The causes of hunger are many, so therefore are the solutions...
hunger requires a focus on both short term and long term needs.
1. Short term (basic) needs: This involves food, health care, shelter, personal safety.
A person cannot begin to focus on the long term solutions of education and self
development while these basic needs are unmet.
This is the tradition focus of most welfare
programs. TANF, Food Stamps, Medicaid, ... The combined benefits do not lift families out of poverty.
Benefits often end as soon as any effort made to improve lot (this saves money in
short run, but by discouraging efforts at improvement it greatly adds to long term
- One in seven Americans currently receives benefits from SNAP (formerly food stamps).
- Nearly half of SNAP participants are children. Another 8 percent are age 60 or older.
- 85 percent of SNAP households have incomes at or below the poverty line.
- Refundable tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC), boost household
earnings, provide a critical buffer for emergencies, and lift millions of Americans out of poverty every year.
- These tax credits encourage work. Parents with two children who work 10 hours a week at a minimum-wage
job receive less than $100 from the Child Tax Credit. If they work full time, they receive about $1,800.
- In 2010, the EITC lifted 5.4 million people out of poverty, including 3 million children.
2. Long term needs: This involves providing people with job opportunities and
giving them access to the training, education, and support services they need to
take adv of them.
The support services include: Continued access to health care, child care,
transportation, education and training, The lack of any of these can prove to be
a barrier to self sufficiency.
Work must be made an avenue of leaving poverty. It does little good if child
care, health care and housing cost take so much money away that their still is
not enough money for food. Adequate support services, educational opportunities,
programs like the minimum wage, earned income tax credit and other efforts to
keep taxes low for low wage workers will go a long way to reduce the effects of
The heart of the problem rests in these
long term areas. Our failure in these long term areas increases the cost of the
short term programs. Some try to focus the blame on these short
term programs and say that cutting or eliminating them will somehow solve the
problem. This will only continue the basic neglect of the long term job creation
and education and thus increase the problem. Without access to the short term
programs and support services the poor will just become more deeply trapped. Key
to doing a better job meeting long term needs is broadening our understanding of
the concept of investment,,,