What are the best ways to raise poverty awareness? Researching the poverty situation in a country is one thing; to bring about change and raise in poverty awareness is quite another. The initial onset of the US housing crises was a shock to American life. The extensive butterfly effect of the collapse was unexpected. During the mid-2000′s, the US economy suffered from the sobering effects that left many who had never before considered being poor with a new outlook on life.
The middle class has relied upon the continued annual housing market growth of 6-8% historical average as part of their retirement plan. When the housing market escalated at a rapid pace; loans were made that were based heavily on a system that was unsustainable long-term. This increased housing demand further produced larger than typical employment opportunities to support the housing market. While this bubble grew the quality of life for the middle, lower middle and lower class were at an all time high. The awareness on poverty in America appeared to decline because of the increases in lifestyle and quality of life.
After the collapse in the mid-2000’s; many found themselves in situations where their debt to income ratio was out of balance, job prospects were few, and income levels were unequal. Layoffs and unemployment rose at a rapid pace. Unemployment reports were evident on the new calculation standard which excludes those seeking a job over 6 months, people who had given up on employment, and others. Instead of reports initially helping to raise poverty awareness to the pubic, these reports were suppressing the full extent of the impact of the collapse.
Small businesses closed or cut back on their staffing larger corporations sustained long range substantial layoff schedules and replacement job creation became extinct. This left many people that held college degrees unemployed or underemployed; as they were unable to find a job at either their training, experience or education levels. People were unable to produce or replace the necessary income to sustain their current lifestyle. Families moved into temporary housing or their family car for shelter. All of the sudden this section of the population had a new awareness on poverty.
Trying to Raise Poverty Awareness
Community leaders, charities, houses of worship, and volunteers spoke out in an effort to raise poverty awareness in their communities. Many food pantries started struggling to keep up with the increased demand for help. The public outcry for health benefits increased as unemployment or under-employment limited or eliminated insurance for many families. Allocated savings and investments to provide six months of expense buffer disappeared even as people heard the recession was ending. Homes and savings vanished. This brought about a new percentage of the population that had to learn quickly about the public’s awareness on poverty and how that lack of knowledge would limit the help available to them in their time of need.
Various groups increased efforts to help raise poverty awareness by starting book clubs that read and discussed poverty and the effects of poverty in their communities. Colleges held events to raise poverty awareness by sleeping outside dorms in common areas to simulate the experience of being homeless while raising donations. There were even several groups that started a full week of activities to raise poverty awareness by simulating interactions with the public, banks, and authorities. Small businesses started food collection drives; some offering discounted services with a donation, to help the food banks make up for short falls. Yet with all these groups working diligently to raise poverty awareness, there is still a need for additional public understanding and contribution.
Awareness on poverty means an understanding that not all people living in poverty are homeless or criminals. Poverty should not and is not exclusive by race, sex, education level, or background these days. Many retired honest hardworking citizens who rely on social security are living at poverty levels. A family with two working adults that were middle class in the early-2000 could be impoverished overnight due to job loss. A neighbor that had a job loss, medical condition, or other large life event could be impoverished overnight. Many believe that poverty means people have done something to bring this on themselves; that is not necessarily the case. There are so many varied factors effecting poverty and the impoverished. Until we raise poverty awareness at an early age through educating the public, we will not be able to prevent it in future generations.