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Poverty within a community
Old 06-22-2019, 01:29 PM
  #1

I know this is a kinda serious question and somewhat random but how obvious is poverty and/or economic difficulty within your community?
I'm traveling. Where I am now, I perceive the signs of economic struggle to be more obvious. I see houses that aren't well taken care of but are obviously inhabited. I know that can be just laziness or lack of interest but it's there are enough houses that it made me think it's due to money difficulties. There are a lot of commercial businesses that are sitting empty and have been sitting empty for years at a time...I googled one to see when it went out of business and it was over ten years ago, yet the awning for the story still flaps in the wind. Entire shopping centers are practically deserted and there are store fronts that are perpetually empty. (I'm painting a rather bleak picture of the community I'm visiting and there are many stores and restaurants that are thriving and have been around for decades. But there are clearly struggles.)
At home, I feel like I'm aware of the economic areas of difficulty but you have to know more where to look, rather than anything else. Some houses are nicer and larger,others smaller and not as nice. Sometimes I notice a lot of cars outside a place and assume that someone rents out rooms to help bring in income. With shopping, it's more likely to be the type of store in a shopping center rather than the number of vacancies that indicates the prosperity of the area (although there are exceptions).
I'm rambling a bit because it's rainy and I'm stuck inside but....how obvious is poverty in your community?


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Poverty in community
Old 06-22-2019, 01:35 PM
  #2

This is a very interesting question. My community demonstrates the opposite: it caters to your tech industries, business is booming, as is residential building.

The down side is: where have the poverty stricken in my area gone to? They have been pushed/completely priced out of the area. It is so bad, low paying jobs cannot be filled because no one can afford to live here with low wages.

I suspect they have moved to the big city.
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Old 06-22-2019, 01:51 PM
  #3

We essentially have 2 sides of town in my city: the “poor” side and the more affluent side. As soon as you cross the river you pretty much know where you are. Although my town is suffering all over and stores sit empty everywhere. It’s not a pretty picture.
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Old 06-22-2019, 02:37 PM
  #4

cruxian, you’re describing poor Los Angeles, right? It desperately needs some help right now. Wait, maybe Detroit, I still see a lot about it on TV.

Seriously, I think most American communities have empty stores. I live in a community where IMO houses are quite expensive (millions), yet there are a couple of empty stores. Homes, otoh, are very well maintained, beautiful even. Hmmmmm, food for thought.
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Old 06-22-2019, 02:41 PM
  #5

I live in what most people would consider an upscale suburb and I am seeing a increase in signs of poverty. We have more homeless women probably because it is a very low crime area and they feel safer than in a large city. Recently my post office started locking the lobby when closed because of homeless sleeping there. It used to be open 24 hr/day so you could access your postal box. There are a two abandoned houses both inherited by out of area owners who can’t find buyers. Increase of students on free lunch.

It was recently reported that there are 16,000 people living in their cars in LA. I am sure the real number is much higher.

It seems like such a hopeless situation.


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Old 06-22-2019, 04:16 PM
  #6

In my community there is some very obvious poverty - mostly the homeless population and a few neighborhoods. But there is a lot that is not so obvious because a lot of homes that look huge and old (but charming) on the outside are either broken up into teeny tiny apartments inside, or are single family homes that are housing 3 or 4 families.

We have a lot of empty storefronts right now, but mostly because the rent is so ridiculously high that it's making it very hard for businesses to stay.
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Poverty
Old 06-22-2019, 05:33 PM
  #7

How astute of you to bring up this issue. The gap between 1% ers and the rest off us is growing. Very, very few people own most of the wealth. All we can do is VOTE for someone who will rectify this issue. And it will not be those in power now, that is for sure. They do not care what happens to those in poverty. When Walmart gets huge tax breaks then refuses to provide health insurance, you know most will go down the tubes. My community does its best to care for those in need but it is NOT the ultra wealthy doing their share. We have housing, food banks, services but not enough. Why is our country like this?
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Old 06-22-2019, 06:13 PM
  #8

Daytona Beach is a metropolitan area with several other towns surrounding it. In each town there are sections where poverty is obvious. The first school where I taught had a very high rate of poverty and a significant part of the town's population is below the poverty line. There are other areas where poverty is noticeable in certain areas but they are more affluent in general. I am rambling too, but am having a hard time explaining it.

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Old 06-22-2019, 07:43 PM
  #9

It’s very obvious here. Empty storefronts. Run-down houses. Lots of Section 8 housing. Few “fancy” neighborhoods. No industry. Older vehicles. People with questionable hygiene practices. Most medical offices work on sliding fee basis. Lots of ads for summer feeding program for kids. We have around 75% free lunch. Lots of people living with relatives.
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Old 06-22-2019, 07:56 PM
  #10

Not as obvious where I live but where I worked before my retirement in January it is very obvious. If I wasn't married to a pretty good wage earner,I probably would be living in such a community. It is tough for the young teachers over here. High student loan debt,high rent .....very tough to even think about having a family.


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Old 06-22-2019, 09:42 PM
  #11

I have thought about this for the area I teach in. I know from interacting with the families at my school that a majority are living in extreme poverty, yet if you're just looking in the neighborhood I don't think it reflects that. The houses are small, but mostly nice and fairly kept up. A lot of our families are living with several other families in one house, or bouncing between shelters and the motel. There are also a couple of apartment complexes that are really bad (although don't really look terrible from the outside). One time out of curiosity I looked up one of the apartments and it was almost expensive as my fairly nice place in a nice neighborhood .

