RE: Discussion Questions

Student Response One:
Good afternoon,
While I grew up in Pennsylvania, I currently live in a small farm town called Safford, Arizona. Since I have worked for the local Head Start, the Department of Child Safety, and the Crisis Response Team, I was not surprised to see that the poverty rate was so high within the Safford city limits. According to City Data (2016), 41.40 percent of the population in this area meets or exceeds the poverty guidelines. That means that approximately 128 out of 309 households and 354 out of 854 individuals living in my town are experiencing poverty.
For a small town, there are numerous social welfare programs implemented that address poverty including subsidized housing, job skills training/job search, a homeless shelter where homeless individuals can work towards becoming paid staff, and a peer run substance abuse organization. I believe that if my town didn’t have so many programs and services to address poverty, this percentage would be drastically higher.
One strategy that I believe would enhance my town’s current anti-poverty efforts would be to offer some type of adult education courses that would allow individuals to obtain their GED / High School diploma. According to Turner and Lehning (2007), studies indicate that deficiencies in reading, writing, and general education tend to lead to a lower socioeconomic status. Similarly, the more education an individual possesses, the more jobs that individual is typically qualified for, leading to more chances to obtain a steady income. If general education courses were offered to adults in my town, I believe that this would lower the amount of individuals who were living in poverty.
A second strategy that would enhance my town’s current anti-poverty efforts would be to offer some type of free budgeting programs to individuals who meet the poverty guidelines. Individuals have access to food stamps and cash assistance programs, but are not provided any type of money management training. According to Krumer-Nevo, Monnickendam, and Weiss-Gal (2009), understanding how poverty affects everyday life is an important step in addressing the issue of poverty in general. Individuals who are receiving this type of financial assistance could be taught ways to make the money that they do have/receive last longer such as creating budgets, weekly shopping/meal plans, personal stipends, etc. These individuals could also be taught that if they are able to save money in one area, they can put it towards a different area. For example, if someone can save 20 dollars per week on food, they could put that 20 dollars towards obtaining sufficient housing. I think that individuals in my town are provided financial assistance, but not always provided information on how to make the best use of that money.
Overall, I think that my town does a great job of assisting individuals living in poverty but that improvements can definitely be made.
References
City Data. (2016). Safford, Arizona (AZ) Poverty Rate Data Information about poor and low income residents. Retrieved December 27, 2016, from http://www.city-data.com/poverty/poverty-Safford-A…
Krumer-Nevo, M., Monnickendam, M.,