The Common Good
June 2005

Am Working and Hungry

by Claire McKeever | June 2005

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Low-income persons and families across the United States will increasingly need more services to enable them to meet acceptable standards of living, according to a 2004 report on hunger and homelessness by U.S. mayors. "The president and other political leaders should be focused on rewarding work with living wages, not accepting that 34 percent of adults needing food are employed," Yonce Shelton, director of public policy for Call to Renewal in Washington, D.C., told Sojourners.

In Cleveland, more than 30 percent of the population lives below the poverty level, and these numbers are predicted to get worse in the next year. "While government is not the only solution to poverty," says Shelton, "right now ours is not just ignoring poor families, it is knowingly hurting them."

  • 56% of people requesting food assistance in the U.S. during the past year were children.
  • 70% of the 27 cities surveyed report an increase in requests for emergency shelter.
  • An applicant for public housing waits an average of 20 months for assistance.
  • Low-income households spend up to 45% of their income on housing.
  • 48 education programs have been cut in the Bush administration’s budget, and support for food stamps has been reduced.

Source: "The U.S. Conference of Mayors: Hunger and Homelessness Survey 2004."

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