You don't see a lot of empty storefronts around here, but you can tell where the nicer neighborhoods are due to the types of stores. The poorer neighborhoods have things like dollar tree, pawn shops, quick cash shops, etc. I rent in a really nice neighborhood (could never afford to own here, unfortunately) and across the street from me is a few nicer restaurants, a wine bar, yoga studio, and bank. You can also tell you're getting into the much more upscale neighborhoods by the walls they put up to block the sound from busy streets. The really nice places have fancy brick walls, and then you go down to wooden fencing, and then nothing.
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Old 06-22-2019, 09:43 PM
  #12

I have thought about this for the area I teach in. I know from interacting with the families at my school that a majority are living in extreme poverty, yet if you're just looking in the neighborhood I don't think it reflects that. The houses are small, but mostly nice and fairly kept up. A lot of our families are living with several other families in one house, or bouncing between shelters and the motel. There are also a couple of apartment complexes that are really bad (although don't really look terrible from the outside). One time out of curiosity I looked up one of the apartments and it was almost as expensive as my fairly nice place in a nice neighborhood .

You don't see a lot of empty storefronts around here, but you can tell where the nicer neighborhoods are due to the types of stores. The poorer neighborhoods have things like dollar tree, pawn shops, quick cash shops, etc. I rent in a really nice neighborhood (could never afford to own here, unfortunately) and across the street from me is a few nicer restaurants, a wine bar, yoga studio, and bank. You can also tell you're getting into the much more upscale neighborhoods by the walls they put up to block the sound from busy streets. The really nice places have fancy brick walls, and then you go down to wooden fencing, and then nothing.
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Old 06-23-2019, 04:09 AM
  #13

My actual neighborhood..no. But if you drive a bit closer to downtown, sure, there's signs of poverty. I think that's true for any city except, I dunno, Beverly Hills?
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Old 06-23-2019, 04:16 AM
  #14

Empty storefronts aren't always a sign of a community that is struggling economically. I live near a smaller town (about 12,000) and most of the empty storefronts are due to a Walmart Superstore taking over. Two grocery stores, a hardware store, a K-mart and several small, independently owned clothing stores went under within five years after Walmart opened in town. There are a few empty storefronts that never were occupied. I'm not sure what that's about. In general, though, the community isn't struggling, at least not in the way that some communities a little further north are. (Communities that depend on winter tourism have had a rough time lately.) Businesses that don't have to compete with Walmart are doing fine and some that do have to compete have done so successfully.

There are certainly more affluent and less affluent parts of town but no really run-down neighborhoods. The most affluent people don't live in town but have river or lakefront homes in the surrounding areas.

The most visible poverty in the area is on the reservation nearby although you can't necessarily gauge the level of poverty by the appearance of a home. Native people tend not to attach their sense of self-worth to their dwelling so not every house that needs a coat of paint houses a poverty-stricken family.

The worst poverty in the area is not so visible. It's the rural poverty of people who have lost or will soon lose their family farms.
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Old 06-23-2019, 04:39 AM
  #15

In my community I don't think it's obvious, but I know it's there because I work in the district. Most towns around me have an area with nice houses, small or big. I think it "hides" in the apartments/condos, particularly the ones on busy streets. A lot of immigrant families live there and squeeze MANY people into the apartments. We have a mix of stores, some of them more expensive, but others are much cheaper and often have more of a variety of ethnic foods.

In our district boundaries, we also have 2 trailer parks, so I know there is poverty there too.

I agree, there are empty store fronts everywhere. We seem to have certain locations that can't seem to keep any store in business. Rent must be quite high there.
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I live in a small, very small city in
Old 06-23-2019, 06:54 AM
  #16

Northern NY. Yeah, it's bad around here. Tons of homes for sale for delinquent taxes. There are sections of town with beautiful, well-kept homes, but also sections where every other house (inhabited or not) looks like it might collapse at any minute. The streets are just a mess of potholes (though they seem to ALWAYS be working on repaving them).

We have meth houses, lots of drug overdoses. Most industries have long since abandoned this area. Any jobs posted are usually for prison guards, medical personnel, and psych hospital staff. Ironically, this is also a big tourist area.

A lot of people seem to get by with hunting and fishing providing a large part of their food supply. Gardens abound in summer, lots of canning, and we have the wonderful Amish who sell their produce at a really low price. There are not so many small family farms left, but quite a few huge agribusiness type farms, for which they import quasi-illegals from Mexico who are not allowed to leave the property. Very sad.

One big clue of economic decline in this area is the fact that when I graduated high school in 1968, our class had 240 students. The current class has about 85. It is a dying area, but I still love it here.
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Poverty
Old 06-23-2019, 01:15 PM
  #17

For almost my entire teaching career I taught in a high poverty, high needs district. At one point the HS where I worked was 100% free lunch because it was cheaper to include everyone rather than do the paperwork needed for the few who wouldn't normally qualify. Yet my students, most of whom came from immigrant families, didn't necessarily think of themselves as poor because they were better off than others left behind in their native country.

To me, the signs of poverty in any community are payday cash advance places, stand alone used car lots, dollar stores, and lots of liquor stores. And, at night, hardly any parking space on the street because multiple adults live in each residence. Empty storefronts can also be a bad sign but Walmart isn't the only culprit. A lot of stores, including upscale malls, are now suffering due to consumers' increased online shopping. Amazon is the gorilla in the marketplace.

I, too, worry about the growing income inequality I see in our country. It is a serious threat to the democratic process when wealth is concentrated in the hands of a powerful few who control so much.
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