Pam Fessler http://wemu.org en Summer Program For Hungry Kids Gets Creative With Food Delivery http://wemu.org/post/summer-program-hungry-kids-gets-creative-food-delivery More than 21 million children get free or reduced priced meals during the school year. But in the summer, that number drops to only three million.<p>The big question is what happens to all the other children. Do they get enough, and the right food, to eat?<p>This summer, government agencies and <a href="http://www.ymca.net/summer-food-program">non-profit groups</a> are making a massive push to get millions of meals to kids who might otherwise go hungry as part of the nationwide <a href="http://www.fns.usda.gov/sfsp/summer-food-service-program-sfsp">summer nutrition program</a>. Wed, 23 Jul 2014 21:14:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 49257 at http://wemu.org Summer Program For Hungry Kids Gets Creative With Food Delivery How Banning One Question Could Help Ex-Offenders Land A Job http://wemu.org/post/how-banning-one-question-could-help-ex-offenders-land-job Washington, D.C., is expected to join four states and several cities soon in prohibiting companies from asking job applicants — up front — if they have a criminal record.<p>It's part of a growing movement called Ban the Box, a reference to that box on a job application form that asks, "Have you ever been convicted of a crime?"<p>Advocates for the laws say having to check the box prevents many ex-offenders from getting a fair shot at a job.<p>Chearie Phelps-El says it happened to her. Mon, 14 Jul 2014 07:28:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 48723 at http://wemu.org How Banning One Question Could Help Ex-Offenders Land A Job A Campaign To House The Homeless Reaches A Milestone http://wemu.org/post/campaign-house-homeless-reaches-milestone Mallyveen Teah, 53, has been homeless or couch surfing on and off for the past 25 years. Now, he walks from his job at a construction site in Arlington, Va., to his new home, a one-bedroom apartment.<p>"Something as simple as giving a person a set of keys to their own place makes a huge difference in terms of their outlook on life, the world," he says.<p>Teah is <a href="http://100khomes.org/" target="_blank">part of a campaign launched by a nonprofit group</a> in New York four years ago to permanently house 100,000 homeless people. Wed, 11 Jun 2014 21:10:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 47182 at http://wemu.org A Campaign To House The Homeless Reaches A Milestone Economic Upswing Has Fewer Americans Receiving Food Stamps http://wemu.org/post/economic-upswing-has-fewer-americans-receiving-food-stamps Critics of the food stamp program have been alarmed in recent years by its rapid growth. Last year, about 1 in 7 people in the U.S. received food stamps, or SNAP benefits, as they're called. That's almost 48 million people, a record high.<p>But the numbers <a href="http://www.fns.usda.gov/pd/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-snap">have started</a> to drop. In February, the last month for which figures were available, 1.6 million fewer people received food stamps than at the peak in December 2012, according to the U.S. Thu, 29 May 2014 22:15:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 46603 at http://wemu.org Economic Upswing Has Fewer Americans Receiving Food Stamps Lack Of Affordable Housing Puts The Squeeze On Poor Families http://wemu.org/post/lack-affordable-housing-puts-squeeze-poor-families The U.S. is in the midst of what Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan calls the "worst rental affordability crisis" ever. Poor families are being hit the hardest: An overwhelming majority spend more than half of their incomes on rent. Tue, 27 May 2014 07:23:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 46435 at http://wemu.org Lack Of Affordable Housing Puts The Squeeze On Poor Families Poverty, A Frustrating Mix Of Bad Choices And Bad Luck http://wemu.org/post/poverty-frustrating-mix-bad-choices-and-bad-luck Stories about poverty can evoke strong reactions, in part because Americans are conflicted about the topic. Both bad circumstances and bad choices can be the cause. Sun, 18 May 2014 11:41:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 46029 at http://wemu.org One Family's Story Shows How The Cycle Of Poverty Is Hard To Break http://wemu.org/post/one-familys-story-shows-how-cycle-poverty-hard-break Desiree Metcalf's story is heartbreaking, but among the 46 million Americans who are poor today, her story is not unique.<p>Metcalf is 24 years old.