The past few years the poverty mindset has been on my mind. In grand terms, I wish to ask the right questions to collectively get us to a point where we as a society can actively target poverty as a disease and get people out of the gutter. This article is meant to be a discussion point to start a conversation on how to kill the culture of poverty.
Drug addiction and mental illness play a huge party in continuing the cycle of poverty. My family's business is combating drug addiction in women but I recently learned a lot during a season in which I had a roommate addicted to meth as I tried to help him overcome that addiction in a clean and sober environment. I ran into some issues of cultural disproperty while hosting him in my life. These range from obstacles in the underbanked to barriers within the judicial system.
How many homeless people have an ID? My guess is not a lot. A government issued ID is often stolen, lost or misplaced by those suffering from mental illness and in a current cycle of drug addiction. Without an ID, one can't cash a check without a co-signer. Those in a cycle of poverty are often afraid to interact with government agencies to get another ID. Many don't have their birth certificate or a Social Security Card.
In order to combat poverty, we need a system of identification that can't be lost or stolen.
My roommate got a job making $18.50 with the local carpenter's union, but couldn't get hired because he didn't have an ID. He was afraid to seek an ID because failure to pay past due child support he may have an outstanding warrant for his arrest. Why are we throwing people in jail for unpaid debts? This doesn't make any sense, as they will be unable to work off their debts from the walls of the prison cell. Locking up dead beat dads may sound like good politics, but in truth it actually is counterproductive to those trying to get their lives together.
The poor live in a cash only environment. Because without an ID, one can't open a bank account. Removing the cash-only barrier would help alleviate drug addictive behaviors. Here, there are many options to get towards a better life, but none to easy. BlueDot, Visa and Mastercard offer pre-paid debit cards but many of these options are underutilized by the poor.
I don't have all the answers. These were some initial obstacles I've seen first hand that will keep people in a cycle of poverty, and I don't know how much more I could have helped.