Thursday, October 4, 2012

Collective Impact, Promising Practices, Economic Opportunity

Join us October 19th for the Colorado 2019 Summit in observation of World Poverty Day at Infinity Event Center! The summit will feature Mark Kramer, co-founder and Managing Director of FSG and the author of influential publications on shared value, catalytic philanthropy, collective impact, strategic evaluation, and impact investing. Mr. Kramer will be speaking about Corporate Shared Values. Click here to read about Mark Kramer’s Shared Value Initiative with the Clinton Global Initiative. Morning bus tours to promising practices will head to Boulder County and Arapahoe county as well as WorkLife Partnership. Register here!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Guest opinion: Increasing numbers of Boulder County families are hurting

By Terry Benjamin Boulder Daily Camera

EFAA began in 1918 as a way for neighbors to help neighbors through temporary hard times. Almost daily we see news reports about the challenges facing low-income families. Visits to Emergency Family Assistance Association from Boulder and Broomfield County families have increased 24 percent in the past year. They come for food, assistance with rent, energy bills and emergency shelter.

Today, more and more of the families we help are working, but at wages too low to live on. As a result they rely on EFAA and on important public benefits such as SNAP food assistance, Medicaid and child care assistance to make ends meet every month. With well-paying jobs in short supply and costs to raise a family dramatically increasing, an increasing number of Boulder County families are hurting.

Some recent reports:

·         One in five children under five in Boulder County lives in poverty, and child poverty has increased in Colorado faster than any other state. The stress of poverty is particularly harmful to children and can have long lasting effects. Boulder County enrollments in SNAP food assistance benefits have increased 150 percent since 2008 and Medicaid enrollments have increased 63 percent.

·         Even though the Colorado economy is growing, incomes fell for the bottom four fifths of Colorado households since 2007, rising only for the top fifth. This trend is alarming and is affected by the loss of mid-wage jobs, stagnant and declining wages, underemployment and part time hours. Household incomes are not keeping up with increasing costs of housing, education, energy and health care. The Colorado minimum wage of $7.64 is not enough to keep even a single person out of poverty. If the minimum wage had kept up with inflation in the last thirty years, it would be around $11.

·         A single mother with two young children needs to earn $29/hour to be entirely self-sufficient in Boulder County, yet half of the jobs in Boulder County pay less than $25/hour. 41 percent of families with a single mother live in poverty.

·         More than one in three Boulder County renter households pay more than 50 percent of their income for housing, and rents increased more than 10 percent just in the last year. Over 1,750 school-age children in Boulder County are without permanent homes.

The recession has affected many families and businesses but poverty is not just a result of the recent downturn. There are broader issues of economic and public policy at play. Of the jobs with the highest projected growth in Boulder County in the next ten years, one in four are in sectors such as leisure/hospitality, retail, and personal services that pay less than $15/hour, frequently without benefits. One quarter of Boulder County's mid-wage jobs have forever disappeared in the last ten years. Colorado's state budget is constrained so that education and important work supports such as the earned income tax credit and child care assistance have been cut. In the U.S. Congress, the House voted to cut over $16 billion from nutrition assistance, and cut Pell Grants that reduce the cost of higher education, help for the long-term unemployed, and assistance for rental housing.

There is not a simple answer to poverty, but we know that it takes a combination of individual commitment, support from the faith community and community organizations like EFAA, an adequate safety net, good education, access to health care, more jobs that pay decent wages and benefits, and possibilities to accumulate assets and retirement savings.

We have to face these economic and political realities. Ignoring these trends, blaming working families, walking away from support of effective public programs, cutting education and other investments, and continuing to push the problem to local governments and faith-based and community nonprofits cannot get us there.

Terry Benjamin is Executive Director, Emergency Family Assistance Association.

DeAnne Butterfield

1674 Yellow  Pine Ave

Boulder, CO  80304


Friday, September 7, 2012

Sunday, Sept. 9-National Grandparent's Day

The Colorado Center on Law and Policy released the Elder Economic Security Standard Index in July 2011. Highlighted in the report are the costs for "aging in community" (which 90%) of elders want and the costs for aging in nursing institutions.

