May 18, 2015 |
PAWTUCKET, R.I. - The door was open, and Bianca Perry stepped into the vacant room that had changed her life. The bed was made. The dresser emptied. Brother Michael had always promised a place for her in the large residence next to St. Joseph's Church in Pawtucket. A few of her belongings remained untouched last week, long after Perry had departed for college in Philadelphia and broken her family's cycle of despair. The scars are etched into her soul: Three hungry siblings trying to boil a raw potato while their stoned mother locked herself in a room.
May 14, 2015 |
THE MAYOR'S race keeps drawing Zzzzs; today we offer Yyyys. Why have six Democratic candidates for an open seat in a Democratic city been unable to generate voter enthusiasm? Pollsters could actually change one choice from "undecided" to "uninterested" and run up a pretty big number. Why is turnout likely to be lower than in the last three open-seat primaries? (It was 49 percent in 1991 when Ed Rendell won a four-way race; 35 percent in '99 when John Street won a six-way; 33 percent in '07 when Michael Nutter won a five-way.)
May 9, 2015 |
Around 400 people - many of them homeless - crowded into the Broad Street Ministry early Thursday evening to hear the mayoral candidates talk about poverty. But as the setting sun blasted through the old church's stained glass, the fragmented, colored light revealed a startling truth up on the stage: Just two of the seven candidates had shown up, Democrat James F. Kenney and the only Republican running, Melissa Murray Bailey. Herself aglow with sunlight and anger, Sister Mary Scullion, president and executive director of the anti-homelessness nonprofit Project HOME, stood in front of the church with her hands on her hips and let people hear her pique.
May 1, 2015
MY 14-year-old daughter asked me recently if we are poor. "Your dad and I aren't poor, but you are because we have all the money," I jokingly responded. It was an intentionally light moment during a heavy conversation about poverty in America. I seized the opportunity - as rare as it comes with a teenager - to elicit her thoughts on poverty and, in particular, on a new law in Kansas that prevents families that receive government aid from using the money to go to the movies or a swimming pool.
April 26, 2015 |
For first-year Temple nursing students, a recent classroom session on how to cover rent, child care, food, medicine, and transportation on a bare-bones budget was an academic exercise. But for many of their patients, that simulation symbolizes brutal reality. In Philadelphia, a staggering 28 percent of residents live in poverty. For many, deprivation also means a life of poor health. Without decent housing, access to medical care, healthful food, and safe exercise outlets - and with the stress that comes with deprivation - the poor face major hurdles to getting and staying well.
April 25, 2015 |
The criticism that the city election has been too focused on funding public schools underestimates the impact of a poorly educated population on other issues, especially poverty. It is true, however, that better schools won't immediately make the poor wealthy. So what else the mayoral candidates would do to end Philadelphia's reign as America's poorest big city is important. The candidates' answers to that question on today's op-ed page often state the obvious: The city needs more jobs.
March 23, 2015 |
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput is expected to tour city shelters, soup kitchens, food pantries, and health clinics Monday to draw attention to the issues of homelessness and hunger in advance of Pope Francis' visit to Philadelphia in the fall. The tour, in which the archbishop will be joined by civic and business leaders from across the region, will be dubbed the Óscar Romero Day of Commitment, after a former archbishop of San Salvador known for his dedication to bettering conditions for the poor in his country, the archdiocese said Sunday.
March 6, 2015
ISSUE | UKRAINE Shining a light Thanks are again due to Trudy Rubin for her reporting on Russia's use of military force in Eastern Ukraine, with the goal of destabilizing and eventually seizing control of the country, and for Rubin's accurate depiction of how dangerous Russian leader Vladimir Putin really is ("Death of Moscow ideals," March 1). By presenting these inconvenient truths, Rubin's commentary educates the public and exerts pressure on Western political leaders to respond appropriately.
March 2, 2015 |
When Philadelphia's next mayor takes the oath of office inside the glittering Academy of Music, he or she should have a plan to help the city residents who cannot afford to attend a concert, don't have enough food to eat, and do not expect life to get better for them or their children. The next mayor will lead the poorest among the nation's 10 biggest cities. More than a quarter of its 1.5 million residents live in poverty. Thirty-nine percent of its children are poor. There are programs to help, but too many people don't know they qualify.
November 26, 2014 |
"It is a time . . . when want is keenly felt, and abundance rejoices. " - A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens Despite biblical assurances on the awful staying power of poverty, Mayor Nutter deserves credit for launching a high-profile effort to whittle away at the number of poor living in Philadelphia. With poverty clouding the future prospects for one in four Philadelphians - many of them children - parts of the city might offer reminders of Dickensian London, but for the fact of a robust social safety net (not to mention modern sanitation methods)