Why It’s So Hard to End Poverty

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Anti-poverty activist and scholar Peter Edelman during a recent lecture at Northwestern University Law School sponsored by the National Public Housing Museum. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte.

It will take “a national groundswell of concern if we are going to make the progress we need on poverty,” said Georgetown Law Center Professor and author Peter Edelman during a lecture hosted by the National Public Housing Museum at Northwestern University Law School, 375 E. Chicago Ave., on October 10. Discussing the “growing chasm between America’s wealthy and poor,” Edelman said that “America has the highest poverty rate in the industrialized world,” with 46 million people living below the poverty line, a situation that could cause problems in the future. “Our democracy is in danger,” he said.
Edelman, faculty director at the Center on Poverty, Inequality and Public Policy in Washington, D.C., is an antipoverty advocate and former legislative aide to U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy who served as Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services under the Clinton administration but resigned from his position to protest President Clinton’s support of welfare reform. The free public lecture, based on Edleman’s latest book, “So Rich, So Poor: Why it’s So Hard to End Poverty in America,” was part of the National Public Housing Museum’s “Profiles in Color: Race, Place and Identity Series” funded by the Ford Foundation and the Boeing company. Read more »

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U.S. Senate Candidate Daniel Hynes

by Clemolyn Brinson 

Dan Hynes, 35, is currently serving a second term as Illinois state Comptroller, according to Mercedes Mallette, deputy campaign manager and spokesperson for Hynes. He is married to Christina Hynes, a physician at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. They have no children.

Illinois state Comptroller Dan Hynes

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The True Face of Poverty

by Michael Ibrahem 

From nearly every front, many Americans report that the economy was good during the nineties. Statistics indicate that unemployment was down, salaries went up and the stock market was booming. However, now studies are beginning to trickle in showing that for those already living at the extreme end of the economic income range, their situation actually worsened, leaving many Americans dangerously exposed when the economy stalled in the past couple years.

In late September, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that 1.7 million people slid into poverty in the last decade. The report also showed that the Midwest was hit the hardest of any region due mostly to loss of manufacturing companies in the area.
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Myths and Urban Legends

by Ethan Michaeli, Publisher 

There are a lot of urban legends out there about the redevelopment of Chicago’s public housing communities. Urban legends and other myths – like the movie ‘Candyman’ or stories about alligators living in the sewer system. – are useful for frightening children or for a scary night in front of the television. Watching a scary movie will keep kids out of the basement, even when it is time to get the laundry.

But the myths I’m writing about are those that are keeping Chicago Housing Authority officials, advocates and activists from crafting a public housing redevelopment plan that will really work for tenants. These are myths that doom any redevelopment plan because they stop those responsible for developing and implementing any redevelopment plan from going where they should – intellectually, that is. Read more »

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Welfare Reform: Lost In Space

by Mary C. Piemonte 

Many U.S. government policy makers seem to be getting their information on the lives of welfare recipients from science fiction television rather than real life. Their welfare reform proposals appear to be something straight out of the ‘twilight zone.’ And there appears to be a ‘lost in space’ mentality when it comes to financial and food assistance, training and education, housing, childcare and health care.

The legislators who are proposing new welfare reform laws seem to be under the impression that welfare reform has been a big success. They even have convinced much of the country. Read more »

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