Monday, January 30, 2006

Catholic Charity Announces Poverty Poll Results And Awards Special Grants To Gulf Coast Neighborhood Groups

The week before last, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) held a press conference in New Orleans to publicize the results of the "sixth wave" of a Poverty Pulse Poll, (previous waves conducted each year since 2000). CCHD also announced that it is awarding half-a-million dollars in special grants to community-based groups to help fight poverty.

The Pulse Poll (with a MoE +/-3%) found that concerns about poverty in America remain overwhelmingly high (88%) and it found that fears among Americans at the prospect of finding themselves impoverished have increased (to 64%) since 2000. Other important results:
  • When respondents were asked off the top of their heads to name "the single biggest social problem facing the U.S.," poverty ranked third on the list (chosen by 7%), just below health care and racism (each at 8%) which both ranked first, and above war-U.S. involvement in war (4%).
  • 90% of the public said that it is important for the federal government to ensure that all poor people have health coverage (it also found no gender gap on the priority placed by the public on health care).
  • 91% believe that health care should be guaranteed to all children.
  • 65% fear that poverty will increase in the United States in 2006.
  • Almost all Americans, 97%, think that it is important to decrease or eliminate poverty in the United States.
  • 60% said that the responsibility for ending poverty lies either with the federal government (31%) or with "everyone-the general public" (29%). Only 17% assigned the task strictly to the poor themselves.
The groups receiving CCHD grants include the Archdiocese of New Orleans, various interfaith groups, and local Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) and Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) groups. See the entire list here. The $515,000 grants supplement $150,000 in immediate CCHD hurricane relief provided in September.

Unlike so many other initiatives in the Gulf region, the Catholics are keeping their eye on the ball: the "permanent elimination of poverty" and the provision of healthcare for all poor people, but especially for impoverished children, who are most vulnerable.

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