<p>She's the mother of three little girls — ages 6, 4 and 2. They all have different fathers.<p>"That about sums me up, I think," she says.<p>Metcalf is sitting on the floor of her two-bedroom apartment in the small town of Bath, in western New York. A fish tank gurgles in the background. A tiny kitten peeks out from under the furniture. Wed, 07 May 2014 21:11:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 45526 at http://wemu.org One Family's Story Shows How The Cycle Of Poverty Is Hard To Break The Changing Picture Of Poverty: Hard Work Is 'Just Not Enough' http://wemu.org/post/changing-picture-poverty-hard-work-just-not-enough There are 46 million poor people in the U.S., and millions more hover right above the poverty line — but go into many of their homes, and you might find a flat-screen TV, a computer or the latest sneakers.<p>And that raises a question: What does it mean to be poor in America today?<p>Take Victoria Houser, a 22-year-old single mother who lives in Painted Post, a small town in western New York. At first glance, her life doesn't look all that bad. She lives in a cozy two-bedroom apartment. She has food, furniture and toys for her almost 2-year-old son, Brayden. Wed, 07 May 2014 07:34:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 45482 at http://wemu.org The Changing Picture Of Poverty: Hard Work Is 'Just Not Enough' As States Vote In Primaries, Voter ID Laws Come Under Scrutiny http://wemu.org/post/states-vote-primaries-voter-id-laws-come-under-scrutiny Three states are holding primaries Tuesday, and voters might understandably be confused over what kind of identification they need to show at the polls.<p>In Indiana, it has to be a government-issued photo ID. In Ohio, you can get by with a utility bill. In North Carolina, you won't need a photo ID until 2016. But that law, along with ID laws in many other states, faces an uncertain future.<p>"We have Florida, Georgia, Indiana," says Wendy Underhill, of the National Conference of State Legislatures. Tue, 06 May 2014 20:03:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 45458 at http://wemu.org As States Vote In Primaries, Voter ID Laws Come Under Scrutiny Finding A More Nuanced View Of Poverty's 'Black Hole' http://wemu.org/post/finding-more-nuanced-view-povertys-black-hole Ask Anne Valdez what poverty means for her, and her answer will describe much more than a simple lack of money.<p>"It's like being stuck in a black hole," says Valdez, 47, who is unemployed and trying to raise a teenage son in Coney Island, New York City. Wed, 02 Apr 2014 10:16:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 43779 at http://wemu.org Voting Rights Fight Takes New Direction http://wemu.org/post/voting-rights-fight-takes-new-direction It's that time again, when primary voters start casting their ballots for the midterm elections. As in recent years, voters face new rules and restrictions, including the need in 16 states to show a photo ID.<p>But this year, some voting rights activists say they're seeing a change — <a href="http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/voter-id.aspx#Details">fewer new restrictions</a> and, in some places, even a hint of bipartisanship.<p>Although that wasn't the case last month in Ohio, when the Legislature voted along party lines to eliminate a week of early voting. Thu, 27 Mar 2014 21:05:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 43516 at http://wemu.org Voting Rights Fight Takes New Direction States' Rebellion Against Food Stamp Cuts Grows http://wemu.org/post/states-rebellion-against-food-stamp-cuts-grows When Congress passed a farm bill earlier this year, it expected to save $8.6 billion over 10 years by tightening what many say is a loophole in the food stamp, or SNAP, program. Thu, 13 Mar 2014 22:54:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 42809 at http://wemu.org States' Rebellion Against Food Stamp Cuts Grows In Crimea, Public Relations Can Be As Dangerous As Politics http://wemu.org/post/crimea-public-relations-can-be-dangerous-politics Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.<p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>And I'm Robert Siegel.<p>Crimea votes this coming Sunday on whether to claim independence from Ukraine. Polls indicate the measure is sure to pass. But pro-Russian politicians are leaving nothing to chance. Mon, 10 Mar 2014 20:22:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 42598 at http://wemu.org Groups Use Cash Prizes To Encourage Saving http://wemu.org/post/groups-use-cash-prizes-encourage-saving When it comes to getting ahead in the world, a lack of savings can be a big hurdle, especially for low-income families. Most don't have enough money set aside for emergencies, let alone for college or a house. Some people think the answer is to make savings more fun, like the lottery, with the chance to win big prizes.