According to the Census Bureau Report, Income and Poverty in the United States: 2015, 43 million Americans live in poverty. Children make up 14 million of that number. A New York Times article discussed the report which shows 3.5 million people inched above the poverty line in 2015. It was in large part due to increased wages, jobs, hours of employment, and a decrease in gas prices. In fact, in another article by Robert Greenstein the key indicators of well-being in the Census Bureau Report all moved decisively. The number of uninsured Americans decreased, household income increased, and the poverty rate fell. The poverty rate is showing the largest improvement since 1968.
These numbers point to the real stories. Like Chevyonne Grayson, who started as a day laborer. He was paying $300 a month to sleep on someone’s couch. With the help of a training program (The Los Angeles Black Worker Center) he was able to get into the carpenter’s union. He is now able to afford housing and transportation. Christine Magee, a mother of four, joined a Family Self—Sufficiency Program in Chicago. During the program she earned a job at a veteran’s hospital with better pay, health benefits, and educational benefits. At graduation from the program she had more than $8,000 in savings for a down payment on a home.
There are proven ways to give people a hand up out of poverty. Cascade Engineering’s Welfare-to-Career program is an example of industry creating a program. Family Self Sufficiency is a HUD program that’s being used with some success, and New Creation is a series of classes from Love INC. The things that are making lasting improvements in people’s lives include training, education, programs that act as a safety net, and mentoring. We can keep moving the bubble for adults and children living in poverty. It takes all of us.