People living in poverty have always had a presence in the US, and poverty continues to be a problem. In 2012, there were 46.5 million people living in poverty, with a poverty rate of 15 percent, which is 2.5 percent higher than in 2007 (DeNavas-Walt, Proctor, Smith, 2013). The vast number of people living in poverty suggests the importance of reviewing social policies surrounding poverty issues.
Concentrated poverty can cause issues such as a high crime rate, poor schooling, poor housing options, and poor health (Ross, 2013). These are all issues that can occur in rural and urban communities, though each face their own difficulties. This paper will review rural poverty with a focus on ...view middle of the document...
Additionally, children in rural areas have a higher rate of poverty than those in urban areas, with a noticeable difference growing since the late 90s (Kainz, Willoughby, Vernon-Feagans, & Burchinal, 2012). Policies regarding housing and food attainability are extremely important for these growing areas of poverty.
Affordable, adequate housing can be difficult to access in impoverished areas. Since the 1930s the government has aided those in poverty with housing assistance, including subsidized housing and rent assistance, generally through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). In addition, rural housing assistance is available through the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) (Committee on Ways and Means, n.d., p. 15-1). The USDA housing assistance can provide rural renting housing loans or rental assistance. The USDA rental assistance program is similar to the Housing Choice Voucher program through HUD, in which the family or individual’s landlord receives a voucher to make up the difference in rent (Committee on Ways and Means, n.d., p.15-6). However, drawbacks to these policies are the long waiting lists for assistance, and many people who receive assistance are still rent-burdened (Leopold, 2012).
In 2012, there were 14.5 percent households that were food insecure, and there has not been much change in food insecurity since 2008 (Coleman-Jensen, Nord, & Singh, 2013). Food insecurity has been shown to have detrimental effects on children, and is “associated with risk of poor cognitive, social, and emotional development of children younger than 3 years” (Chilton & Rose, 2009). Programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provide assistance to families and individuals who meet eligibility requirements. However, those who are eligible for SNAP benefits and are able to work but are unemployed have a time limit of 3 months to receive benefits (USDA, 2013). In rural areas, this can present a problem when there are less employment opportunities, and although children can receive benefits, that may not be enough to benefit a family. Additionally, in rural areas there may be fewer nonprofit organizations and food pantries available as opposed to urban and suburban areas.
While urban poverty is often not overlooked like rural poverty, it continues to be a major...