Monday, February 20, 2012

Poverty is More Complex than Income

More evidence of complexity was revealed last week, when the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), released its report at the Communities Foundation of Texas, here in Dallas.

The report shows that 20% of Dallas households a 'just a crisis away from financial disaster'. This is a new spin on the old 'one check away from homelessness' argument of the early '90's. But more importantly, it tells us that rising above poverty isn't as simply as 'getting a job'. The usual financial counsel that suggests that households need six months of income saved to survive in case of emergency is confronted by the reality that 39% don't have the $4362 needed to sustain them in crisis at the federal poverty level  - and that's higher than the national average. That's a number worse in black and Hispanic communities where the number of asset poor households is 50%.

It certainly a matter of income. It's also a matter of financial education. It's also a matter of political will, because its important to create opportunity for whole communities.

That's hard work. It will take time. But poverty is hard, in all its forms and once fallen into, it can take generations for families to get out, unless we realize that we're all made poorer by leaving them behind.

You can read the report here...

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