According to the federal government, "enough" is a simple, five-figure amount: $23,850. That's the poverty line. It marks a distinction between who is poor and who is not, who doesn’t have enough money to make ends meet and who does.
But over the past month, I've asked you to tell me what you think it really takes to live in South Florida. Your answers averaged about $47,600 a year -- almost exactly twice the federal poverty level.
The U.S. House of Representative voted Wednesday to approve a new farm bill after a two-year standoff. It cuts $8 billion over the next decade from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, also known as food stamps, but the brunt of those cuts won’t be felt in South Florida.
The food stamp program accounts for almost 80 percent of the current farm bill. With pressure to reduce spending, it was inevitable that the program would be scaled back.
Today, Florida’s poverty rate is just over 17 percent and the city of Miami’s hit 29.5 percent in the most recent Census data. At the end of the 1960s, poverty levels in the South hovered around 18 percent of the population.
It was during that time when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spent much of his energy organizing what he called the "Poor People's Campaign." It worked to achieve economic justice and equality for poor people -- a disproportionate number of whom were black.
Nov. 14 is Homeless Awareness Day in Miami-Dade County. For the event's fifth year, the Homeless Trust is putting on Homeless Awareness Day rallies aimed at publicizing the homeless' plight, as well as celebrating individuals who have dedicated themselves to the cause. An opening ceremony honored the Homeless Trust's outreach workers, known as the "green shirts."
Florida's food programs are bracing for cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that kick in Nov. 1 --- while watching warily as U.S. House and Senate conferees prepare to negotiate a federal farm bill, which could have much more far-reaching consequences for hungry Floridians.
10/22/13 - Tuesday's Topical Currents is with Georgetown University law professor and author Peter Edelman. He’s written SO RICH, SO POOR: Why It’s So Hard to End Poverty in America. The US has the highest child poverty rate in the industrialized world. Income disparity is at its highest point since the great depression. One-half the jobs in the nation pay less than $35,000 per year. Learn more at 1pm on WLRN.
South Florida is known as a place where the wealthy live and play, but activists say that image can hide some of the problems facing residents in poorer areas-- specifically the issue of hunger.
The organization Feeding South Florida raises awareness and food donations for people who don’t know where their next meal is coming from. The group serves the whole region from Palm Beach to Monroe County and it’s ramping up its efforts this month to get more people engaged in solving the problem.