Can microfinance work in the U.S.?

When most people hear “microcredit” or “microfinance,” they think of efforts to addressing poverty in the developing world, as in the village banking model popularized by Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and others. The United Nations designated 2005 the International Year of Micro-credit, and Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank, won the Nobel Peace Prize inContinue reading “Can microfinance work in the U.S.?”

The other side of Bolivia

I had the opportunity to travel to Bolivia last week to visit several projects working to improve the lives of poor residents. Bolivia is a landlocked nation home to about 10 million people and one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere. It ranks 111th on the Human Development Index out of 179 countries.Continue reading “The other side of Bolivia”

Homeless children: a national disgrace

The National Center on Family Homelessness NCFH today released a report outlining the extent of homelessness among children in the U.S. In America’s Youngest Outcasts: State Report Card on Child Homelessness, NCFH researchers found: More than 1.5 million children are homeless annually in the United States—one in every 50 American children. 42 percent of homelessContinue reading “Homeless children: a national disgrace”

“The worst social disaster in America”

A couple years ago, I was contacted by an Italian filmmaker shooting a documentary about slums and poverty in various parts of the globe, and she wanted to talk about poverty in Los Angeles. I happened to be free the next morning, so I obliged and so she came over to my office with herContinue reading ““The worst social disaster in America””

Disparities Faced by Boys and Men of Color in California

In a previous post, I alluded to the endurance of inequality along race/ethnic lines in many socio-economic indicators. A recent report by RAND, commissioned by The California Endowment, is a good example of research documenting these disparities. The report, titled Reparable Harm, looks specifically at the gap between Latino and African American males and theirContinue reading “Disparities Faced by Boys and Men of Color in California”

The impact of the recession on the poor, and what’s in the stimulus bill for the hardest hit anyway?

As highlighted in my previous post, accurately measuring poverty is difficult enough, but another challenge is the timeliness of the data. Even when we have good numbers there is usually a significant lag time between when residents were surveyed and when the final data are released. The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty hasContinue reading “The impact of the recession on the poor, and what’s in the stimulus bill for the hardest hit anyway?”

Report from New Orleans, Part II: What you can do to help

As noted in an earlier post, the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina to New Orleans was unbelievable, but just as impressive from my recent visit there was the vibrant spirit of rebuilding by committed residents and organizations. As promised, here are some ideas on what you can do to help in this effort: Visit, eatContinue reading “Report from New Orleans, Part II: What you can do to help”

Should I or shouldn’t I give money to people on the street?

It’s an age old question: do you give money to someone panhandling on the street? I heard Patty Stonesifer, former CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, on NPR recently talking about a Slate article she wrote with her daughter trying to answer this question. She argues that rather than giving handouts, we shouldContinue reading “Should I or shouldn’t I give money to people on the street?”

Report from New Orleans, Part I: A national disgrace and local dreams

I spent a couple days in New Orleans this week learning about the recovery effort from Katrina. It was, in a word, stunning. I was stunned by the endurance of the devastation more than three years since the storms, as well as by the resilience and passion with which residents are rebuilding their great city.Continue reading “Report from New Orleans, Part I: A national disgrace and local dreams”