It has been five years since the Great U.S. Recession ended. Economic growth has returned to America, and unemployment rates have dropped. However, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report, 45 million Americans still live below the poverty line, and that number is staying fairly steady. CCTV America’s Hendrik Sybrandy reports.
The motel called King’s Inn sits along busy Colfax Avenue in Denver, Colorado, but it’s not a place Bambi and Russell Caswell really call home.
“It’s not the ideal life that I had us pictured out, but it’s better than where we were at,” Mrs. Caswell said.
For several years, the Caswells were homeless. They struggled to keep themselves fed, and struggled to survive.
As their son R.J. was born, Mr. Caswell said, “Life just like hit us in the face real quickly.”
“There’s times I’ll make my step up and then all of a sudden the next day I’m back down. It’s been like hell trying to get stuff taken care of,” Mrs. Caswell added.
The Caswells are two of an estimated 45 million Americans who live in poverty. Over 14 percent of the U.S. population is currently having big problems making ends meet.
“It’s a large number, it’s a huge number,” said Carol Hedges, Executive Director at Colorado Fiscal Institute.
Hedges studies the poverty issue and said only wealthier Americans, the top one percent of society, have benefited from the U.S. economic recovery.
She said the poor often live in areas where food and insurance costs more. They have longer commutes to jobs in often less reliable cars, all of which makes matters even worse.
“It’s just really expensive to be poor,” Hedges said.
“What we are seeing now more is what they are calling deep poverty. Those individuals who’ve been not working, not been in the mainstream of the economy for a long time.” said Laurie Harvey at Center for Work Education & Employment.
Harvey said more programs like hers, which offers job and skills training to low-income parents like the Caswells are needed. In addition, an increase in the minimum hourly wage would help a lot.
Others said more public investment in education is the answer.
More than ever, Harvey said, climbing out of poverty requires real internal strength.