Friday, April 8, 2011

Poverty in Minnesota

I'm preparing to make presentations the next couple of Sundays at my church.  The first will be about poverty within the state of Minnesota, and a examination of what we might do to ensure that there is enough for all.  The following Sunday will be about environmental stewardship, utilizing some of the ideas I gleaned from the "Awaking the Dreamer, Changing the Dream"
In preparing for this coming Sunday's presentation I discovered the following information from A Minnesota Without Poverty website
  •    There were over 2 million visits to MN food shelves in 2008
  •    The 2009 Federal Poverty Guideline for a family of four is $22,050
  •     491,000 individuals are experiencing poverty in Minnesota.(2008 US Census bureau)
  •     Poverty rate among African Americans in Minnesota is the 3rd highest in the nation
  •     15% of the children 18 and under are experiencing poverty in Minnesota.
  •     Each night approximately 9,000 individuals are homeless in Minnesota
  •    Minnesota minimum wage is $5.25 an hour and a standard one bedroom apartment is $700 a     month
  •  45% of homeless women reported they stayed in an abusive relationship because they had nowhere else to live
  •      1 in 4 women over 16 years of age is experiencing poverty in Minnesota
The state and federal governments are now working to establish budgets. It is important to voice concern about the potential slashing of support to the most vulnerable in our society.  Low income folks don't have anywhere near the resources or influence our multinational corporations and defense industry have to influence legislation.  They don't make large contributions to support candidates, who have becoming increasingly dependent upon vast amounts of fund raising to win campaigns.  
It is frightening to think that the current president might be raising one billion dollars for his next presidential campaign. It is implausible that the  amount of money involved with American politics doesn't significantly influence future legislation.

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