People hate taxes despite the fact that basically every person who studies economics knows they are needed and a great way to spur economic success. Despite the fact taxes are needed and good at helping poorer people in society, taxes are hated.
As a result, some researchers in the USA have looked into alternative ways to help poor people escape poverty. One solution is to change the way we help neighbourhoods rather than looking at taxes.
More Americans live in high-poverty areas than ever in history, defined usually as places where more than 30% to 40% of residents are below the poverty line. The number of people who live these neighborhoods of “concentrated poverty” has doubled since 2000, especially in smaller cities. There are huge racial disparities in these neighborhoods, too. One in 4 African Americans and 1 in 6 Hispanics live in an area of concentrated poverty, compared with 1 in 14 whites. While explicitly racist policies such as “redlining” have subsided, their legacy remains in how neighborhoods are racially and economically segregated today.
THE LINK BETWEEN LOCATION AND LIVES
Montgomery County, Maryland—less than an hour’s drive from Baltimore—is a unique case that shows it doesn’t have to be this way. It is among the wealthiest counties in the nation, and its school system is among the best. It also serves its low-income families relatively well. Like some other cities, it requires some real estate developers to rent a portion of their homes at affordable, below market rates. More uniquely, the county itself also reserves the right to buy some of these homes to create public housing for the poor. The result? Poor families, earning an average of $22,500 a year, living right alongside the affluent.
CUSO is a Canadian-based non-profit that sends people oversees as volunteers to help the developing world. Recently as a drive to get more adults to help them out (you know you want to) they have produced a couple videos to show their work.
Every year, around 120,000 young Peruvians join the ranks of those who are neither studying nor employed. There just isn’t enough work, and many can’t afford schooling.
But despite the obstacles that life puts before them, many youth in San Juan de Miraflores — a poor neighbourhood of Lima, Peru — are creating a better future for themselves and their families.
Three youth and a Canadian volunteer involved in an innovative Youth Employment Centre in San Juan agreed to tell their stories.
‘Jacky’s Story’ is the first of three videos following youth and volunteers involved in the Centros de Jovenes y Empleo. The centre is a collaboration of CUSO-VSO, the Quebec NGO Carrefour Jeunesse Emploi de l’Outaouais, and the Peruvian NGO Kallpa.
If you’re not Canadian, and many readers aren’t, perhaps there is an organization in your country similar to CUSO-VSO.
Link to CUSO-VSO
SM Raju has found a way to plant nearly one billion saplings in only one day: by hiring people who are below the poverty line in India to plant and then to protect trees. The plan is to pay people who would otherwise be unemployed to plant and grow trees as a family. Each year they would get some money to supplement other income sources.
The BBC has a good article on the smart tree planting scheme.
“The scheme has brought benefits to thousands of families since its implementation,” said a recent International Labour Organisation report.
But Mr Raju says that Bihar – being the poorest and most lawless state of India – has not been able to spend the allocated NREGA funds.
“This is because of a lack of awareness among officials about the scheme,” he said.
The poor monsoon this year has led to lower agricultural outputs, while flash floods in some northern districts has made the situation even worse, he said.
“So the idea struck to my mind, why not involve families below the poverty line in social forestry and give them employment under this scheme for 100 days?
“Under the scheme, each family can earn a minimum of 10,200 rupees ($210).”
Today is Blog Action Day 2008 and this year the topic is poverty. Over 10,000 sites are participating to discuss poverty, and yes this site is one of them.
here’s some good news on poverty from Asia:
Asean countries have made strong progress in reducing extreme poverty and hunger in the region, said Minister of State for Community Development, Youth and Sports Yu-Foo Yee Shoon.
She said a recent report completed by researchers under the Asean-Australian Development Programme showed Asean countries had been able to reduce poverty among its populations.
Speaking at the 6th Asean Senior Officials Meeting on Rural Development and Poverty Eradication here Monday, Yu-Foo said although there were still considerable differences across some member countries, all 10 member-countries of the regional association aimed at achieving goals set by the United Nations to combat global poverty.
Cities that go green not only help the environment, but they also help alleviate poverty. By investing in green programs they put money into an industry that is growing and needs labour. As a result, many environmentalists (myself included) are arguing for programs that go beyond hybrid cars and switching light bulbs to programs that promote systemic change. Building green cities is a change that can last more than a lifetime.
The Bronx group is at the forefront of a movement to put low-income and low-skilled workers in “green collar” jobs: manual work in fields that help the environment.
Cities trying to strengthen the local economy and go green see the solution in green-collar jobs. Jobs in the $341-billion-a-year green industry have the potential to move people out of poverty, says Trenton, N.J., Mayor Douglas Palmer.
Advocates of green-collar job programs say concerns about the environment have been focused on hybrid cars, polar bears and the melting ice cap. They want more attention on improving conditions in poor communities, which studies show bear the brunt of environmental hazards because they have more power plants, industrial warehouses and waste facilities.
“We want to use the green-collar movement to move people out of poverty,” says Majora Carter, head of Sustainable South Bronx. “Little green fairies do not come out of the sky and install solar panels. Someone has to do the work.”
Her group, which is funded through private grants, has helped almost 90% of its graduates find jobs working for the city parks department, local cemeteries and environmental groups, such as the Central Park Conservancy and the Bronx River Alliance.