U.N. report finds extreme poverty in U.S.

By Eileen Schuhmann | Presbyterian Hunger Program

Central Presbyterian Church in Waxahachie, Texas, delivers about 250-300 meals each month for use in a local shelter/food bank. Photo by Central PC, Waxahachie, TX

The U.S. is not immune to hunger and poverty problems. In fact, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, found high levels of inequality and extreme poverty in the U.S.

After completing a two week visit to the U.S. in December 2017, Alston found that the U.S. has one of the worst and most long-enduring poverty rates among developed nations.

Alston found major problems with existing policies in the U.S. He argues that in the U.S., “the persistence of extreme poverty is a political choice made by those in power.”

The report identifies three areas where the U.S. is failing in basic social protections.

First, Indigenous communities in the U.S. suffer from widespread extreme poverty, poor health, and high suicide rates.

Second, as many as 18% of children in the U.S. live in poverty, which is more than a third of all people living in poverty in the U.S.

Third, a lack of dental care for impoverished adults leads to issues of unemployability and shame.

The report also argues that the U.S. government has worked harder to facilitate political disenfranchisement of the poor than to facilitate democratic participation.

The Presbyterian Hunger Program (PHP) in partnership with Presbyterian churches has been working to find sustainable solutions to hunger and poverty in the U.S. since its inception in 1969.

If your congregation would like to get serious about ending hunger, take the hunger pledge as a congregation!

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