Latest data reports status of Austin community conditions

This is not good news.

From an email sent by the Community Action Network:

Travis County Health and Human Services and Veterans Affairs has released its 2009 Community Impact Report on Community Conditions. The report provides a general overview of how our community is doing with regard to basic needs, housing, workforce development, education, behavioral health and other areas in which Travis County invests funds for services.

A few highlights…
•    Since the beginning of 2009,  Austin Energy has received 75% more requests for utility assistance than for all of 2008.
•    In November 2009, 107,288 Travis County residents received food stamps, up 68% from January 2008.
•    Foreclosure postings in Travis County rose 110% from 3,482 postings in 2007 to 7,309 postings in 2009.
•    There was a 28% increase in visits to local emergency rooms by individuals presenting primarily with mental health issues between 2006 and 2008.
•    Between 2003 and 2008, the Austin MLS median home price rose by 22% and the average home price rose by 24%, but median family income increased only by 3%.

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4 Comments on Latest data reports status of Austin community conditions

  1. I’m pretty sure that CAN marked Poverty Awareness Month to spread awareness to those who are privileged and able to make a difference in the lives of those who are in poverty. No one wants to taunt them.

  2. Oh, I’m sure they weren’t taunting them. Just thought it was funny, is all. And that “XXX Awareness Weeks/Months” must be funny to whatever group we’re meant to be more aware of.

    The way a “Wart Awareness Month” would be funny to people who have warts, if there were such a month.

    And just “awareness weeks/months” in general. Great for organizations to plan events, more, but not so relevant for the rest of us. They seem to separate groups more than unite them. Poverty Awareness, for example, is not really relevant to those who are poor. And it kind of further marginalizes the group we’re meant to be more “aware” of. It seems to me.

    I’m not making things better, am I?

  3. I respectively disagree- although, I really do understand your point and what you are trying to say.

    First, people who do not live in poverty need to understand poverty. Many people who don’t live in poverty don’t see that its a reality. They don’t understand that many people are stuck in a poverty trap (generational poverty). They make assumptions that people choose to live in situational poverty by putting themselves in bad situations. They don’t understand that its incredibly difficult to get out of poverty- especially when its been part of their lifestyle and culture.

    Second, yes, an awareness month brings attention that some people live in poverty and some do not. It separates people at first- but helps people understand how they can take steps in preventing poverty both in their own lives and in the lives of others. The point of an “awareness” month is to make people aware of a problem- that needs prevention and a cure. Everyone must come together to tackle the problem- BOTH those who deal with the problem daily and those who have the means to fix the problem. Poverty is negative. Those who are not living in poverty need to be aware that they have the power and the means to help those living in poverty- by providing food, clothing, funds, and mainly good jobs. Those who are living in poverty need to see that they can fight poverty. They need to see that they have options. They need to see that they have support. You’re right- they are aware of their poverty- but are they aware that there are people who want to help them? Are they aware that they have some options? Maybe. BUT…maybe not.

    I guess the question is…which is the bigger risk?

    My two cents is…these people already feel marginalized. Let’s run the “risk” of marginalizing them (they already feel separate!!!) to make the bigger impact. Let’s get everyone aware of a problem so we can solve it.

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