Why Do People Respond to High Profile New Coverage on Poverty …

But help comes case by case from folks who still believe in stereotypes? Point in case.

60 Minutes did a pretty intense investigation on children of families living in their cars in Central Florida.

More than 16 million children are now living in poverty and, for many of them, a proper home is elusive. Some cash-strapped families stay with relatives; others move into motels or homeless shelters. But, as Scott Pelley reports, sometimes those options run out, leaving an even more desperate choice: living in their cars. 60 Minutes returns to Florida, home to one third of America’s homeless families living without shelter, to find out what life is like for the epidemic’s youngest survivors.

 

Here’s the video (I can’t figure out how to embed CBS videos into this site yet)

After the segment aired several weeks ago, Scott Pelley provided an update during tonight’s broadcast. More than $1 million in assistance was offered by the public. All of the families profiled are now in free housing. All of the adults have been offered jobs. Three colleges offered one set of kids scholarships.

Ledcat turned to me and said exactly what I was thinking “Where were those jobs a month ago?”

I’m glad all of these families received help. I just hope it is the sort of investment that helps them become self-sufficient again and comprehensive enough to deal with the incident that caused the downward economic spiral as well as the impact of the fall itself.

And I wish people didn’t need to watch a 12 year old brush her teeth in a gas station bathroom before heading to school to take action. I wish they donated $25 and called their Congressperson. And thought about where they shop and how it creates jobs. And rethought Occupy Wall Street.  And compare children brushing their teeth in gas stations with things like marriage amendments. Which should their elected officials be focused on, hmm?

There is no such thing and never will be such a thing as a privately funded safety net.  On another segment of 60 Minutes, Warren Buffet’s son and heir-apparent was very blunt that he thought Bill Gates approach to poverty reduction wasn’t effective, but he is actually engaged in his own philanthropic efforts in South America to build a sustainable agriculture source of income. So he sort of gets to talk.

Nonetheless, there simply aren’t enough Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Howard Buffets in the United States to make sure children aren’t living in cars in Central Florida. There are plenty of rich rich rich people who could prevent that, but they don’t. They won’t.

And there aren’t enough segments of shows like 60 Minutes to draw the $25 donations and college tuition for all children in need. They are powerful, but even Oprah realized you needed to give away free laptops and focus on famous people to balance out the real life hard luck stories of average Americans.

So what you can do here in Pennsylvania is pay attention.  HB 300 protects and creates job opportunities for LGBTQ people.  Redistricting is going to impact a lot of us … creating a powerbase in Butler for Darryl Metcalfe while dissecting Erie makes no sense and scares the bejeezus out of me.

I wonder if the upper echelons at those 3 colleges froze their pay so as not to layoff anyone? I wonder how $1 million could be invested systemically in the program that helps ALL of these kids as opposed to helping individuals profiled on the news?  I wonder …