poverty

Brandon Chew / NPR

Construction cranes poke through the skyline across metro Atlanta. It's a testament to growth and efforts to draw new companies and residents to call the region home. Not so visible are the millions of Americans being thrown out of their homes. It's a problem throughout the country.

The Eviction Lab at Princeton University found nearly 2.3 million evictions were filed in the U.S. in 2016. NPR's On The Media partnered with The Eviction Lab for a four-part series called The Scarlet E: Unmasking America's Eviction Crisis.


Courtesy of ProPublica

It's Tax Day. Unless you got an extension, you have until midnight to get all your tax forms filled out and filed. And then hope that you don't get audited. But if you live in the South, your chances of being audited are apparently greater. ProPublica published a map showing where the highest rates of IRS audits happen, and that distinction belongs to southern rural areas.

More than a half a million Americans are homeless. In metro Atlanta, more than 3,000 people live on the streets, in shelters and in cars.

A new traveling museum uses stories, photos and virtual reality to give visitors a sense of what it's like to be homeless. It's called Dignity Museum, and the traveling museum shares the stories of those who are often forgotten. 

 


Twitter.com/Love Beyond Walls

More than a half a million Americans are homeless. In metro Atlanta, more than 3,000 people live on the streets, in shelters and in cars.

A new traveling museum uses stories, photos and virtual reality to give visitors a sense of what it's like to be homeless. It's called Dignity Museum, and the traveling museum shares the stories of those who are often forgotten. 


Grant Blankenship / GPB

The landlord of a Macon apartment complex that made news when tenants were forcibly evicted when property managers let the water get cut off may have his day in court and in front of a jury.

Attorneys for Crystal Lake Apartments owner Steve Firestone asked for a jury trial Friday during Firestone’s second appearance in Macon-Bibb County Municipal Court. Firestone could have faced as much as 180 days in jail over the single building code violation brought before that court.


Grant Blankenship / GPB

GPB's series, "Macon Conversations," brings together folks from different backgrounds to have honest conversations about race. Tonja Khabir and Katie Powers were a part of the series. Khabir is the executive director of the Griffith Family Foundation, which provides grants to programs in the Macon community. Powers is the founder of Macon Book 'Em, a nonprofit that provides books to at-risk communities.


Georgia Department of Community Affairs

Millions of Americans are teetering on the brink of poverty, according to a new report from Prosperity Now that says 40 percent of all U.S. households – and 57 percent of households of color – could be knocked over the edge by one unexpected medical expense, lost paycheck or job loss.

That financial instability is mirrored in housing insecurity, and, while homelessness in Atlanta is on the decline, Fulton County remains by far the highest among the national benchmark counties, according to the Department for Housing and Urban Development. 


Grant Blankenship / GPB

When Patricia Jordan got home midmorning on Wednesday last week, all she wanted was a bath. But, for the second day straight, she was out of luck. The water was still off at Crystal Lake Apartments in Macon. 


Bill Bolling / Atlanta Community Food Bank

Bill Bolling knew from his first experience at the community kitchen at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Atlanta that he was destined for a life of service.

"I thought wow, this is it. After three college degrees and being a veteran — I even called my mother up and said, 'Mom! This is what God wants me to do,'" Bolling said. "Make soup!"

We spoke with Bill Bolling about founding the Atlanta Community Food Bank in 1979. The food bank has served over 750,000 people each year in Georgia. Bolling retired in 2015, but still actively works with food organizations like the Foodwell Alliance. He is also involved in collaborative efforts to combat poverty and housing inequality in the state.


Grant Blankenship / GPB

A little after sun up, the fleet of electrical linemen were on the roads of Dougherty County in southwest Georgia, but at the health department April Smith was on a different mission. She had a tree on the roof, no power and a hungry baby.

“Please, dear Lord I can't take any more,” she said to herself as she walked to the door of the health department. “She's got one can of formula. One can of formula. And I don't have food stamps to go buy it.”

The health department where she was hoping to find the formula was supposed to be open at 7 a.m. At 8:30 it still looked like a ghost town. So, no food for the baby.  Smith wasn’t sure what her next move was.


Grant Blankenship / GPB

You probably saw the photo. 

A woman with her right hand raised in a fist, her left on the autobiography of Malcolm X. That was Mariah Parker. 


Ilmicrofono Oggiono / Flickr

In the majority of Georgia families, mothers are the sole, primary or co-breadwinners, according to the Center for American Progress. But that doesn't mean they have the wages to adequately support themselves and their loved ones — particularly when it comes to minimum wage workers in Georgia, of whom 6 in 10 are women. And beyond the wage and wealth gap, women lack access to other things that Shilpa Phadke says are critical for their economic security: affordable child care, harassment-free work environments and quality health care. 


Social Security Administration

Thirty-seven million Americans live in poverty today. According to the National Women's Law Center, more than half are women. Race, health and gender discrimination contribute to this disparity, but to learn about the economic history that led us to where we are today, we spoke with Diana Pearce and George Robb.


