By Kathryn J. Edin, H. Luke Shaefer
Jessica Compton’s relations of 4 might haven't any funds source of revenue until she donated plasma two times per week at her neighborhood donation middle in Tennessee. Modonna Harris and her teenage daughter Brianna in Chicago frequently haven't any foodstuff yet spoiled milk on weekends.
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Extra info for 2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America
Yet economic need is readily apparent in the city’s trailer parks, cheap apartments, and government housing developments. Even farther south, the Mississippi Delta has long been among America’s poorest places, dubbed “the most southern place on earth” by the historian James C. Cobb, due to the fact that its cultural and economic history is so characteristic of the region. Once dependent on generations of black laborers to plant and harvest its highly profitable cash crop, cotton, the Delta’s economy has been largely given over to production agriculture—more often corn and soybeans now—which does very little to support local employment.
A look at government data on those receiving SNAP revealed a large increase in the number of families with no other source of income. And reports from the nation’s public schools showed that more and more children were facing homelessness. Taken together, these findings seemed to confirm the rise of a new form of poverty that defies every assumption about economic, political, and social progress made over the past three decades. Trends Meet Real Lives Statistics can help identify troubling trends like these, but they can’t tell us much about what’s going on beneath the numbers.
So many people are on the waiting list for housing assistance in Chicago that no new applications are being accepted. The only safety net program available to her at present is SNAP, which went from about $160 to $367 a month when her earnings fell to zero. But that difference doesn’t make up for Modonna’s lost wages. Not to mention the fact that SNAP is meant to be used only to purchase food, not to pay the rent, keep the utility company happy, or purchase school supplies. Thus, as Modonna’s earnings fell from $17,500 to nothing, the annual cash and food stamps she could claim from the government also fell, from $5,700 to $4,400.