Archive for the ‘news’ Category

2008 poverty data MR (2)


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A Chicago homeless man is attempting to run for office but is facing resistance because he is homeless and does not have a permanent address.  This article highlights the fact that homeless individuals have every right that those that are housed do and that no one should ever be discriminated against because of their housing status.

02/20/09 07:35 AM

Associated Press Writer

A suburban Chicago man barred from running for the village board because he is homeless isn’t giving up trying to get on the ballot.

Daniel Fore and his attorneys on Thursday filed both a petition seeking a judicial review of the decision and an emergency motion for expedited hearing with the Cook County Circuit Court.

The team hopes for a ruling on the matter by March 6, ahead of the March 16 start of early voting, said Larry Griffin, an attorney for the firm Kirkland and Ellis who represents Fore pro bono.

Oak Park’s electoral board voted 2-1 last week to bar Fore from the April 7 ballot. A message left for an Oak Park spokesman was not immediately returned Thursday afternoon.

Two Oak Park residents, Randy Gillett and Richard Newman, challenged Fore’s candidacy, claiming a person without a fixed address cannot run for office or register to vote.

But Fore’s attorneys say the electoral board’s decision violates Illinois law and nothing in it bars homeless people from ballot access just because they’re homeless.

Cook County Clerk David Orr agrees, saying in a statement he believes state law supports Fore’s case.

“Just as homeless voters deserve the right to cast ballots, homeless candidates have a right to run for office,” Orr said. “At a time when more and more Americans are losing their homes, it is imperative they not also lose access to full participation in our democracy – either as voters or officeholders.”

Orr’s support is key, Griffin said.

“I think his perspective is obviously valuable,” Griffin said. “We appreciate that he sees, as we do, that Dan has a right to run.”

Fore collected 800 signatures from Oak Park residents, almost double the amount he needed to be placed on the ballot, Griffin said.

Fore is also represented by the Law Project of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.


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Here’s an article that counters some of the attacks on Henrietta Hughes, a homeless woman who spoke at a town hall meeting that President Obama attended about a week ago.  The author “Cara” highlights the way that many people critical of social welfare focus solely on individual responsibility (even when virtually nothing is known about the person’s history) and neglect to examine the larger, systematic inequalities in our economy that impoverishes many people, like Hughes.  In addition, Hughes’ statement highlights the primary need of homeless individuals: housing first.

Posted by Cara, Feministe at 8:58 AM on February 16, 2009.

For those who have not heard of Henrietta Hughes, she is a homeless woman who stood up at a town hall meeting and told Barack Obama that she is unemployed and has been forced her to live in her car.  She further pleaded with the president to do something to ensure that people like her had housing:

“I have an urgent need, unemployment and homelessness, a very small vehicle for my family and I to live in,” she said. “The housing authority has two years’ waiting lists, and we need something more than the vehicle and the parks to go to. We need our own kitchen and our own bathroom. Please help.”

Now, Michelle Malkin has decided to publicly mock her with taunts like “If she had more time, she probably would have remembered to ask Obama to fill up her gas tank, too.”  She then went on to say:

Hughes didn’t explain the cause of her financial turmoil. Obama didn’t ask. And if we conservatives dare to question the circumstances — and the underlying assumption that it is government’s (that is, taxpayers’) role to bail her out — we’ll be lambasted as cruel haters of the downtrodden.

[. . .]

Well, pardon my unbending belief in fairness and personal responsibility, but why should my tax dollars go to feed the housing entitlement beast?

Indeed, why should housing be considered a right?  After all, what does my housing say about my personal class status and how much better I am than other people, if there aren’t those other people out there who don’t have a place to live at all?

The worst part is that Malkin isn’t alone.  From Limbaugh falsely saying that Hughes “ask[ed] for a car” to others claiming that Hughes is “milking the system,” there’s no shortage of people who want to bring down the woman who had the potential to a far more sympathetic Joe the Plumber — an everyday American who is actually negatively affected by the economic policies of our government.

And they can get away with it!  I just, honestly, do not understand.  Are people like Malkin really so privileged and entitled themselves that they just do not comprehend the very concept of housing not owned by the person living in it — and that therefore “I need a place to live” does not equal “buy me a new house, please” — or do they just really think that no, if you’re not as fortunate as the rest of us, you really do deserve to live on the street, and as a neighbor I have absolutely no responsibility for what happens to you?

On second thought, I don’t know that I want the answer to that.

Via Womanist Musings


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Some are blaming the current financial crisis on the poor.  This is not only wrong but offensive.

Newsweek has a good article outlining the attacks and placing the blame where it belongs.

