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Bailey White

Mrs. Davis
Comp II
10 April 2015

Poverty: Homelessness and Hunger

Whether we acknowledge it or not, poverty is a problem in the United States. When

people think of the poor, the just imagine having no money-but its more than that. Those who
live in poverty not only have a low income, or no income at all, but also deal with homelessness
and hunger. Because we live such a privileged life, it might seem difficult to for one to imagine
what it must be like to not have a house to come home to at the end of the day or a breakfast to
eat at the beginning of the day. For the poor, these are constant everyday worries. Some might
think living in poverty is the end of the road, but being poor does not automatically mean being
hopeless. Although poverty is still a factor in America, through the help of specialty programs,
we can shrink this epidemic.
Poverty is a growing issue in The United States. According to Sasha Abramsky, 15
percent of Americans, roughly 46.5 million people, live at or below the government-defined
poverty line. This means that 15 percent of our country is living on about $22,491 or less a year.
Most people spend that much money or more on a new car without even having a second
thought. People might believe that there is nothing worse than living in poverty, but there is.
Extreme poverty is described as an individual living on $2 or less a day. As of 2011, 1.46 million
families were living in extreme poverty (Lein 20). Different factors account for living in poverty.

Unemployment and being unable to work due to mental and physical problems are main factors
that contribute to being poor. Even though poverty is an issue in the United States, Americans
tend to be oblivious to this problem and this is known as Poverty Blindness.
The citizens of our country severely suffers from a disorder known as Poverty Blindness.
Poverty Blindness is described as the absolute inability to see people living in poverty (Gusoff,
Ventres 2). There are two different variations of Poverty Blindness. These variations include
Primary Poverty Blindness and Secondary Poverty Blindness. Primary Poverty Blindness occurs
in those who have little to no association with the poor due to attempts to avoid the situation.
Secondary Poverty Blindness influences those who are constantly in connection with the poor
while also trying to avoid contact. This disorder does come with symptoms just as any other
disorder would. Some of these symptoms include poor generosity, distrusting qualities, and using
excuses as to why they should not help the poor. Examples of these excuses consist of saying that
those who are poor are happy being poor, are not really suffering, and they had a chance to be
equal to those who do not live in poverty. Just as any other disorder, there are treatments for
attempt to resolve Poverty Blindness. One treatment could be intentionally placing the patient in
a catastrophic event that would result in the patient viewing and recognizing the struggles of
those living in poverty. A catastrophic event that would work for treatment could be a natural
disaster such as a tornado, earthquake, or hurricane. As of now, there is no medical treatment for
Poverty Blindness. Along the lines of PB, the Poverty Acuity Disorder is extremely similar by
means of symptoms. Not only does Poverty Blindness affect America, but it does in fact, occur
all over the world. Regardless of the fact that our nations citizens are oblivious to poverty, our
government has constructed programs available to those who live in poverty in attempt to assist
those in need.

Although our country has a growing problem with poverty, our government does not let
the poor go unnoticed, but instead, proposes multiple welfare programs that can benefit those
who need it. One of these programs assists those who cannot work due to physical and mental
setbacks. This program give the individuals the ability to acquire certain disability support and .
. . access to partial supports through specialized work placements, and longer term assistance
(Lein 25). Another program is offered in attempt to motivate fathers involvement in their childs
life through child support programs and work training/placement programs. These examples are
just two of the various systematic plans that our government has created to help alleviate the
poverty epidemic in our country.
Homelessness is a chronic struggle for most of those living in poverty. According to Ellen
Bassuk, there are different factors that go into being homelessness. Some of these factors vary
from extreme poverty and the need for affordable housing. Most of the homeless consist of
victims of domestic violence and continual health issues. Not only does homelessness affect the
single, but it also occurs with families. Today, families comprise 32% of the overall homeless
population (Bassuk 496). Thats more than 1.5 million children. Being homeless can negatively
affect children in more ways than not having a home. These children can have difficulties
forming relationships with people and are likely to form behavioral issues. Homelessness can
also affect childrens school work. The results of being homeless for children include a higher
rate of dropping out of school, stress, and an increased risk of falling into depression and anxiety.
Just as any other problem we have in America, there are also solutions to help overcome issues
such as homelessness.
In regards to homelessness, our country has created strategic plans in attempt to shrink
the homeless population. The housing First Strategy have effectively housed many people over

