A timely, multidimensional view of poverty-related need

In the News

Homelessness declining in nation’s cities, but hunger is on the rise

Even though homelessness in America’s cities continues to decline, food banks and pantries are still being stretched thin as the number of people seeking emergency food assistance climbs, according to a survey of mayors from 38 of the nation’s cities. The number of people seeking emergency food assistance increased by an average of 2% in […]

Seasonal charity is a kind gesture, but it won’t undo poverty

Every year around the holidays, nonprofits’ phones light up with people wanting to donate a turkey. The impulse is a nice one. In this season of giving, people consider their good fortune and want to share. It feels good to give a turkey, or toy, or to participate in a food drive. Those of us […]

A Billionaire-Backed Plan to Use Shipping Containers to House the Homeless

Tiny houses have emerged in the past decade as a promising way to house more homeless people for less money. Now the idea has gained a powerful proponent in the billionaire California real estate developer John Sobrato, who unveiled a proposal this month to build 200 micro-apartments for homeless and low-income renters in Santa Clara.

Is Homelessness a Right? Seattle Grapples With How to Respond to a Growing Crisis

For the last three years, Erica Semrau has lived in and out of tent encampments around Seattle, often finding shelter underneath I-90 just east of the city. But her makeshift home has increasingly come under threat. Driven by concerns over unsanitary conditions and crime in Seattle’s homeless encampments—including two homicides this year in one called […]

A Dilemma for Humanity: Stark Inequality or Total War

Is there nothing to be done about galloping inequality? Last year the typical American family experienced the fastest income gains since the government started measuring them in the 1960s. But the top 1 percent did even better, raising their share of income higher than it was when President Obama took office. Mr. Obama has led […]

The hidden cost when mental illness meets homelessness

It felt like they had chased the dream forever: to keep the homeless man in the red sneakers off the streets. Everyone in the Dorchester courtroom this September day knew David: the judge; the defense attorneys and the prosecutors; the caseworker from the state mental health department. For months, for years — even for decades […]

Regulators Tweak SNAP Rules for Grocers

In a rare tuneup to the $74 billion food-stamp program, U.S. regulators deemed potato chips and ice cream too unhealthy to count as staple foods. The U.S. Department of Agriculture made other changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program this week that fell short of recommendations from many public-health advocates.

Can tech help San Francisco’s homeless?

Del Seymour lived on the streets in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district for 18 years, hustling for his next fix. For San Franciscans, this gritty neighborhood is synonymous with homelessness, drugs and destitution. It’s also home to 17 tech companies — including Twitter, Dolby Laboratories, Spotify and Zendesk — attracted in part by tax breaks and […]

Should doctors check your electric bill?

Fifteen years ago, Dr. Megan Tschudy didn’t want to know whether her patients had enough food. It’s not that she didn’t care: As a pediatrician working at a health clinic in East Baltimore, a part of town battered by decades of poverty and crime, she knew that undernourishment was probably connected to a whole host […]

U.S. Nonfarm Payrolls Rose 178,000 in November; Unemployment Rate Falls to 4.6%

U.S. employers hired at a steady clip in November while the jobless rate fell to its lowest level in nine years, a broadly upbeat performance that could mask underlying soft spots in the labor market. The U.S. has added more than 15 million jobs since the labor market bottomed out in early 2010. But those […]