<p>It's called prize-linked savings, something that's been available in Great Britain for decades. Mon, 10 Mar 2014 20:22:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 42600 at http://wemu.org Groups Use Cash Prizes To Encourage Saving Can Exercising Seniors Help Revive A Brooklyn Neighborhood? http://wemu.org/post/can-exercising-seniors-help-revive-brooklyn-neighborhood The Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y., is known for many things, among them huge public housing projects, extremely high poverty and crime. Last summer, a one-year-old boy was shot in the head and killed as he sat in a stroller in the neighborhood.<p>But that's one side of life in Brownsville. Sun, 23 Feb 2014 10:21:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 41939 at http://wemu.org Can Exercising Seniors Help Revive A Brooklyn Neighborhood? Election Panel: Long Lines Were Management Problem http://wemu.org/post/election-panel-long-lines-were-management-problem The commission President Obama appointed last year to figure out how to fix long lines at the polls and other election problems has sought to steer clear of the many partisan land mines surrounding how Americans vote.<p>The two co-chairmen of <a href="http://www.supportthevoter.gov/">the panel</a> continued to that navigation Wednesday as they presented their unanimous recommendations to the Senate Rules Committee.<p>When asked by Democrat Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota whether some states were doing things intentionally to disenfranchise voters — like limiting early-voting days — commission co-ch Wed, 12 Feb 2014 22:11:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 41483 at http://wemu.org Election Panel: Long Lines Were Management Problem Nonprofits Pull In Investors To Tackle Housing Affordability http://wemu.org/post/nonprofits-pull-investors-tackle-housing-affordability One of the biggest problems facing low-income families in the U.S. today is a lack of affordable housing.<p>According to <a href="http://www.jchs.harvard.edu/americas-rental-housing">a recent report</a> by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard, more than 7 million low-income households now spend more than half of their income for rent, which leaves little money for anything else. And the situation is expected to get worse.<p>Now, a coalition of nonprofit groups is trying to turn things around with a new, more business-like approach to buying real estate. Tue, 11 Feb 2014 22:08:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 41430 at http://wemu.org Nonprofits Pull In Investors To Tackle Housing Affordability Shorter Lines? For Elections Commission, It's Common Sense http://wemu.org/post/shorter-lines-elections-commission-its-common-sense Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.<p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>And I'm Robert Siegel. Remember the scenes of those endless voting lines in the 2012 presidential election? Some voters waited for six hours or more to cast their ballots. Well, now a presidential commission has come up with some ways to fix the problem. The panel, appointed by President Obama himself, suggests that more early voting and better voting technology would help. Wed, 22 Jan 2014 22:01:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 40516 at http://wemu.org In Appalachia, Poverty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder http://wemu.org/post/appalachia-poverty-eye-beholder <em>President Lyndon B. Johnson went to eastern Kentucky in 1964 to promote his War on Poverty. But when he did, he opened a wound that remains raw today. People in the region say they're tired of always being depicted as poor, so when NPR's Pam Fessler went to Appalachia to report on how the War on Poverty is going, she was warned that people would be reluctant to talk. Instead, she got an earful. </em><p>Lee Mueller has lived in Martin County, Ky., for much of his life, and he covered President Johnson's visit there as a young reporter. Sat, 18 Jan 2014 15:56:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 40375 at http://wemu.org Coal-Mining Area Grapples With How To Keep 'Bright Young Minds' http://wemu.org/post/coal-mining-area-grapples-how-keep-bright-young-minds <em>Fifty years ago today, President Lyndon Johnson stood before Congress and declared an "unconditional war on poverty in America." His arsenal included new programs: Medicaid, Medicare, Head Start, food stamps, more spending on education and tax cuts to help create jobs.