The New Face of Poverty

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Most people describe poverty as a lack of essential items, such as food, clothing, and shelter. When individuals are not able to afford nutritious meals, attend school regularly, or have access to health care, regardless of their income, they can be considered to be in poverty. The new face of poverty involves many people who are homeless because problems that arose, or unforeseen circumstances occurred, forcing them into these situations. In the essay, “The Untouchables,” Kozol wrote about the struggles and hardships Richard Lazarus and others encountered because of homelessness. Jo Goodwin Parker wrote a vivid first hand description about living in poverty in the essay, “What is Poverty?”. Lazarus lived on the street struggling to survive, where as, Parker lived in a house struggling to support her family. In New York, Lazarus either slept in a park or in a dilapidated hotel operated by a shelter organization. Other homeless people, unable to find room in a shelter or afraid of something within the shelter, seeked sanctuary in public transportation buildings, subway tunnels, or church doorways. Parker struggled to provide anything but the bare essentials for her family. She lived without hot water, soap, shampoo, hand cream for cracked red hands, or materials to do any repairs on the unkempt, decrepit house. Each night, she washed all the clothes her school aged children possessed, in cold water, hoping they would be dry for the next school day. Lazarus felt the American public looked at homelessness as “the rejected waste of society”(263).He feels the homeless were useful when performing menial tasks or donating blood. He thinks people living in regular homes may not complain about their current situation if they see homeless people and fear they could be in the same state of affairs. In the same way, Parker said, “Poverty is looking into a black future”. She feared for her children’s future imaging them being behind bars because they...
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