"The need for home and community-based long-term care can double or even triple an elder’s expenses. Adding a low level of care for one person adds $7,920 per year to living costs. Requiring a medium level of care adds $21,008 and needing a high level of care adds $36,144 to $43,632. As a comparison, national market surveys report an average annual rate of $72, 234 for nursing facility care (semi-private room)..." (page xi) 

This year, the folks at Generations United have created an infographic demonstrating other opportunities that come with keeping our seniors in community as vital members of family. Click here for a snapshot of the community foundation that is laid when aging is celebrated. 
We know what works and how it works. The 2012 Community Assessment of Latino Older Adults in Metro Denver also reminds us to regard our elders as community assets and significant components of family and community stabilization.
"Latino older adults have positive perceptions on aging and appreciate the wisdom that comes with age. For them, it is important to remain engaged and active, have good health, maintain independence, and have family support." (page 3)

The conversation regarding community-based long-term will continue. Do something GRAND this Sunday and look around your neighborhoods for seniors. Chat with them for five minutes about what their needs are and then let us know.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Poverty and the Pentagon-Call to Action

Coalition on Human Needs
Organizations:  Add Your Name to SAVE Vital Services and Prevent Rising Poverty

Please sign a letter to Congress - Deadline: Monday, September 10
Read the letter.  Sign the letter.

There are millions of reasons to sign this letter.  Here are just some:

  • 1.5 million fewer low-income people provided anti-poverty help by community action agencies.
  • 750,000 fewer infants, toddlers, and moms receiving WIC.
  • More than 460,000 adults and youth will lose employment/training services, including 51,000 veterans.
  • 734,000 fewer households with home heating/cooling assistance.
  • 1.8 million fewer low-income schoolchildren with reading and math help.
  • 185,000 fewer low-income households will receive rental vouchers.

All these and more vulnerable people will lose vital services if Congress allows automatic cuts to kick in starting in January.  At the same time, Pentagon cutbacks are scheduled.  And Congress has to decide whether to let all the Bush-era tax cuts expire, let just the extra breaks for the top 2 percent expire, or extend all of them. 

The letter calls upon Congress to set the right priorities - budget plans should protect low-income people and invest in job creation, with national priorities paid for through increased fair revenues and responsible savings from reducing waste in the Pentagon or other areas.

These principles were developed over a year ago in a statement signed by more than 1,600 organizations under the name Strengthening America's Values and Economy (SAVE) for All.  We welcome returning and new signers.

Why is this letter so important?  There are Members of Congress* who are determined to protect needed services by insisting on ending some of the upper-income tax breaks.  They oppose protecting the Pentagon by cutting human needs programs.  Of course, military contractors, financial interests, and right wing ideologues are pushing in the other direction.  Large numbers of organizations on this letter will show that groups representing millions nationwide want the right priorities - and are paying attention.  That's the kind of support our allies need to point to.

We can use your help:  please forward this email to your networks, lists, affiliates, friends...
Signing this letter does not commit your organization to anything except agreement with the letter. 

If you've already signed this letter, thank you so much!

Speak for Yourself!  If you're not authorized to sign for an organization, you can still speak out!  Click here to send an email to your Representative and Senators. 
(And remember: 
please don't sign the organizational letter if you're not authorized to do so - it just slows us down.)

* Senator Patty Murray is one such determined Member of Congress.  If you didn't hear her in last week's webinar, you can listen to the recording (her statement is in the first 10 or 15 minutes):  click here to listen. 

And here is a collection of useful background information.

Monday, August 20, 2012

August Meeting in Arvada

The Economic Opportunity

Poverty Reduction

Task Force

REMINDER: “Creating a New Plan-Strategies for Helping Families Meet Basic Needs” 2012 summer meeting.

The focus of this next meeting is reviewing strategies for mitigating hunger, increasing affordable housing and accessing funds to meet basic needs.

The meeting will be from 3:30-5:30 at the Arvada Food Bank. Carpooling is available from CCLP address or every driver will be reimbursed for mileage.

Date:         Friday August 24, 2012
Time:         3:30 pm-5:30 pm

Location:     Arvada Food Bank, 8555 West 57th Avenue Arvada

This agenda includes updates on Colorado’s anti-hunger and affordable housing movements.


