Jewish Group Says Poverty Is Not Acceptable in a Civilized Society
WASHINGTON - In light of today's Census Bureau report announcing that one in seven Americans live in poverty, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) is reiterating its call for President Obama and Congress to act swiftly to enact needed anti-poverty reforms before the end of the year.
The U.S. Census Bureau today released its estimates on the number of individuals and families living in poverty across the United States. In today's report, the Census Bureau estimates that the number of Americans living in poverty has risen to 43.6 million, from 39.8 million in 2008. The number of people living in poverty in 2009 is the largest number in the 51 years for which poverty estimates are available.
Today's findings come as no surprise to the JCPA, which leads the national "There Shall Be No Needy Among You" Confronting Poverty campaign.
"Although not a surprise, today's Census Bureau report is disappointing," said Dr. Conrad Giles and Rabbi Steve Gutow, chair and president, respectively, of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. "It is a shame that a country as rich as ours has so many people living in poverty. The current recession has only exacerbated the situation. Millions of Americans struggle to put food on the table and afford health care and housing. Congress has taken steps over the last few years to help the nation's most vulnerable, but more must be done.
"No one wants to see people suffer, and we often ask ourselves 'what can I do' to help. Our nation's leaders must take a proactive approach to end this suffering by protecting human needs programs from further cuts, creating sustainable jobs, and clearly supporting one piece of legislation that we've made a signature concern--a robust Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act which provides both funding for access and improved nutrition. Anything less is hardly enough."
As part of its Confronting Poverty campaign, the JCPA along with co-chairs Catholic Charities and the National Council of Churches will coordinate more than 35 national faith organizations for the third annual "Fighting Poverty with Faith" mobilization. This initiative brings together religious, civic and community-service organizations across the country to urge candidates and elected officials to prioritize cutting domestic poverty in half by 2020, promote efforts to protect human needs programs from further cuts and invest in job creation.
More information on this year's Fighting Poverty with Faith initiative can be found at www.fightingpovertywithfaith.com.
Launched in 2007, JCPA's "There Shall Be No Needy Among You" Confronting Poverty campaign urges local, state and national leaders to advance legislation and programs that help provide food, shelter and additional work and educational opportunities for the nation's most vulnerable. JCPA designed the campaign to increase national commitment to reduce poverty and to inspire communities across the country to mobilize to sponsor anti-poverty programs as part of the "Fighting Poverty with Faith" campaign and other initiatives.