Grant Blankenship / GPB

The latest in our Macon Conversations series: Meet Charise Stephens and Scott Mitchell. In their conversation, Charise and Scott tackle the challenges of overcoming the prejudice you are raised with.

Sanford Health / Flickr

A new study from Johns Hopkins University finds that 1 in 8 organ transplants in the United States involves organs from someone who died of a drug overdose, adding another set of ethical questions to a hot-button issue.

 

With higher rates of homelessness and poverty, as well as diseases such as HIV, the demographic makeup of donors who have died of overdoses is radically different from that of the “normal” pool of organ donors.

 

Could organs from patients who overdosed actually pose health risks to the people who receive them? To answer this question, we turned to Dr. Christine Durand, who co-authored the study.

 

Grant Blankenship / GPB

 

 

Macon’s Target store is closed. When Target announced it was closing a dozen stores across the country, people in Macon were disappointed to learn the Presidential Parkway store on the was on the list.

If there was an upshot, it was the going out of business sale. That’s how Robert and Mikieoel Revels loaded up with the children’s clothes they had when they left the store a few weeks before it closed with their son Noah. Though they were happy for the bargains, Robert Revels said he wasn’t happy to lose the store.

 

 

Georgia Congressman Austin Scott (R GA-08) wants to end a program that offers subsidized, low cost cell phones.

Scott introduced the End Taxpayer Funded Cell Phones Act in late July. It would end an Obama era program which provides basic smart phone service to people with low incomes for $9.25 a month.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

 

 

When students don’t come to open house, why not take open house on the road?

That’s what teachers at Hartley Elementary in Macon did the day before the first day of school this week when they piled onto a bus and toured the Hartley school zone.

Why do this? Principal Carmalita Dillard said, sure, a lot of kids missed open house, but there were other reasons.

“I want the teachers to be able to experience where our kids come from,” Dillard said.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is standing by his controversial comment that poverty is a "state of mind," but he says that "how a person thinks" is only one component that contributes to being poor.

"What I said is that it is a factor. A part of poverty can be the state of mind," he told NPR in an interview. "People tend to approach things differently, based on their frame of mind."

His agency, he says, wants "to find ways to make sure that people understand that the person who has the most to do with what happens to you, is you."

Grant Blankenship / GPB

It's a landmark that will soon be moved to a new patch of land. 

The home Little Richard called home as a kid in Macon's Pleasant Hill neighborhood is one of eight slated to be moved out of the way of a massive Georgia Department of Transportation expansion of the Interstate 75/Interstate 16 interchange. About 40 other homes will be demolished. 

(Elba) Dave Shewmaker / Flickr

New research from the University Of Georgia links poverty to stifled brain development in children. The study also shows how those negative effects of poverty can be curbed by programs which implement positive parenting and improved family relationships.

Lead researcher Gene Brody is with us to talk about the findings, and Washington University professor Deanna Barch also joins us to talk about implications of the study.

Google Images

It's been nearly 200 years since French political scientist Alexis de Tocqueville traveled 7,000 miles across a young United States. His book, "Democracy in America," described how all Americans had the potential to reach economic success, no matter what their origins. But the "American Dream" feels out of reach for many people in 2016.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

 

      

There are lots of tools for reviving a dying neighborhood. There are tax incentives, chasing deadbeat property owners and non-profits to rebuild houses to name a few.  

In Macon-Bibb, another tool, this time public art, is at the heart of an effort to renew the city's Mill Hill neighborhood. A few weeks ago, that effort hit a snag: the first two artists in residence here were fired. As to why, that is still not clear, but events leading up to their dismissal might raise questions about how well the art-based scheme fits this neighborhood.

Strebe/Wikipedia

Recent news of Atlanta’s startlingly high HIV/AIDS rate prompted comparisons of Georgia’s capital city to a "third world country." But is it accurate to use the term in this case? Oglethorpe University history professor Nick Maher joins us to help break down the complicated origins of the phrase and what we really mean when we say it.  

The demolition of the Tindall Heights housing project in Macon, and the relocation of its residents, provides a lens into the issue of affordable housing in the United States on the We Live Here podcast from St. Louis Public Radio. With reporting from Grant Blankenship of GPB Macon, Devin Katayama KQED in San Francisco and the We Live Here team from St. Louis Public Radio.

Grant Blankenship / Georgia Public Broadcasting

For Southerners who have lived and struggled with the issue of race all their lives, it can be tough to see it with fresh eyes.

Sometimes you need an outsider. When it comes to race in one Southern city, Macon, Ga.,  playwright Mark Mobley is just that.

The play “What Color Is Your Brother?” is the product of Mobley taking his outsider's view into conversations with Macon locals on the issue of race. The project grew out of Mobley's longtime friendship with a Macon native, renown violinist Robert McDuffie.