</em><p><em>In the coming year, NPR will explore the impact and extent of poverty in the U.S., and what can be done to reduce it.</em><p>When President Johnson waged war against poverty in 1964, he traveled to Martin County, Ky., an Appalachian coal-mining region with a poverty rate of more than 60 percent, to promote his cam Wed, 08 Jan 2014 22:40:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 39982 at http://wemu.org Coal-Mining Area Grapples With How To Keep 'Bright Young Minds' Kentucky County That Gave War On Poverty A Face Still Struggles http://wemu.org/post/kentucky-county-gave-war-poverty-face-still-struggles <em>Fifty years ago today, President Lyndon Johnson stood before Congress and declared an "unconditional war on poverty in America." His arsenal included new programs: Medicaid, Medicare, Head Start, food stamps, more spending on education, and tax cuts to help create jobs. </em><p><em>At the time, 1 in 5 Americans was poor. Today, things are better, but tens of millions of Americans are still living at or below the poverty level. That raises the question: Did the war on poverty fail? Wed, 08 Jan 2014 08:29:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 39946 at http://wemu.org Kentucky County That Gave War On Poverty A Face Still Struggles Loophole Or Workaround? (Food Stamp Edition) http://wemu.org/post/food-stamp-program-be-cut-how-much In the debate over whether to cut the food stamp program, members of Congress are looking at two pretty arcane provisions in the law. People who want to cut food stamps call the provisions loopholes. People who don't want to cut food stamps say they're efficient ways to get benefits to those who need them most.<p><strong>1. Categorical Eligibility</strong><p>People who qualify for one means-tested program — like welfare — can automatically qualify for other programs — like food stamps. This is called "categorical eligibility."<p>Jessica Shahin, who oversees the food stamp program at the U.S. Wed, 04 Dec 2013 10:03:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 38545 at http://wemu.org Loophole Or Workaround? (Food Stamp Edition) I Applied For An Online Payday Loan. Here's What Happened Next http://wemu.org/post/i-applied-online-payday-loan-heres-what-happened-next Payday lenders made about $49 billion in high-interest loans last year. More than a third of those loans were made online. I wondered what happens when you apply for such a loan, so I decided to find out.<p>In the course of reporting a story earlier this year, I logged on to a site called <a href="etaxloan.com">eTaxLoan.com</a> and filled out an application.<p>I asked for $500 and, to be safe, I made up an address, a name (Mary) and a Social Security number. Wed, 06 Nov 2013 08:04:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 37339 at http://wemu.org I Applied For An Online Payday Loan. Here's What Happened Next The Poverty Rate Ignores Programs That Fight Poverty http://wemu.org/post/poverty-rate-ignores-programs-fight-poverty New U.S. poverty numbers come out on Tuesday. But what, exactly, do those numbers measure?<p>Consider the case of Ann Valdez. She's a 47-year-old single mom who lives in an apartment in Brooklyn with her teenage son. She doesn't have a job. She gets a cash payment of about $130 every two weeks from the government. That's all that's counted for her income in the government's poverty measure.<p>But Valdez also gets $367 a month in food stamps. The government pays $283 a month for her apartment, which she says would rent for $1,100 or so on the open market. Mon, 16 Sep 2013 20:44:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 35069 at http://wemu.org The Poverty Rate Ignores Programs That Fight Poverty A College Kid, A Single Mom, And The Problem With The Poverty Line http://wemu.org/post/college-kid-single-mom-and-problem-poverty-line <strong>The College Kid</strong><p>Rico Saccoccio is a junior at Fordham University in the Bronx. He's from a middle-class family in Connecticut and he spent the summer living at home with his parents, who cover about $15,000 a year in his college costs.<p>According to the U.S. government, Saccoccio is living in poverty. The $8,000 he earns doing odd jobs puts him well below the $11,945 poverty threshold for an individual. In fact, the U.S. Tue, 27 Aug 2013 04:16:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 34134 at http://wemu.org A College Kid, A Single Mom, And The Problem With The Poverty Line