Pam Fessler http://wesa.fm en Finding A More Nuanced View Of Poverty's 'Black Hole' http://wesa.fm/post/finding-more-nuanced-view-povertys-black-hole Ask Anne Valdez what poverty means for her, and her answer will describe much more than a simple lack of money.<p>"It's like being stuck in a black hole," says Valdez, 47, who is unemployed and trying to raise a teenage son in Coney Island, New York City. Wed, 02 Apr 2014 10:16:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 26880 at http://wesa.fm Voting Rights Fight Takes New Direction http://wesa.fm/post/voting-rights-fight-takes-new-direction It's that time again, when primary voters start casting their ballots for the midterm elections. As in recent years, voters face new rules and restrictions, including the need in 16 states to show a photo ID.<p>But this year, some voting rights activists say they're seeing a change — <a href="http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/voter-id.aspx#Details">fewer new restrictions</a> and, in some places, even a hint of bipartisanship.<p>Although that wasn't the case last month in Ohio, when the Legislature voted along party lines to eliminate a week of early voting. Thu, 27 Mar 2014 21:05:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 26610 at http://wesa.fm Voting Rights Fight Takes New Direction States' Rebellion Against Food Stamp Cuts Grows http://wesa.fm/post/states-rebellion-against-food-stamp-cuts-grows When Congress passed a farm bill earlier this year, it expected to save $8.6 billion over 10 years by tightening what many say is a loophole in the food stamp, or SNAP, program. Thu, 13 Mar 2014 22:54:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 25838 at http://wesa.fm States' Rebellion Against Food Stamp Cuts Grows Groups Use Cash Prizes To Encourage Saving http://wesa.fm/post/groups-use-cash-prizes-encourage-saving When it comes to getting ahead in the world, a lack of savings can be a big hurdle, especially for low-income families. Most don't have enough money set aside for emergencies, let alone for college or a house. Some people think the answer is to make savings more fun, like the lottery, with the chance to win big prizes.<p>It's called prize-linked savings, something that's been available in Great Britain for decades. Mon, 10 Mar 2014 20:22:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 25622 at http://wesa.fm Groups Use Cash Prizes To Encourage Saving In Crimea, Public Relations Can Be As Dangerous As Politics http://wesa.fm/post/crimea-public-relations-can-be-dangerous-politics Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.<p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>And I'm Robert Siegel.<p>Crimea votes this coming Sunday on whether to claim independence from Ukraine. Polls indicate the measure is sure to pass. But pro-Russian politicians are leaving nothing to chance. Mon, 10 Mar 2014 20:22:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 25620 at http://wesa.fm Can Exercising Seniors Help Revive A Brooklyn Neighborhood? http://wesa.fm/post/can-exercising-seniors-help-revive-brooklyn-neighborhood The Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y., is known for many things, among them huge public housing projects, extremely high poverty and crime. Last summer, a one-year-old boy was shot in the head and killed as he sat in a stroller in the neighborhood.<p>But that's one side of life in Brownsville. Sun, 23 Feb 2014 10:21:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 24859 at http://wesa.fm Can Exercising Seniors Help Revive A Brooklyn Neighborhood? Election Panel: Long Lines Were Management Problem http://wesa.fm/post/election-panel-long-lines-were-management-problem The commission President Obama appointed last year to figure out how to fix long lines at the polls and other election problems has sought to steer clear of the many partisan land mines surrounding how Americans vote.<p>The two co-chairmen of <a href="http://www.supportthevoter.gov/">the panel</a> continued to that navigation Wednesday as they presented their unanimous recommendations to the Senate Rules Committee.<p>When asked by Democrat Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota whether some states were doing things intentionally to disenfranchise voters — like limiting early-voting days — commission co-ch Wed, 12 Feb 2014 22:11:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 24339 at http://wesa.fm Election Panel: Long Lines Were Management Problem Nonprofits Pull In Investors To Tackle Housing Affordability http://wesa.fm/post/nonprofits-pull-investors-tackle-housing-affordability One of the biggest problems facing low-income families in the U.S. today is a lack of affordable housing.