the years through multiple providers. Another plan named Opening Door was created by the
U.S Interagency Council on Homelessness in 2009. This plan was invented to prevent and end
homelessness (Bussak 500). The National Housing Trust Fund has also successfully raised over
1.5 billion dollars in 2009 that was used to create and upkeep households for those with a lowincome. Because 1 in every 50 children are homeless, ending childhood homelessness is also a
priority for America. Along with the Campaign to End Child Homelessness, teachers can play a
huge role in ending this problem. If teachers suspect a student might be homeless, they can report
it to the districts homeless liaison. The liaison can then help assist the student and family in
accessing some of the resources needed to survive. Teachers can help make sure students have
the proper accessibility to education materials and even transportation to and from school. They
can also help educate other students of homelessness in their community. This knowledge could
encourage the students to take a stance to help end homelessness and to be more sensitive to
other students who may be dealing with this problem. In compliance to homelessness, hunger is
a suppressing issue that those living in poverty deal with.
those who suffer from poverty are not looking for a place to sleep, they are worrying
about where they will get their next meal. Food security is an issue for most people who have no
or low-income. Having food security can be described as a household having access to
enough food for an active, healthy life (Curry, Hoefer 61). There are four different levels when
speaking of food security. High food security occurs when a household has no problems when it
comes to acquiring food. Marginal food secure households rarely have issues with obtaining food
and the quantity and quality of the food was never compromised. Low food secure households do
not reduce the amount of food intake, but do reduce the foods quality and variety. Very low food
security occurs throughout the whole year and the diets of one or more members of the

household came to a halt due to little funds for food. Being food insecure takes a toll on the
household leaders. They constantly stress over having enough money to buy food, how long their
food supply will last, and if they have enough money to extend their food supply. This stress can
cause the household leaders parenting skills to deteriorate and they are vulnerable to falling into
depression. In addition to stress, not having enough food can alter an individual's physical and
cognitive characteristics. When affecting children, hunger can cause negative changes in a childs
development, social skills, and behavior. The hungry and food insecure do not go unnoticed by
our country's government. Different programs have been created to help assist those who are
lacking a reliable food income.
Our nation has been assisting the hungry since the 1930s. Two major programs that help
those become food secure are SNAP and WIC. SNAP, previously known as Food Stamps, began
in the 1960s. This programs was created to ensure that low-income households could afford
food and to support demand for farm produced food products (Curry,Hoefer 69). SNAP
successfully assists 45.2 million individuals. In order to receive SNAP benefits, an individual
must meet the guidelines provided by the USDA. The guidelines include, but are not limited to;
monthly gross income of $2,389 for a family of four, adults who are able-bodied ,eat work
requirements, and all members of the household provide a valid social security number. SNAP
gives a monthly payout of $101 per person and $227 per household to those who qualif . This
money allows the recipients to buy practical food products such as dairy, bread, meat, fruits, and
vegetables. SNAP is strictly for food use only and will not be accepted when purchasing hot
foods or restaurant foods. Along with SNAP, WIC also provides food assistance and help with
education costs. WIC was created in 1972 and helps benefit over 7.2 million people (Curry,
Hoefer 73). WIC is provided to women who are pregnant or have children who are under the age

of 5. In order to receive benefits, the mothers annual income must be no more than $41,348.
WIC is accepted at over 9,000 clinics and over 2,000 local organizations. In addition to these two
programs, local food banks and food drives also help out those in need. While there are people
who do not have to stress about bringing food to the table, the SNAP and WIC benefits are
essential food providers to those who have a low-income.
Even though poverty is a problem in our country, those living in poverty can get
assistance through the governments programs. These programs tend to give hope to those who
are poor. The daily struggles of those living in poverty go beyond just money. The main daily
struggles include finding food to eat and finding shelter from the weather.
Most American citizens try to avoid those living in poverty and can be oblivious to the statistics
of poverty in our country. If only these citizens would recognize, acknowledge, and help those
in need, we would all live in a better world.

Works Cited
Abramsky, Sasha. "America's Shameful Poverty Stats." America's Shameful Poverty Stats. The
Nation, 18 Sept. 2013. Web. 01 Apr. 2015.
Bassuk, Ellen L. "Ending Child Homelessness In America." American Journal Of
Orthopsychiatry (Wiley-Blackwell) 80.4 (2010): 496-504. Academic Search Premier.
Web. 1 Apr. 2015.
Dill, Vicky S. "Students Without Homes." Educational Leadership 68.3 (2010): 43-47. ERIC.
Web. 1 Apr. 2015.
Hoefer, Richard, and Carolyn Curry. "Food Security And Social Protection In The United
States." Journal Of Policy Practice 11.1/2 (2012): 59. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 1 Apr.
Lein, Laura. "Poverty And Welfare." Family Matters 93 (2013): 17. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 1
Apr. 2015.
Ventres, William, and Geoff Gusoff. "Poverty Blindness: Exploring the Diagnosis and Treatment
Of an Epidemic Condition." Proquest. Johns Hopkins University Press, Feb. 2014. Web.
30 Mar. 2015.