Daniel Gross
Newsweek Web Exclusive
Oct 7, 2008 | Updated: 12:58 p.m. ET Oct 7, 2008

We’ve now entered a new stage of the financial crisis: the ritual assigning of blame. It began in earnest with Monday’s congressional roasting of Lehman Brothers CEO Richard Fuld, and continued on Tuesday with Capitol Hill solons delving into the failure of AIG. On the Republican side of Congress, in the right-wing financial media (which is to say the financial media), and in certain parts of the op-ed-o-sphere, there’s a consensus emerging that the whole mess should be laid at the feet of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the failed mortgage giants, and the Community Reinvestment Act, a law passed during the Carter administration. The CRA, which was amended in the 1990s and this decade, requires banks-which had a long, distinguished history of not making loans to minorities-to make more efforts to do so.

The thesis is laid out almost daily on The Wall Street Journal editorial page and in the National Review. Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer provides an excellent example, writingthat “much of this crisis was brought upon us by the good intentions of good people.” He continues: “For decades, starting with Jimmy Carter’s Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, there has been bipartisan agreement to use government power to expand homeownership to people who had been shut out for economic reasons or, sometimes, because of racial and ethnic discrimination. What could be a more worthy cause? But it led to tremendous pressure on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac-which in turn pressured banks and other lenders-to extend mortgages to people who were borrowing over their heads. That’s called subprime lending. It lies at the root of our current calamity.” The subtext: if only Congress didn’t force banks to lend money to poor minorities, the Dow would be well on its way to 36,000. Or, as Fox Business Channel’s Neil Cavuto put it: “I don’t remember a clarion call that said: Fannie and Freddie are a disaster. Loaning to minorities and risky folks is a disaster.”

Let me get this straight. Investment banks and insurance companies run by centimillionaires blow up, and it’s the fault of Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and poor minorities? (more…)

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Today the Census Bureau released findings on household income and poverty for 2007

The City of Buffalo, which ranked as the second poorest big city in America based on 2006 numbers, dropped one spot to number three behind the cities of Detroit, MI and Cleveland, OH.  Buffalo had a poverty rate of 29.9 percent based on 2006 census numbers and saw that rate drop to 28.7 percent for the overall population based on the new 2007 data.

The City of Buffalo has seen little to no improvement in its poverty level in several years and seems firmly entrenched in a battle for the bottom.

According to Bill O’Connell, Executive Director of the Homeless Alliance, the numbers highlight a lack of vision and political will to improve the lives of Buffalonians.

“The fact that so many children are growing up in poverty is a disgrace.  Some will try to spin these numbers as an improvement but lets keep the political back slapping to a minimum. These numbers are not numbers to be applauded. The high rate of poverty in Buffalo represents people who need real economic development that invests in people, small businesses, and neighborhoods. Hard-working families in Buffalo deserve better. The economic prosperity of all residents of Buffalo should be the lens by which we make all of our decisions as a community,” said O’Connell

According to the Alliance, economic development and prosperity can be achieved if the entire community comes together to right-size the city, take advantage of  the community’s assets and invests in neighborhood based small and medium size businesses rather than seeking silver bullet solutions to improving the economy.

The new report can be found at the following link:

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Last August the City of Buffalo was ranked as the Second Poorest Big City in America based 2006 Census numbers.  New numbers are expected to be released tomorrow.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has issued a report outlining what to look for in tomorrows numbers.

“On August 26 the Census Bureau will release findings on household income and poverty for 2007. These figures may well show that median income increased modestly and poverty declined modestly in 2007, the typical pattern for years well into an economic expansion. While improvements in incomes and poverty would certainly be good news, they should be viewed within the context of the expansion as a whole. 2007 marked the sixth – and probably the last – full year of the expansion, which began in late 2001. (See box on next page.) During the expansion’s first several years, median incomes fell, while poverty rose. (See Figure 1).

In recent economic cycles, incomes have often fallen and poverty risen for a year or two after a recession ends, but the post-2001 expansion took longer than previous ones to show improvements in these areas.

As a result, the 2007 figures may well show something unprecedented. For the first time on record, poverty and the median income of working-age households may be worse at the end of a multi-year economic expansion than they were at the bottom of the previous recession. That would be an unparalleled and troubling sign of the limits of recent economic growth.”

You can view the full report by clicking  here.

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It should not be surprising that, in the currently NYS fiscal crisis, those who will be hardest hit are lower-income Americans, living paycheck to paycheck, and struggling to keep up with daily cost of living. What could help alleviate the burden is by making richer New Yorkers – those who make over $1 million per year – bear more of the burden for state income taxes.

Not only is it good sense, but just such a notion has widespread support by New York voters. See below


“By a 78 – 18 percent margin voters support raising the state income tax on
people who make more than $1 million a year. Even Republicans support this tax
hike 56 – 36 percent. On other budget questions:
Voters prefer 56 – 32 percent cutting services rather than raising taxes;
If they must raise taxes, voters prefer 58 – 32 percent raising the state
sales tax rather than the state income tax..”

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