Saturday, November 19, 2011

Near Poor

I was not surprised to read of the new measure of poverty, "near poor," released last week by the US Census Bureau. In the NY Times these people are described as, "down but not quite out." So often overlooked and under quantified, the NY Times goes on to report, "this new count suggests they are far more numerous than previously understood."

Although the government study has not yet been released, it is suggested that the new measure may find that, "100 million people — one in three Americans — are living either in poverty or in the fretful zone just above it."

Those of us in the public sector know far too well that this story is playing out across our communities. The unrelenting nature of this recession is unique and hitting California with great force. Although the legislative analyst said a double-dip recession was not likely, it did downgrade its forecast for employment growth and housing permits. It projects California's jobless rate will remain above 10 percent through the middle of 2014 and above 8 percent through 2017. That means that although we may face another devastating round of "trigger cuts," California's safety net will be required to further step up to meet the growing need of those in need.

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