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Poverty rate is no surprise

Published: Tue, November 15, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

Poverty rate is no surprise

I am thoroughly disappoint- ed at the response generated by the Brookings report of Youngstown’s urban poverty. Absolutely no one should be surprised.

The blight and plight of our residents who are not fortunate enough to have food to eat, to have their utilities on, to have a plan for the children’s next meal or to experience just one small joy, is egregious.

I met a petite blond senior lady yesterday, at a local Home Depot, who was using space heaters to heat her home because she could not afford to pay a gas bill. She was staying in her kitchen so she could keep warm. She and I talked about how much she could afford to pay for one that would also be safe. While working my streets, I talk to mothers whose utilities are off for non-payment, people who have no food and some who are so destitute they cannot even purchase bath tissue. Where have you all been? Come with me while I work my streets and see first-hand the desolation and despair in these people, my neighbors. It is indeed heart wrenching. These, my friends, are the faces of poverty.

All your platitudes and excuses for why there has been inattention to their plight came too late. Once again, we have made national news with a negative image. Yet we expect people who cannot even meet the initial tier of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to volunteer to work a garden, or find a job with no transportation-no decent clothes-no soap and water? Desperation and despair go hand in hand in our neighborhoods.

Seeing a city official’s statement that said, “We’ve turned the corner with job creation...” we find a marker that identifies the insensitivity of our public officials. Was it the corner to ensure that so many would continue to be our of work? Or maybe it was the corner requiring a mother to work three minimum wage jobs, hoping to have enough to pay the rent. We can get grants for signs, projects and money for things that create a false image of our city. Why can’t we do enough to help our own people meet the minimum subsistence that any American has a right to enjoy?

Delores T. Womack, Youngstown


1Alexinytown(246 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

That is the problem around here. Everyone wants to put a band-aid on the situation, such as throwing money and food at this situation expecting things to change. You can throw all the money and food at the world at the poverty problem here, but at the end of the day you aren't teaching these people how to
get out of it.

There are thousands of people in poverty here, but the inclination has always been to take care of these people rather than help them out of the situation they are in.

Unfortunately the latter is a more difficult road to go down because thus far there has not been a clear cut answer as a way of making that happen.

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2Stan(9923 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

City Hall is more into working on a facade than the generation of jobs to boost the economy . The economy of Youngstown is Youngstown's responsibility . We have an excellent highway system to transport goods to the East Coast for export . We have a rail system to transport heavy manufactured goods . We have plenty of idle hands craving a job . Federal handouts should be used to generate jobs and goods for export .

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3peacelover(800 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

There's a place called Beatitude House on the North Side that does a wonderful job of providing destitute women with children a place to stay, child care, transportation, etc. so the moms can break the cycle of poverty and get an education and make a better life for themselves and their children. They have many success stories. Unfortunately, there's a waiting list to get in. Maybe we need more facilities like this. After all, as the saying goes, "you can't raise yourself up by your bootstraps when you don't even have boots".

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4pgurney(285 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

I'm sorry but I cringe and shake my head every time I read another story about new neighborhood signs, and t-shirts, and radios, etc etc etc. A success grant? These are not signs of success. They are facades. Bandaids. Lies. I'm guilty, I confess. I talked to someone today about helping me get a grant for our neighborhood group to help beautify our neighborhood, when just across South Avenue, someone is probably without heat and cold weather's coming. I don't think I'll be applying for that grant. And this makes me wonder how much money downtown is spending to install new "welcome" signs, and bike racks. Money that could be used to create jobs, then help people get cleaned up and transported TO their new jobs.

Priorities are really screwed up in this city. No wonder it's in such bad shape.

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