So I would like to start this blog post with a brief history lesson on the history of the American Welfare System. As a response to the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt created the New Deal in the mid 30’s, which was relief for the unemployed and poor. Our current welfare system, which we know today, dates back to the mid 60’s and “The War on Poverty.” The War on Poverty is the unofficial name of the Economic Opportunity Act. The purpose of this post is not to make a debate over the American Welfare System; however, I would like to spend a little time dealing with the impact that this system has in the life of people, as it is now 50 years old. We now have families who are three generations into our current welfare system. This creates a mentality that you need to understand before you try to help people who suffer from poverty; specifically generational poverty.
Most people who try to help the poor do so from their own perspective. This makes sense; everyone has their own life experience. The problem is that people who are poor have different experiences and think differently than you do you. In order to help someone, you first need to attempt to see things from their perspective. Most people who are stuck in poverty don’t think about money the way you do. You probably have a budget and a savings account to fall back on. Even if you don’t always stick to your budget or your savings isn’t as big as you would like, you still understand the principles. Often people who live in poverty or are homeless never consider these principles because they were never taught them. They’ve always been more worried about struggling just to get food and shelter; some for most of their lives.
The government has a lot of programs to try to help people who are extremely poor with housing (Section 8) and food (SNAP). However, once you get into these programs they can be very difficult to get out of. The longer someone is in these programs the more difficult it can be to get out. If you grow up in a family that has been long time recipients of government assistance it can be something that carries from one generation to another. A lot of people who are homeless have come through these systems and are now relying on a government program to change their situation. If they don’t qualify or that program doesn’t exist they can now be stuck.