Posts about Poverty
By Benjamin Carney | May 9, 2013 |
This Saturday, May 11, the letter carriers union will continue its 20-year tradition of service to the community and dedication to the alleviation of hunger. While delivering mail, letter carriers will collect bags of food for local food banks.
For the past two decades the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) has organized the Stamp out Hunger initiative, collecting and distributing over one billion pounds of food.
In San Diego, NALC Branch 70 collected over 500,000 pounds of donated food in 2012. You can help NALC Branch 70 collect even more this year! To participate in the Stamp out Hunger 2013 drive, leave bags of non-perishable food items by your mailbox on Saturday, and they will be delivered to a food bank.
This initiative has given much needed assistance to working families that go without because of the constantly decreasing value of their wages. Over 50 million Americans are affected by hunger, including 17 million children. Here in San Diego County, the Center on Policy Initiatives (CPI) has reported that 3 in 10 non-retired households in the county earn less than a “self-sufficiency” level; including more than 180,000 households with at least one person working full-time or part-time. Self-sufficiency levels are determined to be an hourly pay rate of $13.13 for a single person with no dependents in order to cover their basic needs.
The number of people living in poverty in the County is increasing. CPI studies have found one major reason is that inflation-adjusted earnings have decreased in 10 of the region’s 15 largest industries, with the lowest wages in the tourism and hotel industry.
Recognizing the immense need created by insufficient wages, CPI is proud to support this valuable effort to alleviate suffering in San Diego.
Benjamin Carney is a CPI intern. He is also a recent graduate from Point Loma Nazarene University.
By Quynh Nguyen | March 8, 2013 |
Great news! The new owners of the Hilton Mission Valley have announced they will retain all the workers. This decision means more than 100 San Diego families won’t be thrown into unemployment.
Thank you for your show of solidarity. Over 700 individuals sent Tarsadia executives emails urging them to retain all Hilton Mission Valley workers. More than a 100 people showed their support in person last Friday at the sit-in at the hotel. Great work!
The Center on Policy Initiatives is proud to advocate for San Diego families. Please stay connected (you can also find us on Facebook and Twitter) so that we may continue to work together to build a San Diego that works for all.
By Christie Hill | March 1, 2013 |
Thank you for supporting livable wages for the thousands of San Diego residents who work in the tourism industry.
The outcry against a 39-year, $1 billion subsidy for hotels paying poverty wages has been overwhelming! More than 90 of you have answered our call to write letters to the editor. UT San Diego published 24 of those letters here and here, San Diego Free Press thanked the letter-writers publicly and we have posted many of the letters on our website.
A special thanks to everyone who came to the City Council on Monday. We demonstrated strong public opposition to the Tourism Marketing District’s insistence on controlling $30 million a year in public funds while refusing Mayor Filner’s call for living wages.
At the end of the meeting, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith admitted that legally the TMD is “a gray area.” Several lawsuits have been filed against the city for enacting the 2% TMD tax without a public vote, in violation of 2010’s statewide Prop 26.
By Christie Hill | February 21, 2013 |
If San Diego’s profitable hotels get $30 million a year in public funding to advertise themselves, is it right that half their employees make $24,400 or less per year?
I don’t think so.
The Tourism Marketing District, controlled by downtown hotel CEOs, claims the city should subsidize their marketing staff and ads because tourists help the local economy. But if hotel companies pocket those tourist dollars and don’t pay the San Diego residents who work in the hotels enough to live on, that’s a direct drain on our economy.
Join CPI in supporting Mayor Filner’s call for a better deal for the people of San Diego. Say NO to public subsidy of poverty wages.
Providing decent wages and family healthcare won’t break the hotels. Some local hotels are providing good jobs and thriving.
Why do housekeepers at Doubletree San Diego make only $8 an hour and have to pay $400 a month for family healthcare when those at the nearby Hilton San Diego Bayfront are paid $15.50 an hour and get full family healthcare for $50 a month?
As the hoteliers threaten to sue the city for a four-decade deal giving them $1 billion, Mayor Filner is asking simply that they all rise to the responsibility of providing a decent, modest living for hard work.
Will you join us in supporting a fair deal for the people of San Diego? Click here to add your voice!
By Quynh Nguyen | February 20, 2013 |
With your help more than 1000 San Diegans stand with us as we work to alleviate working poverty in San Diego. I wanted to alert you to a new campaign that aims to fight on behalf of the working poor. We need your help.
Tarsadia Investments will take over the Hilton Mission Valley Hotel next month. Tarsadia is demanding that all hotel employees re-apply for their jobs. The stakes are high as Tarsadia previously took over a hotel and fired the entire staff. It is important that we urge Tarsadia to do right by San Diego families. Taking these hard-working, long-term employees’ jobs away would push low-income families further into poverty.
Please click here to join CPI and Felix Mora, a cook at the Hilton Mission Valley Hotel, in sending a letter to the President of Tarsadia Investments, Greg Casserly. Add your voice to the 130+ people who have already sent the letter. Let’s tell Tarsadia to do right by San Diego.
By Quynh Nguyen | February 11, 2013 |
February 12th is the President’s first State of the Union address in his second term. The fiscal showdown didn’t end on January 1st. Instead, Congress kicked the can down the road and many of the most important programs that support struggling families in our country are still under threat.
