Thursday, July 23, 2015

Children in Poverty and the #HoCoMD

I had several ideas bouncing around my head for my next post, none earth shattering.  I was going to write about nutritional standards, but Councilman Ball wrapped that up very nicely here[1].  Then I thought I should stay focused on the nominations process and maybe dig up a cornucopia of troll comments from Housing Commission nominee Chris Oxenham.[2]  Finally, I saw a lot of potential for snarkery with the free Wi-Fi in Ellicott City story and resulting silly editorial, but I yawned even writing this sentence.

All of this was in my head when this came across my screen – The Annie E. Casey Foundation 2015 Kids Count Data Book which reveals and analyzes statistics and trends on children’s well being.  I have a long way to go before I am done reading and digesting all of it.  I actually hope I can put some of the stuff I find most interesting up in future posts.  In the meantime, one statistic I came across early brought me to my knees.  22% of American children live in poverty.  Let’s be “generous” and say 1 in 5 US kids.  As a quick refresher, the poverty line for a family of four in 2013 was $23,550.  If that information doesn’t break your heart, then you do not have one.

I put this number into the context of our community.  We here in Howard County should be in a much better position to help make things better in our region.  In my view, this is similar to the U.S. role in fighting both climate change and nuclear arms proliferation.  In both of these issues, the U.S. is in a very strong position to take a leadership role and we bear some level of responsibility for getting everyone into this mess in the first place.  Same goes for affluent suburbs outside of large urban areas.  Of course Howard County does not have quite the redlining history as other jurisdictions, but nevertheless, we are still on the winning side of the same interdependent economic system that put one in five children in poverty.  Three items in our recent history got me kind of angry thinking about this:

1)   The Susan Garber led assault on the new Day Resource Center
2)   The nomination of a rich white man[3] to the Housing Commission to replace an African American woman who has dedicated her career to affordable housing. 
3)   The push in Oakland Mills by mostly liberal Democrats to fight to create a country club like sports complex to attract “high end condos” to replace housing that currently works for less affluent people of color.


This isn’t an attack on any politician current or past; truthfully it’s not a great political issue.  Especially in Howard County, we like to care on a conceptual level.  If you get a moment, talk to the leaders at the Community Foundation of Howard County about Howard County’s philanthropy as it relates to other jurisdictions.  It is shameful.  Both of those statements being said, poverty in the region is an all hands on deck issue.  Every organization and institution in this County needs to engage, and our government should be leading that collective effort.

[1] Also feel free to read the comments anywhere that article exists or is shared if you find yourself low on bile #thanksobama I mean Communist Calvin
[2] They’re remarkably easy to find but worth noting that his blog commenting got A LOT more polite of late.  I wonder why?
[3] A rich white man who has shown himself to (being generous) not fully grasp issues around poverty.

1 comment:

  1. This post was just brought to my attention and it should be pointed out that misinformation is being spread. While I appreciate your enthusiasm for local issues you have a point marked there that states "a rich white man to the housing commission to replace an African American woman who has dedicated her career to affordable housing" aside from me wondering how you got access to my tax returns to be able to make a comment about me being "rich", it should be pointed out that I did not in fact replace who you said I did. While you may personally dislike me which is fair game and I have no problem taking hits from you about my postings and comments, facts should still triumph over fiction.