Poverty Myths

Consider these poverty myths:

Anyone can find a job in this economy.
With the economic downturn, the Twin Cities metro area  produces only one job for every five jobseekers. In Greater Minnesota, that ratio widens to one job for every eight job seekers.

A job will lead a family from poverty.
At best, this important first job is just the beginning of the struggle to climb out of poverty. Roadblocks include lack of education, childcare and transportation. When people do find jobs, the jobs often include low pay, no benefits, no on-the-job training and no future prospects of a living wage. A minimum, no frills budget for a single parent and one child, according to the Jobs Now Coalition, needs an hourly wage of $18.07. Yet, the current minimum wage is $6.55 per hour.

People are homeless by choice.
About 140,000 low income households in the Twin Cities pay more than one third of their income for housing. Low-income folks seeking housing must compete for the one affordable rental unit available for multiple families with incomes below $10,000. The number of homeless people doubled in the last decade due to  critical shortages in affordable housing. More than one-third of homeless adults work, half of them full-time, but they simply can't find housing. More than 40% of homeless adults lost housing because the couldn't afford the rent. Children don't choose homelessness, yet they make up 50% of the state's homeless population.

Poverty is an inner city problem.
No, poverty is a family problem. When parents are poor, displaced and hungry, so are their children. There are over 54,000 children living in poverty in suburban Ramsey and Hennepin counties. Poverty in Minnesota is an urban, suburban and rural problem.