Poverty Close to Home

Lizzie Faw, Journalism Student

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It’s hard to believe that there is  poverty right in your own neighborhood. According to global issues.org, 7.24 percent of the population in Perkasie lives below the poverty line, that’s 615 out of 8,476 people. Poverty describes itself as “fear of the future”, “powerlessness”, and “lack of representation”. Poverty is even present in the Pennridge School District. You never know the story behind the person you are sitting right next to. You think you may know them, but do you really?

What is the difference between homelessness and poverty? We asked a program manager at Interfaith Hospitality Network of the Mainline, Elizabeth Bertolet, how she would classify the two. She said, “Homelessness and Poverty are very different. People can be poor and not be homeless and actually people can be homeless and not poor. Believe it or not, there are people who have mental instabilities that keep them from being able to spend or learn how to manage money. Thus, they are not able to maintain housing independently and can end up living in a shelter or on the street.” Most commonly, the cause of homelessness is poverty, but it could also be lack of affordability, and unemployment. About 4 percent of the population in Perkasie is unemployed.  

Nearly 1.3 million school children worldwide will experience poverty every year. Allegra Cressman, an Executive Director at the Interfaith Hospitality Network of the Main Line, stated that, “Research shows that the younger the child is, the more traumatized they are by homelessness. High schoolers are fully aware of what is happening to their families. Being homeless and living in a shelter becomes difficult with a school and social schedule. Their routine is often very difficult and stressful because of the structure of it. They often miss out on school and social activities based on the specific shelter hours.”

Think about the income that one would make here in America, the average family of four income being about $50,000. The average for a family of four that experiences poverty, is about $20,000. Most people do not have to worry about their money situation on a day to day basis. They can go to the stores and buy something new for themselves and not have to worry about having if they will have enough money for the week. People take for granted how lucky they are and need to understand that not everyone is as fortunate as they are.