3:30-3:45 Call to order/introductions-- Senator Hudak
3:45-4:30 Basic Needs Strategies presentation
4:30-4:45 Quick Break (snacks, bathroom, etc)
4:45-5:15 Brainstorming-What’s missing in this section of the plan? Who knows of “what’s working” for website nomination? What are legislative ideas for 2013?
5:15-5:30 Update on 2019 Summit and Promising Practices Database. Call for Nominations.   

Thursday, July 19, 2012

2012 Colorado Conference on Poverty - Understanding CSBG and Getting Ahead of Poverty

Tuesday, August 07, 2012 10:00 AM - Friday, August 10, 2012 12:30 PM (Mountain Time)
The Colorado Conference on Poverty is coordinated by the Colorado Community Action Association
PO Box 18321, Denver, CO 80218
(303) 949-9934
Pueblo Convention Center
(719) 542-1100
320 Central Main Street
Pueblo, Colorado 81003
United States

Map and Directions

Enjoy beautiful Pueblo, Colorado - the gateway to Southeast Colorado while participating in a four-day conference packed full of amazing sessions and speakers, inspiring and entertaining keynotes and networking activities with your peers!

Local organizations throughout our state, known as Community Action Agencies or Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Entities/Subcontractors, actively partner with communities and other organizations on the local, state and national level to reduce the causes of poverty, fight the impacts of poverty, and help people with low-income achieve self-sufficiency.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

July Task Force Meeting-July 18, 2012

July 2012 Meeting of the Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force 

You, your constituents and your partner organizations are invited to attend the “Creating a New Plan-Strategies for Employment and Education” meeting

This subject is especially timely since current figures show that Colorado’s increased unemployment rate is 8.1%-the same as the national unemployment rate-ranking us 34th in the nation. Developing educational strategies and matching job skills and training with areas of job growth are critical to reducing poverty among Colorado’s most vulnerable populations. We are prompted by the new information memo from the Administration of Children and Families, which now allows states to request “work participation waivers” in an effort to spark innovative ideas for enhancing employment for TANF recipients. Sound familiar? It should—we called it SB12-139 last session.
Date:         July 18, 2011              Time:         3:30 pm-5:30 pm
Location:     Capitol Building (200 Colfax, Denv)    Committee Room 0112


3:30-3:45 Call to order/introductions-- Senator Hudak
3:45-4:00 Employment & Education Strategies presentation 4:00-4:30 Discussion and approval of strategies for plan inclusion
4:30-4:45 Quick Break (snacks, bathroom, etc)
4:45-5:15 Brainstorming-What’s missing in this section of the plan? Who knows of “what’s working” for website nomination? What are legislative ideas for 2013?
5:15-5:30 Announcements and Wrap Up   

Monday, July 2, 2012

PPACA and its Impact on Colorado's Working Poor

The hoopla is over and we're back to the everyday grind. In two days we'll be celebrating another year of independence for the country. This year there may be a pause, a consideration and a moment of wonder for The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. No matter how you slice it, or call it, this piece of legislation demonstrates the power of commitment to a common agenda. What will it mean for Colorado's working poor? Well, first and foremost it will increase access to many underserved communities. According to Barbara L. Wolfe, from the Institute for Research on Poverty, University of Wisconsin-Madison, the increase in funding for community health centers will bring more service providers to neighborhoods (especially rural) who have little to no access now. For more on how implementation will decrease barriers to access read "Health Care Reform and Low-Income Families: New Costs, Lower Burdens".

Monday, June 11, 2012

YouTube Activist Channel

"The Human Rights Channel will be overseen by Witness, an international nonprofit organization that has been using video to help activists document human rights abuses for almost 20 years. They are working with Storyful, a news gathering and curation operation that will help provide verification of videos uploaded onto the platform." ~ The New York Times Check out the New York Times Story here. Here is a link straight to The Human Rights Channel.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Reading Room for a shade respite on a hot summer's day

One of the ways we can mitigate poverty is to rethink banking.  Advocates for public communal banking assembled in Philadelphia some weeks ago to plan for and promote a more sustainable financing system for states, modeled on the bank of North Dakota and the one time public bank of Canada (1938-1974).

Also, a 12 year old Canadian girl explains public banking far more clearly and concisely than I can.

