Book Reflection and Response
Seccombe (2006), in Families in Poverty, discusses six pathways through which poverty operates based upon a model developed by Brooks-Gunn and Duncan and the Children’s Defense Fund (p. 65). Although the pathway model is primarily focused on the potential effects of poverty on children, the model can also be applied to adults. Because of this, I found that the research presented by Seccombe on the pathways to poverty paralleled many of the experiences that Ehrenreich faced in her endeavor to make ends meet as a minimum-wage worker. Most of the connections I made between Seccombe’s research and Ehrenreich’s experiences fell under the pathway of “Housing Problems,” in which there were several similarities between the two.
Seccombe (2006) writes that “the United States currently faces a severely limited supply of affordable housing units” (p. 73). Ehrenreich, in her attempt to find somewhat affordable housing, definitely experienced the effects of this housing shortage. For instance, in order to pay only $500 dollars a month as opposed to $675 dollars in Key West, she had to move even further away from town, resulting in a commute that would take approximately forty-five minutes (Ehrenreich, 2001, p. 12). In Portland, Maine, Ehrenreich comes across the same dilemma when trying to find affordable housing located near town. She found that “the only low-rent options seem to be clustered in an area about a thirty-minute drive south” (Ehrenreich, 2001, p. 55). One can only imagine the additional costs that would be incurred if a person even deeper in poverty could not afford the luxury of a car for transportation purposes.
Ehrenreich encountered the most difficulties finding housing, and specifically affordable housing, in the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Of her intense search, she writes: “The vacancy rate is less than 1 percent, and if we’re talking about affordable, why it might be as low...