Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Recession could push millions into deep poverty

The current downturn is likely to cause significant increases both in the number of Americans who are poor and the number living in "deep poverty," with incomes below half of the poverty line,* says a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

The government safety net for very poor families who lack jobs is much weaker and less well equipped to meet the challenges that a serious economic downturn poses than it was in previous major recessions.

Options are available to help stave off large increases in severe poverty and hardship in this recession, the report says. Those options include: a temporary increase in food stamp benefits, additional rental assistance through the housing voucher program, expanding and improving the TANF contingency fund, and expanding and extending unemployment benefits.

Read the report here.
* The 2008 poverty guidelines are $17,600 for a three-person family, for example; a family of that size with an income of less than $8,800 is below half the poverty line.


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