Monday, January 13, 2014

POVERTY IN AMERICA - Rates Surge in Suburbs

"Poverty rates surge in American suburbs" PBS Newshour 1/11/2014


MEGAN THOMPSON (Newshour):  By all appearances, Leigh Scozzari is living a comfortable suburban life.  She baked cookies one recent afternoon with her four-year-old twins at her mom’s place in Shirley, Long Island - about 65 miles east of New York City.  Scozzari owns an SUV… the girls spend their days at a nice day care center ...and Scozzari works a full-time job.

LEIGH SCOZZARI:  A lot of people look at me and they judge me just by looking at me, like, "Okay, well, she has a job, you know.  She-- you know, she has a home and-- you know, her kids look very well taken care of.  Why would she need any help at all?"

MEGAN THOMPSON:  Scozzari needs help because by official standards, she and her daughters live in poverty.  Her job as a certified medical assistant pays just over 19,000 a year and offers no benefits.  So Scozzari is on Medicaid, gets food stamps, and a government subsidy to pay for child care she could never otherwise afford.  This 30-year old single mom lives in that two-bedroom house with her mother and pays rent.  Her car has almost 200,000 miles on it and is in such bad shape Scozzari says she’s afraid to drive it.

LEIGH SCOZZARI:  I live paycheck to paycheck.  That’s what it is right now.

MEGAN THOMPSON:  Do you have any savings?

LEIGH SCOZZARI:  Typically, I have enough probably to get me through the next week or so.  But as far as having a savings, no.  I worry about-- not being able to have enough food to feed the girls.  I worry about them not having the opportunities that other kids-- are going to have.  So I'm constantly worrying, you know, always worrying.

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