The following article looks at "dead zones" in the U.S. - areas where previous productive based industry has left and all that remains are industries based around military bases, low salaried service industries, private prison industry, and tourism - and how those that are beginning to pull out of an economic slump do so.   It is interesting to note the complexity and diversity of economic development that is necessary to create a truly sustainable local economy as opposed to the easy and obvious approaches that most people consider but create many low salaried jobs and not much else.

Friday, June 1, 2012

"A person's a person no matter how small."-Dr. Suess

What does it mean to live in the state that has the fastest growing rate of childhood poverty in the country, only to then discover that you live in a wealthy "developed" country that has one of the highest childhood poverty rates in the world? Yes, yes, it's "relative" and "relative" means it's not you. Read on, be outraged and then join us this summer as we work on reducing poverty across the state. Report: US Has One Of The Highest Child Poverty Rates In The Developed World. The task force planning meeting for Interim 2012 is June 11th at Pizza Fusion on Colfax & Pearl. Lunch will be provided so we hope to see you there.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Three Ways the Ryan Budget Hits Latinos

Although experts in the field state that the Congressional House budget will be "dead on arrival" in the Senate, we have learned, this year, to keep our voices loud. It may be true that the "whole package" isn't set to pass, but we are learning that even the tiniest of program changes get integrated and have a profound effect on individuals and families struggling to make ends meet. Following is an article written by Melissa Boteach,Director of Half in Ten: The Campaign to Cut Poverty in Half in Ten Years, that highlights the effects of budget cuts on Colorado's fastest growing demographic. For more on the impact of the Ryan budget on the Latino community click here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The latest from the Reading Room

Last week there was a big dust up over a TED lecture that was slow to be released, not because of any hesitation on part of the man who gave the lecture, but on part of the TED organization.  The content of this lecture is radical in terms of the dominant paradigm in that the man who gave it, a venture capitalist, spoke about the need for the wealthy to pay more in taxes as lower taxes lead to the wealthy becoming more wealthy as opposed to creating jobs.

The video was finally released, but I enjoyed reading the transcript even more thanks to The Atlantic posting it, along with the slides, last Thursday.

And on Friday, posted the following graphic that illustrates the change in poverty county by county nation-wide from 2007-2010.  6 Colorado counties have a lower poverty rate - south east and south central ones, and I have been thinking about the reasons for it all morning.  Is it the influx of second home buyers in Saguache and Fremont counties?  Is there a drop in overall population in the southeast counties?  Would any readers who have more credible answers (or, at least, theories) chime in and share?

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Circles® Campaign is a transformational approach that partners volunteers and community leaders with families wanting to make the journey out of poverty. Operating in communities around the country, each Circles® initiative consists of families working to get out of poverty and several middle and upper income Allies who befriend them and lend support. Read more about the Circles Campaign here.

Making Poverty Manageable

Scott Miller, founder and CEO of Circles Initiative, discusses poverty being too expensive. In this article Scott offers a solution of tackling 10% at a time to make it more manageable.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

As printed today in the Denver Post

I wrote a letter to the editor based on hours of sitting and listening to the testimony both in favor of and against the ordinance banning street camping.  Below is the complete letter that I wrote and also sent to the Westword and every member of the city council, an edited version (for length) ran in the letters section of today's Denver Post.

The ordinance to criminalize camping voted on last night by nine of the thirteen members of the city council is simplistic, and creates a new criminal class in our city out of innocent citizens.  It is not written as many of those who spoke in support of it last night claim it to be, it is NOT a first step in creating a more holistic solution but a clear cut statement that people who have not prospered in our diminishing economy and do not have the support networks that some of us can access are beneath the rest of us.  Those who support this ordinance have the perception that it will actually help the population targeted, when in fact their statements emphasized how it will help their businesses and nothing more.  In reality, it is a gateway ordinance in creating a criminal record preventing the ability to access any housing, and likely employment as well, in the future.  It takes innocent people, who have it hard in very hard times, and condemns them to a cycle from which it is even more difficult to break free.
Add to this the lack of sustainable funding for the programs already in existence, and we can only look forward to the rise of this new and unwarranted criminal class.