Nationally, people are taking to Twitter, Facebook, and other social media to inspire President Obama to: (1) speak out for struggling families during his address, and (2) protect critical programs that reduce poverty in his budget request to Congress. Together we can show the White House why these programs are so important, and who has inspired us to support them.
Tweet @White House about inspiring leaders who have built or protected federally funded programs like SNAP (formerly Food Stamps), WIC, Head Start, child care, housing, home energy, and homeless aid, education and training, Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. Use the hashtag #TalkPoverty.
On Facebook, post a message like this on your wall and tag the White House’s wall:
The fiscal showdown didn’t end on January 1st! We need the President to fight for human needs programs in budget negotiations. [add something about a leader who inspires you to cut poverty and what solutions the President should address in his speech. Use our Pinterest gallery for inspirational graphics and things to say.]
While CPI will continue to focus on Making Poverty a Priority on the local level, we encourage you to visit the “Talk Poverty” national project online, if you would like to commit to making poverty a priority on a national level.
By Lorena Gonzalez | December 13, 2012 |
When we think of poverty, we don’t usually think of work. But for tens of thousands of San Diegans, a job doesn’t keep them out of poverty. In some professions, like nonunion retail, workers struggle to get the hours they need to cobble together a full time job. In other jobs, like the service sector, workers can work 40 plus hours a week and still not make enough money to live above the poverty line. Too many workers make the minimum wage, don’t have health care benefits and have to rely on taxpayer-funded programs – like food stamps, public housing and free lunch – just to get by. And far too many of these folks work for huge, wealthy employers that get subsidies and tax breaks from the government, as we subsidize their workers’ salaries. The working poor deserve better. We all deserve better. Let’s set a higher bar for everyone and make poverty a priority by demanding low wage work pay a livable wage.
Lorena Gonzalez, Secretary-Treasurer of the San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council and a CPI board member.
By CPI Social Media Team | December 13, 2012 |
What’s the first image that comes to your mind when you think of poverty? Did you know that a third of all adults LIVING IN POVERTY in the region are EMPLOYED?
Watch the Video. Sign the letter (http://bit.ly/VrrtLd) to Mayor Filner asking him to make all poverty a priority in San Diego.
By Reverend Jamie Gates Ph.D | December 12, 2012 |
Too often we think that great societies are determined by their most powerful people and powerful achievements, by their technologies and innovations and the heights of splendor they reach. But our prophetic religious traditions teach us that great societies are determined by the degree to which we care for the most marginal amongst us, by the plight of the proverbial “widow and the orphan and the stranger” in our midst, by the level of compassion shown to the poor. With so much of the economic rhetoric coming out of Washington or generally in the press directing the public eye to the plight of an ill-defined “middle class,” have we lost sight of the truly vulnerable amongst us?
A full fifth of households in San Diego make less than $23,736 a year…right near the federal poverty rate for a family of four. Despite all the talk about how homes are more affordable than they have been in decades, San Diego’s housing market is among the least affordable in the nation. More importantly for the most vulnerable amongst us, affordability for renters is plummeting. Over ½ million people in San Diego County have no medical insurance and are at risk of financial disaster when illness strikes. Dependence on the “social safety net” of food stamps, unemployment benefits, Social Security and public health care has climbed while public support for securing this safety net continues to be weak. While some of the barriers to accessing the social safety net have come down (e.g. removing fingerprinting requirements from County access to food assistance), significant work remains to be done to remove the barriers to access even the underfunded services that exist.
What a treat to hear newly installed San Diego mayor Bob Filner at the Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice (ICWJ) Voices for Justice breakfast speak of his commitment to alleviating poverty in San Diego. He publically committed to ending homelessness in San Diego and to working hard on behalf of San Diego’s lowest paid workers. What does this look like? How can we help the mayor move beyond the rhetoric? How can we help widen the economic spotlight to include, maybe even highlight, the most vulnerable?
Will you join Reverend Gates by sending the “Make Poverty a Priority” letter to Mayor Filner? Click here to send your letter now.
Jamie Gates is professor in the Department of Sociology and Social Work and Director of the Center for Justice and Reconciliation at Point Loma Nazarene University and also serves as the President of the Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice.
By Richard Lawrence | December 11, 2012 |
During my years working for affordable housing in San Diego, I’ve seen far too much heartbreaking poverty in our city, and it’s time we did something about it. The most painful of my encounters with working poverty involved a family in City Heights with nine children. The father worked at a vehicle service center, the mother cashiered at a restaurant and the oldest child worked at the San Diego Zoo over the summer, but they could not find an apartment they could afford to rent. They had lived in the Salvation Army Shelter and were really happy to find space in transitional housing at the YWCA. But when the time limit was up there, they had to move.
Pooling their income and still unable to afford a large enough home, this hard-working family had no choice but to split up. They moved into a subsidized apartment that limited the number of residents, and sent two of their children to live with relatives. No family — especially one working this hard — should ever have to face the terrible choices poverty puts upon them.
Will you join Richard by sending the “Make Poverty a Priority” letter to Mayor Filner? Click here to send your letter now.
Richard Lawrence is a founding member and co-chair of the San Diego Affordable Housing Coalition. He is also a CPI board member.