When You’re Hungry, Every Decision Is A Difficult One.

In the Spotlight

One of the biggest challenges faced by individuals impacted by poverty is its self-perpetuating nature.  As there are fewer resources to draw on, they face a high proportion of high-stakes decisions every day simply to remain at their current level of financial security. They are much less likely than individuals with higher levels of financial security to have the mental and emotional resources necessary to work on improving, let alone maintaining, their situations.
In the wake of cuts to the SNAP (food stamp) program, many individuals in poverty find themselves faced with even more tough choices, as demonstrated in a special report by Bloomberg.com. Americans experiencing food insecurity are less able to focus on other aspects of the business of living, and are very rarely able to put energy towards anything beyond their next meal. Obtaining food is one of the many high-stakes decisions faced by those in poverty that those of greater means are able to devote less energy to. One solution to this cycle would be to implement policies that better meet the basic needs of individuals in poverty, thus allowing them to devote their energies to more than just basic survival.

Direct Service Implications

A provider’s greatest resource when working with individuals impacted by poverty is a thorough knowledge of the benefits programs available in their area. Providers in New York City should become knowledgeable with the many programs offered through the Human Resources Administration, the body tasked with administrating everything from NYC’s SNAP program to its many supportive services for individuals living with HIV and AIDS. Providers should also endeavor to build strong professional networks and become familiar with private and nonprofit services local to them. Social workers can network through the National Association of Social Workers and learn about what their fellow providers can help them with, both locally and nationally.


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the articles listed in the Policy News Briefs are not necessarily the views of the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research or NYU’s Silver School of Social Work. If you have comments or suggestions about this service, contact us at 212-998-5937 or simply reply to this email.

Originally posted by the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research and syndicated with permission.

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