Jennifer Gross, Denver

PS – Civic Center Park is not the exclusive domain of the wealthy condo residing new residents of the Golden Triangle.  You knew what the area was when you bought your $300,000+ condos, and now you have buyers regret.  The park belongs to ALL of us, including those you wish to kick out.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

House Bill 1271: Direct File Signed into Law

Ever wonder what happened to the Direct File bill we got to watch during Advocacy Day? It has just been signed into law by Governor Hickenlooper! What a great success! Today, every child accused of a crime facing adult court has the right to ask a judge to decide which system of justice--juvenile or adult--the case belongs in, and the right to present witnesses and other evidence in court. Juvenile court judges will decide whether 14-15 year olds should be transferred to adult criminal court. Criminal court judges will decide whether 16-17 year olds who are direct filed should be transferred to juvenile court. This is called a "reverse-transfer" hearing and provides essential due process protections. Please thank Governor Hickenlooper for signing this important bill. Please thank the sponsors of House Bill 1271, who led with civility and strength in the face of strong opposition: Representative BJ Nikkel, 303-866-2907, Representative Beth McCann, 303-866-2959, Senator Tim Neville, 303-866-4859, Senator Angela Giron, 303-866-4878,

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sign the Petition to Stop Criminalizing Homelessness

Show Denver City Council that you don't approve of criminalizing homelessness. Read the article. Sign the Petition.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The rate at which Colorado's kids are slipping into the ranks of the poor has slowed.

Check out the 2012 Kids Count report put out by Colorado Children's Campaign here:

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Statistics about marriage ensuring economic success are suspect at best

For low-wage workers, the math of marriage in which one plus one adds up and becomes two incomes may be true only infrequently over time. That creates instability. And while all workers may risk a job or earnings loss, there may be a low-income tipping point where instability feels boundless, not just some blip from which to bounce back.
-Jodie Levin-Epstein

Read more on the myth of marriage, poverty reduction and personal responsibility here.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Click the Link. Play the Game. End Poverty.

Can games change the way we think about the future? From April 3-5, the Rockefeller Foundation will be holding a global public online game, called Catalysts for Change, to identify a thousand new paths out of poverty in just 48 hours of gameplay with hundreds of players from all walks of life. The game is open to everyone, anywhere in the world. Register to play at Follow the game on Twitter (@catalyze4change) and on Facebook.

Friday, March 30, 2012












Friday, March 23, 2012

April 5th is Advocacy Day at the Capitol-Join us on at "Po' People's Gathering"

Please join us for Advocacy Day—if he hadn’t been assassinated, Martin Luther King would have held a “Poor People’s March” on April 6, 1968.

In 2008 the CBMS Coalition held an Economic Justice rally in Denver’s City Civic Park and this year, organizations providing services to low-income women and their families are gathering at the capitol. Below is a list of the day’s activities. We expect a great turnout connecting the political to the personal and we hope you can join us.

If you require reimbursement or advance monies for travel please let us know.

0130- 02:30 WRAP UP


Shaie Wilson
Program Assistant
Family Economic Security
Colorado Center on Law and Policy
303-573-5669 ext. 321

State Representative Mark Ferrandino Gives out Urine Cups to Committee

This morning the House Appropriations Committee met to discuss House Bill 12-1046. Needless to say it passed to the Committee as a Whole, but not without members accepting Urine Cups for Drug Testing and a conceptual amendment that all elected officials should pass a drug test just like their friends, neighbors, and in some cases, family member who are receiving benefits from The Colorado Works (Temporary Aid to Needy Families or TANF) programs. For more on the day's meeting, listen here!

To hear from folks who will be affected by this change in policy, click here for the PBS NewsHour clip on CWEE and the women there who are struggling to make ends meet.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Poverty and Rural Education

With rural areas getting hit hard with the economic downturn, it is important to look at the roles of education. Not getting a good education can increase your chances of living in poverty and living in an area with high poverty can decrease the quality of your education.

The Rural School and Community Trust put out a new edition of the report "Why Rural Matters 2011-2012: Statistical Indicators of the Condition of Rural Education in the 50 States" It is an interactive map so you can choose your state and get your statistics.

Here is the report:

Friday, February 24, 2012

International Women’s Day
March 8,2012

In recognition of International Women’s Day we are honoring the women who make a difference in our communities.

