Poverty exists in all societies – whether you live in a first-world country or a struggling third-world nation. Unequal distribution of wealth, resources, and opportunities leave the poor below the poverty threshold. Almost all of them rely on the government for living and welfare subsidies to make it through the day. Some end up living on the streets because they can no longer afford even low-cost housing or rent when they can barely feed themselves or their family.
All governments throughout the world aspire to eradicate poverty or at least offer livelihood or employment opportunities for people to help them get back on track. Administration after administration, the government is making little progress to wipe out poverty and the problem appears to get worse each year as the population increases and the prices of commodities continue to rise.
“The reduction of poverty is never an easy topic to tackle, it’s not a popular one, and it’s one, quite frankly, that makes people uncomfortable because there are no easy answers,” said Clarke, who spoke of his own upbringing in a welfare-funded household in Sydney Mines.
“It’s important we speak with one collective voice — we as Nova Scotians are resilient, we embrace the opportunities for change although change is never easy in this province, but traditional approaches have not worked, and that’s why we as a community have to be that voice.”
It is a collective effort of every community to work hand in hand and help each other rise from poverty and eventually experience progress.
“We are making progress, but I believe the community recognizes the immense amount of work yet to be done,” said Bernard.
“We want to help the people that are most in need by improving access to employment, childcare, early childhood education, and access to affordable housing — it takes a lot of work to break the cycle of poverty and it's hard to engage the community when the community feels helpless.”
Poverty is also a problem experienced in various states in the country no matter how progressive the U.S. may appear on the global arena. And the budget cuts being pushed by the Trump administration will definitely make matters worse.
Its State and Regional Community Assessment Report is intended to help lawmakers and nonprofits make wise choices regarding funding and programs to help Nebraskans who are struggling to meet basic needs. And those Nebraskans aren’t just those who one might call “the poor.”
Sixty-two percent reported delaying medical care due to cost, and we know delaying medical care generally ends up creating more costly problems later. Sixty percent had issues with affordable family medical care, 58 percent with dental care and 56 with eye care.
Health and disability issues created a barrier to employment for someone in their household for 51 percent of respondents looking for work.
Access to health care feeds into employment opportunities which feeds into housing, child care and lifestyle choices. Being poor is expensive precisely because these choices become fewer and harder.
The dismantling of the Affordable Care Act and the Congressional Budget Office’s estimation that its replacement – in its current form -- could leave 14 million uninsured after the first year and 24 million after a decade, will put an even greater strain on the social services provided at the community level, making an understanding of Nebraskans’ needs as highlighted in this report even greater.
We may not be able to realize the solution to overcoming poverty in our generation but there is no harm in trying. The government should make policies that help the poorer population and addresses the issues they face on a daily basis, so they can become functional members of society once more and no longer rely on the state for help. Providing health care and education for all can make a big difference in the lives of the people making them more self-reliant and capable of providing for their needs.
It is everyone’s moral responsibility to help a person in need if you have the capacity to help. The world will be a much better place to live in if there are less greed and more love and understanding for everyone.
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