[Hpn] 2008 Poverty Challenge of Greater Buffalo
William C. Tinker
Wed, 23 Apr 2008 18:37:29 -0400
2008 Poverty Challenge of Greater Buffalo
April 23, 2008 by homelessalliance
Download the Poverty Challenge Participants' Guide here.
Check out the flyer for the Poverty Challenge here.
>From May 6 through May 7, a number of community leaders have agreed to
maintain a poverty budget to demonstrate how many of our area's residents
are not able to meet their basic needs. With the support of a number of
religious leaders, elected leaders, and other community leaders, the 2008
Poverty Challenge of Greater Buffalo is an attempt to raise awareness about
the nature of poverty in Western New York.
The point is not to play poor for a few days but to stand in solidarity with
those facing the day-to-day struggles of poverty: the limitation of choices
and the stifling effects of a low income.
The Homeless Alliance compiled daily costs on a number of everyday
expenses - home, transportation, telephone, etc - and participants had to
make choices about what expenses they would sacrifice to be able to stay
within the budget (which is based on the Federal Poverty Guideline for a
In some instances, participants actually have a budget that is in the red.
In this instance, the participants' goal is to fall into as little debt as
It is nearly impossible to live on this budget and it is not uncommon for
many people living in poverty- with no safety net - to be one step away from
What does poverty have to do with homelessness? Too often, homelessness is
attributed to the individual: drug abuse, mental illness, or poor decisions
are commonly-named causes of homelessness. But we may all know people who
suffers from drug abuse, from mental illness, or makes poor decisions, and
not all of them become homeless. The difference is poverty.
The Poverty Challenge allots $9.25 per day for each participant to spend how
he or she chooses. If a participant chooses to drive a car for the day, for
example, then that participant would have to take $6.81 out of that
allotment, leaving only $2.44 for food.
That's before you consider other costs - telephone, internet, or health
insurance. Because some of us who have more money are able to pay our bills
on time and have money left over, we rarely have to consider the day-to-day
cost of living. This could be a real wake-up call for our community about
how difficult poverty can be even in this land of prosperity.
The Homeless Alliance and its partners hope that the Poverty Challenge will
cause more dialogue and discussion about poverty in the region.It's time for
our city, our county, and our communities, to begin to put the elimination
of poverty at the forefront of policy decisions in Western New York.
Some of those participating in the Poverty Challenge are representatives
from the Network of Religious Communities, the United Way of Buffalo and
Erie County, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Catholic Charities, the
Coalition for Economic Justice, and many more. NYS Assemblymember Sam Hoyt,
Erie County Legislator Maria Whyte, and Buffalo Common Councilmembers Dave
Rivera and Michael LoCurto are among the participants as well.
William Charles Tinker,Sr.
New Hampshire Homeless
25 Granite Street
Northfield,N.H. 03276-1640 USA
Advocates,activists for disabled,displaced human rights.