Please take a few minutes to write a couple paragraphs nominating an important woman in your community. We will send her a certificate honoring and appreciating her for her amazing contribution. To write your nomination, simply add a comment to this blog entry so other readers can also read about the amazing women you wish to nominate (get permission to use her name). Entries must be written by March 15th.

Please also send an email to Shaie Wilson at with the address of where the certificate should be mailed.

Thank you for your help in honoring the amazing women of our communities.

Monday, February 20, 2012

4 Million People aren't allowed to Apply for U.S. Jobs

Last night’s 60 Minutes was about folks who are deemed “long-term unemployed” and now considered unemployable. I thought it was interesting because although they talked about the want-ads with “must be currently employed to apply” they didn’t say anything about states working to prohibit that level of discrimination. I did a “Google search”and it turns out over 100,000 folks signed a petition asking to stop posting job ads that support the discrimination practice ( It also turns out that with the passage of our HB12-1134 Colorado will be setting a precedent in model legislation along this effort. YAY—we’re in first place for something that benefits working families.

Apparently, Congress and California have been grappling with this a bit, but it’s still at conversation stage. More on that from National Employment Law Project.

My thought is that if you are working with folks who fall in this category, Representative Pabon could use their testimony. Unfortunately the first hearing is February 21st but if you send him an email ( that he can read to the committee that would be welcome. I don’t know who has the lead on this bill, but it’s something worth fighting for if we expect to make a difference for some of the people we serve.

Bill HB12-1134 - PABON Prohibit Job Discrimination Against Unemployed
Tuesday, February 21 2012
Economic & Business Development
1:30 p.m. Room 0112
(2) in house calendar.

Friday, February 17, 2012

New York City's Promising Practices

The city was recognized for their efforts in reducing poverty. The two efforts specificially recognized are "providing training and job placement in high-growth industries" and another "aimed at increasing graduation rates at the city’s community colleges".

Read the full article here:

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A quick reading room supplemental

Just a couple of articles to show us the change in the national dialogue.

The first shows how the Occupy protests of this past fall have changed the way that the majority of Americans view wealth and class:

The second gives an accurate picture of the reality of living fully dependent on social security and medicare with no other sources of income:

Monday, January 23, 2012

EOPR Task Force Update

"Leader you most admire: Rep. John Kefalas, D-Fort Collins. He always stands up for the little guy." - Jonathon Singer, Boulder County's Newest Member elected to the House of Representatives.

We are very happy to have Rep. Kefalas on the Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force as well.

Read the whole article of Johnathon Singer's political past here:

The EOPR will take a break while the legislators are back in session. The tech committee, however, will continue to meet throughout the session. The goal is to develop a database for counties and service providers to share and discuss the practices that are working best for them to increase collaboration and efficiencies. We are still looking for more volunteers to help us with this project. The first tech team meeting is Monday January 30 from 2-4 at CCLP. If you are interested, please email Shaie at

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

One last reading room before the 2012 session begins

The following article illustrates the fall of the middle class and the struggle to maintain an standard of living that is self sufficient, but falls short:

Tina Griego's column from earlier today includes data from Amber Tafoya's report "Snapshots of Colorado Latinos 2011" that highlights the disparities between the Latino population of Colorado and the population of Colorado as a whole:

May the 2012 session be a productive one.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

EOPR Task Force Meeting SCR356 at the Capitol and ONLINE

The Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force will be meeting
JANUARY 6, 2012 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm in SCR356 at the Capitol.

The presentation of the day will be Bridges to Employment, sponsored by Worklife. Several employers will testify to their success working with low-income workers striving for economic self-sufficiency. If you can't join us but would like to follow us online, click below to join LIVE CHAT.

One more article before tomorrow's meeting

Fresh from the Washington Post - the high costs in both cash and time of being poor:

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Reading Room - 1/4/2012

Happy New Year to all!

This first article I found last week is an analysis of the state of poverty in America, looking at what percentage of a family's $50,000 income goes to taxes and other critical and necessary expenses. Ultimately, it shows the state of inequality that exists among the lower income strata and why governmental supports are very necessary just to survive.

This second link is to a blog post by an individual currently based in Minnesota responding to the the comments in the series of primary debates. Most importantly, this post serves as a reality check as to what it truly takes in order to access any governmental benefits, and just how difficult it is to process and receive them.