News / USA

Charities Struggle to Cope With Rising US Poverty

Kane Farabaugh

Recent U.S. Census Bureau figures show that more than 46 million Americans now live in poverty.  That’s the highest amount on record since the agency began tracking poverty rates in 1959.  Additionally, about 50 million Americans are living without health insurance.  The increasing number of people seeking assistance is a growing concern for agencies helping the poor.

Gina Zbikowski says struggling to find a job while living on a meager disability allowance is not the American dream. “To me the American dream was owning your own home, owning your own business, having your own car, you know, living life to its absolute fullest.  I can’t even do that now… I can’t even dream about that now," she said.

Gina’s boyfriend John Ohlerich works a part-time job with no health insurance.  And he has epilepsy. “The prescription is really expensive, and I pay for it every month.  When I don’t have money to pay for it, I have to rely on my grandmother.  And so that’s money right out of my pocket right there because I have to have my medication, I have to pay for my doctor's visit, otherwise, I don’t want to die," he said.

One out of six Americans, like Gina and John, lives in poverty.

“Poverty is a struggle every day to decide if you put food on the table or if you pay your rent, if you can feed your children or buy them medicine," said Kim Perez, who runs the People Resource Center in DuPage County, Illinois. They operate the food pantry that helps Gina and John get by. “People who have led successful lives, who were educated, are now finding themselves in poverty because they cannot bring in enough, their unemployment benefits have ended and there are not enough federal, state or local programs, to be quite honest, that are available to help support their needs," she said.

With more people living in poverty, aid agencies find their resources stretched thin.

Lisa Mayse-Lillig is with Heartland Human Care Services, a suburban Chicago agency that tries to prevent homelessness.  She says only a small fraction of those who need help get assistance. “The dollars just aren’t as plentiful as they used to be.  So as those funding sources dwindle, the need increases, and the differential between those two things just gets bigger and bigger," she said.

Gina Zbikowski knows there are limits to the help agencies can provide.  She says she would rather have a job so she can take care of herself. “I’m hoping one of these days to get out of this, but things look grim right now," she said.

Zbikowski says unless something is done to reverse the unemployment rate, now just above nine percent, the lines of people looking for help will continue to grow.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid