The Cost of Poverty

Image Description: The logo for COPE. Dark blue background, white and orange text. “COPE | The Cost of Poverty Experience” and “”

In order to ponder and act upon solutions, we need to be able to delve into difficulty.

This week, I’ve been attending the annual conference of the Public Health Institute, and as part of our time together, we participated in an session entitled COPE (Cost of Poverty Experience), led by ThinkTank-Inc. In this, we learned some challenging statistics. I’d like to share some of those today.

— It takes 112 minimum wage working hours to afford housing at 30% of your income. This doesn’t involve purchasing a house, but instead, affording to rent a two bedroom apartment.

— Before the pandemic began, 1 in 8 children were experiencing food insecurity. Now, after entering the pandemic, that number is between 1 in 4 and 1 in 5.

— 60% of inmates in U.S. jails have not been convicted of a crime. They are awaiting trial and cannot afford cash bail.

— When it comes to a wealth gap, on average, White households have 8 times more wealth than Black households. On average, White households have 5 times more wealth than Hispanic households.

— 24% of workers, roughly 33.6 million people, do not have any sick leave.

These are statistics, but these realities impact human lives. These experiences are a part of our wider community, and they impact physical health, mental health, and relational health. In order to ponder and act upon solutions, we need to be able to delve into difficulty. And in in order to ponder and act upon solutions, we need to be in relationship with people who experience these realities and follow their leadership and expertise.

Renee Roederer

2 thoughts on “The Cost of Poverty

  1. Nonviolent comunciatons

    10 Things We Can Do to Contribute to Internal, Interpersonal, and Organizational Peace. These nonviolent communication steps can help you express how you are or empathize with how others are:

    Spend some time each day quietly reflecting on how we would like to relate to ourselves and others.
    Remember that all human beings have the same needs.
    Check our intention to see if we are as interested in others getting their needs met as our own.
    When asking someone to do something, check first to see if we are making a request or a demand.
    Instead of saying what we DON’T want someone to do, say what we DO want the person to do.
    Instead of saying what we want someone to BE, say what action we’d like the person to take that we hope will help the person be that way.
    Before agreeing or disagreeing with anyone’s opinions, try to tune in to what the person is feeling and needing.
    Instead of saying “No,” say what need of ours prevents us from saying “Yes.”
    If we are feeling upset, think about what need of ours is not being met, and what we could do to meet it, instead of thinking about what’s wrong with others or ourselves.
    Instead of praising someone who did something we like, express our gratitude by telling the person what need of ours that action met.
    The Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC) would like there to be a critical mass of people using Nonviolent Communication language so all people will get their needs met and resolve their conflicts peacefully.

    2001, revised 2004 Gary Baran & CNVC. The right to freely duplicate this document is hereby granted.


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