<p>According to <a href="http://www.jchs.harvard.edu/americas-rental-housing">a recent report</a> by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard, more than 7 million low-income households now spend more than half of their income for rent, which leaves little money for anything else. And the situation is expected to get worse.<p>Now, a coalition of nonprofit groups is trying to turn things around with a new, more business-like approach to buying real estate. Tue, 11 Feb 2014 22:08:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 24272 at http://wesa.fm Nonprofits Pull In Investors To Tackle Housing Affordability Shorter Lines? For Elections Commission, It's Common Sense http://wesa.fm/post/shorter-lines-elections-commission-its-common-sense Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.<p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>And I'm Robert Siegel. Remember the scenes of those endless voting lines in the 2012 presidential election? Some voters waited for six hours or more to cast their ballots. Well, now a presidential commission has come up with some ways to fix the problem. The panel, appointed by President Obama himself, suggests that more early voting and better voting technology would help. Wed, 22 Jan 2014 22:01:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 23199 at http://wesa.fm In Appalachia, Poverty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder http://wesa.fm/post/appalachia-poverty-eye-beholder <em>President Lyndon B. Johnson went to eastern Kentucky in 1964 to promote his War on Poverty. But when he did, he opened a wound that remains raw today. People in the region say they're tired of always being depicted as poor, so when NPR's Pam Fessler went to Appalachia to report on how the War on Poverty is going, she was warned that people would be reluctant to talk. Instead, she got an earful. </em><p>Lee Mueller has lived in Martin County, Ky., for much of his life, and he covered President Johnson's visit there as a young reporter. Sat, 18 Jan 2014 15:56:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 23024 at http://wesa.fm Coal-Mining Area Grapples With How To Keep 'Bright Young Minds' http://wesa.fm/post/coal-mining-area-grapples-how-keep-bright-young-minds <em>Fifty years ago today, President Lyndon Johnson stood before Congress and declared an "unconditional war on poverty in America." His arsenal included new programs: Medicaid, Medicare, Head Start, food stamps, more spending on education and tax cuts to help create jobs.</em><p><em>In the coming year, NPR will explore the impact and extent of poverty in the U.S., and what can be done to reduce it.</em><p>When President Johnson waged war against poverty in 1964, he traveled to Martin County, Ky., an Appalachian coal-mining region with a poverty rate of more than 60 percent, to promote his cam Wed, 08 Jan 2014 22:40:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 22555 at http://wesa.fm Coal-Mining Area Grapples With How To Keep 'Bright Young Minds' Kentucky County That Gave War On Poverty A Face Still Struggles http://wesa.fm/post/kentucky-county-gave-war-poverty-face-still-struggles <em>Fifty years ago today, President Lyndon Johnson stood before Congress and declared an "unconditional war on poverty in America." His arsenal included new programs: Medicaid, Medicare, Head Start, food stamps, more spending on education, and tax cuts to help create jobs. </em><p><em>At the time, 1 in 5 Americans was poor. Today, things are better, but tens of millions of Americans are still living at or below the poverty level. That raises the question: Did the war on poverty fail? Wed, 08 Jan 2014 08:29:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 22499 at http://wesa.fm Kentucky County That Gave War On Poverty A Face Still Struggles Loophole Or Workaround? (Food Stamp Edition) http://wesa.fm/post/food-stamp-program-be-cut-how-much In the debate over whether to cut the food stamp program, members of Congress are looking at two pretty arcane provisions in the law. People who want to cut food stamps call the provisions loopholes. People who don't want to cut food stamps say they're efficient ways to get benefits to those who need them most.