Bo’s Clips: Suburban Poverty Grows

A new Brookings Institute study says America’s poor are increasingly pushed out into the suburbs where the costs of living and transportation is higher. Austin is second in the nation in suburban poverty growth.

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Advocates Struggle To Reach Growing Ranks Of Suburban Poor

By Pam Fessler       NPR      May 20, 2013

Poverty has grown everywhere in the U.S. in recent years, but mostly in the suburbs. During the 2000s, it grew twice as fast in suburban areas as in cities, with more than 16 million poor people now living in the nation’s suburbs — more than in urban or rural areas.

Elizabeth Kneebone, a fellow with the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution, says this shift in poverty can be seen in Montgomery County, Md., right outside the nation’s capital.

“Montgomery County is one of the wealthiest counties in the country,” she says, noting the streets lined with luxury apartments, big homes and crowded restaurants. “But it also has a rapidly growing poor population.”

Kneebone, co-author with Alan Berube of a new book from Brookings, Confronting Suburban Poverty in America, says poverty in Montgomery County has grown by two-thirds since the recent recession. That means 30,000 more residents living below the federal poverty line — about $23,000 for a family of four.

That doesn’t buy much in a suburban area with a high cost of living. By some estimates, a family of four in Montgomery County needs more than $80,000 a year to meet basic needs.

Hidden Among Affluence

Around the country, the suburban poor live in low-income and working-class neighborhoods, Kneebone says. “But it’s also occurring in places we think of as more affluent,” she says. “And, in fact, it may be even more hidden there because we don’t expect to find poverty in those communities.”

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Austin: Second Fastest Growing City for Suburban Poverty

By Laura Rice         KUT News        May 19, 2013

Austin is growing – and so is the area’s low income population.

Over the last decade or so, the number of people living in poverty in Austin grew by 77 percent. But the number of people living in poverty in the suburbs grew by more than 140 percent. These numbers made Austin the second-largest percentage increase among big cities across the U.S.

In the Brookings Institution book “Confronting Suburban Poverty in America,”  authors Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berube find that not only is suburban poverty growing, but that suburbs often lack the services and program that could provide a way out of poverty.

Lead author Elizabeth Kneebone says the problem is that while the geography of poverty is changing, perception and policy haven’t kept up. “Suburbs are increasingly facing the same kinds of challenges and growing need. And often don’t have the resources and infrastructure in place to deal with these challenges in the way that cities may have been able to build up over decades,” she says.

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Poor population in DFW suburbs has risen 111 percent since 2000

By Steve Campbell     Fort Worth Star-Telegram        May 21, 2013

The poor population in Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington suburbs has risen 111 percent increase from 2000 to 2011, according to a new Brookings Institution book that shows that poverty is rapidly shifting from the nation’s inner cities to suburbia.

The poor in America’s suburbs surged 64 percent in the last decade, or more than twice the rate of the urban poor population, according to the book Confronting Suburban Poverty in America, released Monday by the Washington D.C-based think tank.

“When people think of poverty in America, they tend to think of inner-city neighborhoods or isolated rural communities, but today, suburbs are home to the largest and fastest-growing poor population in the country,” says Elizabeth Kneebone, a fellow at the institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program and the lead author of the book.

“Poverty is touching more people and places than before, challenging outdated notions of where poverty is and who it affects,” she said.

There were 474,023 people living in poverty in DFW suburbs in 2011, a rise of 106,462 since 2008. Between 2000 and 2008, the number jumped by 143,118, the study shows.

The shift was even more dramatic in Austin, where the number of poor in the suburbs rose by 142 percent.

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Council: Passes Corridor Plan, Kills CURE

Council paves the way for a new urban makeover of the strip east of I-35

By Amy Smith      Austin Chronicle     May 16, 2013

Last week, City Council did manage to accomplish some important business, even with the president’s visit cutting a hole into its meeting schedule and causing reshuffling and postponements of a number of agenda items. Rest assured, though, that the East Riverside Corridor Regulating Plan secured final approval (despite incorrect reporting on this end that it had been postponed). The months-long perennial agenda item passed after a series of separate, complex – and sometimes split – votes from Council. The new development rules pave the way for a new urban makeover of the strip east of I-35, long a transitory hodgepodge of low-slung commercial businesses and apartment complexes catering to students and low-income residents.

Under the new plan, high-end apartments will continue to replace the aged and affordable residential structures, drive-through businesses will have seven years to conform to new standards, and new service stations will be prohibited while existing stations can stay in place. The gentrified vision driving the changes is one that includes more density, walkability, and, perhaps someday, urban rail.

Council also a took the first step in eliminating CURE zoning in Downtown, which developers have routinely relied on to obtain additional height and density without the requirements tied to the Density Bonus Program – a component of the Council-adopted Downtown Plan that’s designed to beef up the city’s affordable housing efforts.

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Scott Budnick serves breakfast – with a side order of respect – to the homeless

Sunday breakfast at a Providence, R.I., church is more than a free meal. Half the volunteers are homeless themselves: ‘It’s their [own] breakfast that they’re putting on.’

By Clarisse Hart       Christian Science Monitor      May 17, 2013

Every Saturday, Scott Budnick and his wife, Maureen, peel 75 pounds of potatoes. At 5 o’clock the next morning, Mr. Budnick packs up the potatoes, 500 eggs, 250 sausages, and a host of other items contributed by his friends and neighbors. He drives it all to the Mathewson Street United Methodist Church in Providence, R.I., in time to welcome the first wave of volunteers – some homeless, some not – to the kitchen.

The Sunday Morning Friendship Breakfast is free and open to anyone who’s hungry. A sluggish economy keeps the crowds coming: The number of homeless Rhode Islanders climbed 10 percent in 2012. Since the friendship breakfast began 14 months ago, weekly turnout has grown from a few dozen people to more than 200.

The breakfast offers heaping plates of scrambled eggs, fresh fruit, pancakes, waffles, French toast, sausage, and home fries – plus pastries, oatmeal, juice, and coffee. It costs about a dollar a plate to produce.

“People tell us that this is a meal they look forward to all week long,” Budnick says.

The breakfast is not just a free meal: Half the volunteers are homeless themselves.

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