Being Poor: Meet ALICE the Working Poor

May 22, 2017. FPI’s Ron Deutsch joins Reg Foster, President and CEO of the United Way of New York State, Sharon F. Owens
of Syracuse Community Connections and Stephanie Hoopes Halpin, PhD National Director of United Way ALICE Project on a WPBS special to discuss why the employed can be considered impoverished and what can be done to help these families. Ron argues that there are millions of New Yorkers struggling to make ends meet and that the federal poverty level is an antiquated measure that has no basis in reality. Ron also argues that while the $15 minimum wage is not the overall answer and that childcare should be taken into account and additional childcare should be provided because New York State is only meeting 15-percent of the demand. Ron also suggests investing more in rent subsidies. He also talks about the human services sector, where employees are also not making enough to make ends meet. He goes on to discuss how lower wage jobs are being added to the workforce but not higher paying jobs and that we are not training low-income people to fill the higher paying positions. He suggests that we need to reform our economic development system to a bottom-up approach, instead of the current top-down approach. Ron discusses his concern about Medicaid and how it is moving from an entitlement program to a block grant, which will only cover a smaller amount of people, which will in turn make the working poor lives’ harder. Lastly he discusses the need of assets that are needed to become economically secure and that we are not helping the working poor purchase homes, attend college and that Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) are underfunded. He suggests reforms such as tying the $9 billion spent on economic development programs on anti-poverty initiatives.

Here is the link to the WMHT PBS episode.