[Hpn] 2008 Poverty Challenge of Greater Buffalo

William C. Tinker wtinker@verizon.net
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 
single individual).

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.
Founded 11-28-99
New Hampshire Homeless
25 Granite Street
Northfield,N.H. 03276-1640 USA
Advocates,activists for disabled,displaced human rights.