abandoned long before that hurricane hit. We all were."

J.R. (he gave no other name) spends his days with 100 others, embraced in the holy warmth of a magnificent edifice, 103-year-old St. Boniface Church. Sunlight streams through stained glass and gilded saints smile down upon them from the domed ceilings; the smells of their sour, acrid clothes and bodies mix with the lingering scent of incense.

This looks like an evacuation center — row after row of desperate people and their sparse belongings, a backpack here, a blanket there.

But this roomful of displaced people is neither an emergency shelter nor a temporary situation.

This is an ongoing, daily, chronic disaster.

Ordinarily the faces of America's poor are as hidden as their stories. But Hurricane Katrina has spotlighted the deep poverty that this country has failed to solve, a world of people who live without
Social Security numbers and without running water, people who are too poor to shop at Wal-Mart and whose children go hungry.

Even as the economy strengthened in 2004,
Census Bureau figures show 37 million Americans lived under the poverty line, a jump of 1.1 million from 2003. People living in poverty have, in fact, been increasing steadily in this country since 2001.

For years, advocacy groups and researchers have shouted the statistics: 45.8 million people don't have health insurance; 25 percent of American's blacks (and 44 percent of Houston's) live in poverty; 36 million Americans are hungry or at risk of hunger.

But before Katrina, few wanted to hear any of this, says Reese Fayde, head of Living Cities, a New York-based nonprofit group.

"You are made to feel you are detracting from something good, that you're not patriotic, that you're trying to focus on a niche issue," she said. "Poverty didn't happen overnight, but now it's as if someone lifted up a rock and wow, there they are, all those poor people!"

Katrina Exposes American Poverty - Yahoo! News

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home