Poverty affects all of us, every day, many times in ways that we may not recognize. Here’s just a handful:
1. Your Wallet
The American Psychological Association estimates that child poverty costs the U.S. economy $500 billion a year. That touches the lives of anyone in the country.
2. Your Work Life
The National Low Income Housing Coalition reports that renters need to earn around $21.21 per hour to afford a simple two-bedroom rental home—the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. When people don’t have a home, it’s harder to maintain employment—your place of work and services, and industries that you use all suffer when their staff is struggling to pay rent.
3. Your Hospital Bills
According to The Kaiser J Henry Family Foundation in 2017, the number of uninsured Americans increased to more than half a million in 2017. This results in more people relying on Medicare and Medicaid, and consequently raises healthcare costs for everyone.
4. Your Parents and Grandparents
According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2017 median annual income for home health aides in the United States was just $23,130. That’s not enough to own a home and even makes renting difficult. If the people responsible for your loved one’s care has a healthy home life, so will your loved one that uses home health aides.
5. Your Community
Homelessness is growing, and an estimated 553,742 people are experiencing homelessness on any given night in the U.S. When people can’t find an affordable home, they rely on friends, relatives, and social services—the community. When more people own homes more lives are stable, and that makes your entire community better.
January is Poverty Awareness Month, and this is a special month for Mercy Housing and the people we serve. You may know someone living in poverty and not even realize it. An incredibly useful step toward ending poverty is understanding it.
At Mercy Housing, our goal for Poverty Awareness Month is simple—empathy. The ability to empathize with people experiencing poverty is vital to understanding the causes, solutions, and real side of this issue.