<p><strong>1. Categorical Eligibility</strong><p>People who qualify for one means-tested program — like welfare — can automatically qualify for other programs — like food stamps. This is called "categorical eligibility."<p>Jessica Shahin, who oversees the food stamp program at the U.S. Wed, 04 Dec 2013 10:03:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 20795 at http://wesa.fm Loophole Or Workaround? (Food Stamp Edition) I Applied For An Online Payday Loan. Here's What Happened Next http://wesa.fm/post/i-applied-online-payday-loan-heres-what-happened-next Payday lenders made about $49 billion in high-interest loans last year. More than a third of those loans were made online. I wondered what happens when you apply for such a loan, so I decided to find out.<p>In the course of reporting a story earlier this year, I logged on to a site called <a href="etaxloan.com">eTaxLoan.com</a> and filled out an application.<p>I asked for $500 and, to be safe, I made up an address, a name (Mary) and a Social Security number. Wed, 06 Nov 2013 08:04:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 19351 at http://wesa.fm I Applied For An Online Payday Loan. Here's What Happened Next The Poverty Rate Ignores Programs That Fight Poverty http://wesa.fm/post/poverty-rate-ignores-programs-fight-poverty New U.S. poverty numbers come out on Tuesday. But what, exactly, do those numbers measure?<p>Consider the case of Ann Valdez. She's a 47-year-old single mom who lives in an apartment in Brooklyn with her teenage son. She doesn't have a job. She gets a cash payment of about $130 every two weeks from the government. That's all that's counted for her income in the government's poverty measure.<p>But Valdez also gets $367 a month in food stamps. The government pays $283 a month for her apartment, which she says would rent for $1,100 or so on the open market. Mon, 16 Sep 2013 20:44:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 16639 at http://wesa.fm The Poverty Rate Ignores Programs That Fight Poverty A College Kid, A Single Mom, And The Problem With The Poverty Line http://wesa.fm/post/college-kid-single-mom-and-problem-poverty-line <strong>The College Kid</strong><p>Rico Saccoccio is a junior at Fordham University in the Bronx. He's from a middle-class family in Connecticut and he spent the summer living at home with his parents, who cover about $15,000 a year in his college costs.<p>According to the U.S. government, Saccoccio is living in poverty. The $8,000 he earns doing odd jobs puts him well below the $11,945 poverty threshold for an individual. In fact, the U.S. Tue, 27 Aug 2013 04:16:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 15498 at http://wesa.fm A College Kid, A Single Mom, And The Problem With The Poverty Line Tucson Food Bank Helps The Needy Grow Their Own Food http://wesa.fm/post/tucson-food-bank-helps-needy-grow-their-own-food Food banks around the country face growing demand, despite improvements in the economy. Many families are still underemployed and struggling. So some food banks are looking for more permanent ways to address hunger, beyond handing out food.<p>One of them is the <a href="http://www.communityfoodbank.org">Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona</a>, based in Tucson. Among the many programs it runs is Las Milpitas de Cottonwood, a community farm located in one of the city's lower-income neighborhoods.<p>More than 50 families have garden plots there. Sat, 27 Jul 2013 10:38:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 13847 at http://wesa.fm Tucson Food Bank Helps The Needy Grow Their Own Food Howard Buffett Battles Hunger, Armed With Money And Science http://wesa.fm/post/howard-buffett-battles-hunger-armed-money-and-science Get Howard Buffett into the cab of a big ole' farm tractor and he's like a kid — albeit a 58-year-old, gray-haired one. He's especially excited when it comes to the tractor's elaborate GPS system, which he describes as "very cool."<p>"I'm driving hands-free," says Buffett, the son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett.<p>He says that the tractor has been automatically set to plant 16 perfect rows of seeds, "so it makes everything more efficient. Tue, 23 Jul 2013 19:41:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 13614 at http://wesa.fm Howard Buffett Battles Hunger, Armed With Money And Science Voting Rights Ruling By Supreme Court Draws Mixed Reactions http://wesa.fm/post/voting-rights-ruling-supreme-court-draws-mixed-reactions Transcript <p>RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: <p>As we've been hearing, the reaction to the court's decision was strong and immediate.