Federal minimum wage issue stalls, states and cities take action

As the 2014 moves forward, some states and local cities are changing the minimum wage. Harvardpolitics.com photo

Throughout the country many states and local municipalities are raising the minimum wage by 50 cents or up to $15 per hour.  So why is the federal government ignoring the wishes of the American people to raise the minimum wage?  To read more, CNNMoney.com gives the details here.

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Research says without government benefits U.S.’s poverty line would be twice as high

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The war on poverty declared by President Lyndon B. Johnson 50 years ago might at first look like a failure while 15 percent of Americans in 2013 are living below the poverty line.  But without the armor of government benefits, a Columbia University study states America’s poverty line could have been as high as 31 percent.

New York Times:  In the War on Poverty, a Dogged Adversary

By Eduardo Porter, The New York Times

“… Without the panoply of government benefits — like food stamps, subsidized school lunches and the earned-income tax credit, which provides extra money to household heads earning low wages — the nation’s poverty rate last year would have reached almost 31 percent, up from 25 percent in 1967, according to the research at Columbia …”  To read the complete article, link here.

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Entrepreneurship and urban justice planned for rebirth of bankrupt Detroit

Once the mecca of the American automobile industry, Detroit has watched the foreign car market invade the American landscape and with it, the love of cars built in America.  Slowly, Detroit residents exodus the city, jobs were slashed and local leaders were left without a dime.  Today, with a population of  300,000, only 27 jobs are available per 100 people in the city.  Even with the federal bailout to insure the American auto industry’s demise, the city of Detroit never recovered.  Recent headlines pronounce bankruptcy for the Motor City, while other U.S. cities struggle not hit rock bottom along with Detroit.

But urban developers have plans to re-energize the city, promote economic growth and bring back home ownership to this once thriving metropolis.  Watch the TED video and listen to Toni Griffin, an urban planner, speaking in New York City, as she reassures audience members that entrepreneurship and implementing great change will reinvent Detroit.

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$Millions needed for homeless families in Massachusetts

Lynnicia, 22, and her 15-month-old son, Myshon, were forced to seek emergency shelter after their federal rent subsidy expired and their landlord raised the rent to market rate. With no shelter space available, they were placed in a Brighton motel. Jesse Costa/WBUR photo

Two years ago the state of Massachusetts was distributing $200,000 for families in transition from homelessness.  The program is called Residential Assistance for Families in Transition.  Today, according to the article below, $10 million is require for homeless family assistance.  So, what is going on?  More rental evictions, more long-term unemployment, the end of federal benefits or a spike in rental cost?  For many families, the Great Recession is not over.

WUBR Boston:  Soaring Rents And Stagnant Incomes Leave Record Number Of Mass. Families Homeless

By Bruce Gellerman, Boston NPR News

“… The housing office has contracts with permanent shelters around the state to provide emergency assistance for 2,000 families. In normal times, the safety net works, serving homeless parents and their children under 21. But, Gornstein says, these are not normal times …”  To read the complete article, link here.

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Many U.S. families losing ground against the poverty line

If you have an emergency fund or savings for unexpected car repairs, medical bills or want to help a person in need, it might be as easy as making a digital payment or sending a cashier check to pay want needs to be paid.  But if you are living on a fixed income in combination with government assistance, these expected debts might throw a family’s budget and security into a tailspin. Do you pay for the car repairs because it is necessary to get to work? Or do you pass on going to the doctor’s because the bill would interfere with putting food on the table?  The whole idea of living paycheck to paycheck cannot alter from its assigned rhythm, otherwise, the accumulation of indebtedness could become all-consuming in your life. The balance is shot. You are swimming against the strong current leading to the poverty line.

Northwest Herald:  Living on the Poverty Line

By Emily K. Coleman, Shaw Media

” … But the other problem has been a series of minor disasters that chip away at any earnings she might have saved: the washer and dryer breaking down or a broken brake line on a car. There was the pipe that burst two Octobers ago and flooded the basement with 10 inches of water, ruining baby pictures and family mementos …”  To read the complete article, link here.

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NJ.com: As poverty rises, legal assistance dwindles for N.J.’s poor

Capital building in Trenton, N.J. Flickr photo

By Salvador Rizzo, The Star-Ledger

Trenton, N.J. – … “Every year, hundreds of thousands of New Jersey’s poorest residents run into legal problems that threaten to derail their lives, but only one in six will get a lawyer to fight for them, according to Legal Services of New Jersey, a network of nonprofit organizations that provides free legal assistance for the poor in civil cases such as fighting evictions or securing restraining orders.” … to read the complete article, link here.

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