Saturday, April 26, 2014

Lest we forget. . .


1 in 4 Dallas residents live in poverty.

1 in 3 Dallas children live in poverty.

Over 1 in 4 Dallas residents is "food insecure" (euphemism for "hungry").

Almost no one in Dallas receives "welfare" benefits (7,611 persons receive Temporary Assistance to Needy Families or TANF).

Almost 90% of DISD students take are eligible for the free and reduced lunch program in school.

Almost 73% of students in the various Dallas County ISDs are eligible for the free and reduced lunch benefit.

Dallas ranks 4th in poverty behind Detroit, Memphis and Philadelphia.

27% of Dallas adults have no high school diploma.

Dallas residents more likely to be in poverty than in the United States' other 20 largest cities.

In 3 zip code areas 60% of the population lives in poverty.

33.3% of residents in my zip code area live in poverty.

The federal poverty level for a family of 4 is $23,550 or $64 a day.

10% of Dallas residents (1 in 10) live below 50% of the federal poverty line.


Dallas is the richest poor city in the U. S.

People aren't poor because they are lazy, stupid or "sorry." 

People are poor due to gaps in skill sets, education/training; health issues, families of origin issues, life skills deficiencies, business reversals, human mistakes, and the accident of birth.  The zip code area in which one lives is a determinant of health outcomes.

To construct workable solutions and helpful approaches, we must learn to consult the people closest to the problems of poverty:  those who are poor themselves. 

We need to from robust, smart working groups and commissions on attacking poverty with a view to ROI for the entire community and a willingness to learn from other communities.

We need to noodle on ideas that allow Dallas' trade reps and corporate recruiters to bring deals home that serve, employ and empower folks who are currently battling poverty.

We must face the fact that real progress will involve "over investment" or remedial strategies to really leverage change.

We need to realize that investments made at the bottom of our socio-economic structure are dollars that swirl quickly to benefit everyone in the city.

Attention needs to be given to micro industries and entrepreneurial options for low income persons with big, good ideas about work and business.

A goal for Dallas County:  that every child born here leaves the hospital with a savings accouint and a path to the establishment of an Individual Development Account (IDA).

We need to find ways to provide low-income, working neighbors access to capital/credit on reasonable terms.

We must address state and city mental health funding gaps.

We must insist that Texas expand Medicaid.

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