September 16, 2010
CONTACT: Stephanie Niedringhaus, 202-347-9797 x224, firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington DC: In response to today’s U.S. Census Bureau’s release of the 2009 poverty data, Sister Simone Campbell, Executive Director of NETWORK, stated: “These poverty statistics underscore the grim fact that people who benefited the least from the last economic boom are the ones who are suffering the most in this severe recession. Government policies of both parties have failed the working poor in our country. It is a scandal for the richest country in the world that one in seven people here live in poverty.”
NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby, also released the following statement:
We are deeply disturbed by Washington’s continued inability to effectively address our nation’s rising poverty rates, as evidenced by today’s release of official poverty statistics. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 43.6 million people lived in poverty in 2009, the highest number since statistics were first kept 51 years ago. Also shocking, more than a quarter of all Blacks and Hispanics struggled in poverty during the year, as did more than one in five children. They include more than more than one in three Black and Hispanic children.
While shocking, these statistics are no surprise for those of us who work with people at the economic margins and who speak out in solidarity with them. We know that social service agencies and faith groups are stretched thin as they try to meet dramatically rising needs. In July, our organization released a research report (http://www.networklobby.org/TANF_Report) based on our survey of people seeking help at homeless shelters and other service agencies. TANF Tested: Lives of People in Poverty showed that:
While we are grateful that some government programs, including unemployment benefits, kept these numbers from rising even higher, we are deeply concerned that today’s new poverty statistics come at a time when programs meant to help people in poverty are about to expire. These include TANF and needed tax credits for low-income families. We call on Congress to extend TANF so that it can be improved prior to reauthorization, to extend the tax credits for low-income families, and to adequately fund those programs meant to help people in need.