<p>DAVID GREENE, HOST: <p>President Obama said he was deeply disappointed and he called on Congress to act. Wed, 26 Jun 2013 09:27:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 12113 at http://wesa.fm Can Federal Funds Help Social Service Groups Work Smarter? http://wesa.fm/post/can-federal-funds-help-social-service-groups-work-smarter When President Obama first took office in 2009, he had an idea called the <a href="http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/social-innovation-fund" target="_blank">Social Innovation Fund</a>.<p>"We're going to use this fund to find the most promising nonprofits in America," he said when announcing the plan. "We'll examine their data and rigorously evaluate their outcomes. Tue, 11 Jun 2013 20:51:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 11233 at http://wesa.fm Can Federal Funds Help Social Service Groups Work Smarter? 'Please, No More Clothes': Relief Groups Ask For Cash http://wesa.fm/post/please-no-more-clothes-okla-asks-monetary-donations The tornado that <a href="http://www.npr.org/series/185643689/2013-tornadoes-in-oklahoma">devastated much of Moore, Okla.</a>, has drawn loads of donations from across the country: food, clothing, medical supplies, toys. Much of it is needed by the victims, but not everything.<p>After every disaster, relief groups usually ask for one thing: money. But writing a check or texting a donation isn't always that satisfying for those who want so desperately to help. <strong> Sat, 25 May 2013 09:55:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 10206 at http://wesa.fm 'Please, No More Clothes': Relief Groups Ask For Cash Advocates Struggle To Reach Growing Ranks Of Suburban Poor http://wesa.fm/post/advocates-struggle-reach-growing-ranks-suburban-poor Poverty has grown everywhere in the U.S. in recent years, but mostly in the suburbs. Mon, 20 May 2013 07:07:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 9833 at http://wesa.fm Advocates Struggle To Reach Growing Ranks Of Suburban Poor Sequester Puts Some Needing Housing Aid 'Back To Square One' http://wesa.fm/post/sequester-puts-some-needing-housing-aid-back-square-one Congress decided last week to ease the effects of the across-the-board federal spending cuts on travelers upset over airport delays. But low-income Americans who rely on government housing aid are still feeling the pain.<p>Housing authorities across the country have all but stopped issuing rent vouchers as they try to deal with the cuts known as sequestration. Tue, 30 Apr 2013 19:56:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 8766 at http://wesa.fm Sequester Puts Some Needing Housing Aid 'Back To Square One' Changes Help San Diego Homeless, But Long Road Remains Ahead http://wesa.fm/post/changes-help-san-diego-homeless-long-road-remains-ahead <em>Two years ago, we reported on an <a href="http://www.npr.org/2011/03/08/134035384/campaign-aims-to-open-doors-for-the-homeless">ambitious campaign to end homelessness</a> in downtown San Diego, a city with one of the largest homeless populations in the nation. The effort involved an unprecedented coalition of business leaders, community groups and government agencies.</em><p><em>At the time, some advocates for the homeless — after years of seeing other, failed efforts to get people off city streets — were skeptical that the campaign would amount to much. Tue, 16 Apr 2013 21:46:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 7979 at http://wesa.fm Changes Help San Diego Homeless, But Long Road Remains Ahead Obama Forms Presidential Commission To Study Voting Problems http://wesa.fm/post/obama-forms-presidential-commission-study-voting-problems President Obama has established a new bipartisan commission on election administration, something he promised to do in his Feb. 12 State of the Union address. He <a href="http://www.npr.org/documents/2013/mar/2013electionadmin.pdf" target="_blank">signed an executive order</a> Thursday making it official.<p>The Presidential Commission on Election Administration is being headed by two longtime Washington attorneys, Bob Bauer and Ben Ginsberg. Bauer was general counsel to the president's re-election campaign and is also Obama's former White House counsel. Thu, 28 Mar 2013 20:30:00 +0000 Pam Fessler 6959 at http://wesa.fm Obama Forms Presidential Commission To Study Voting Problems