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January is National Poverty Awareness Month.

What is Poverty? Where is Poverty?

Who lives in Poverty? 1 in 6 Americans! “In 2010, 46.2 million people lived in Poverty USA, up from 43.6 million in 2009. 2010 marked the fourth consecutive annual increase in the number of people living in poverty. The number of people living in poverty in 2010 (46.2 million) is the largest number seen in the 52 years for which poverty estimates have been published.”1

Spent is an online game that focuses on poverty and homelessness. The site was launched in 2011 and lets users pretend that they’re a single parent who’s down to her last $1,000. The user must then try and support a family for a month, when only low-wage positions are available, It’s an engaging and eye-opening experience.

I have always been pretty good with finances and decided to see how well I could do. I made it through the month with $83 left, and thought I didn’t do too badly until I realized rent was due the next day. So I was, as the others living in poverty, “spent”.

Throughout the month I had to make some tough choices.  I kept my child from participating  in school activities that had fees, I purchased minimal food that would have to be stretched pretty thin, I had to choose between paying the gas or electric bill because I couldn’t afford both, so my gas was shut off, and I chose to let a sick pet suffer as money was needed for other necessities. There were many other choices to make, all normal things that happen to most of us and that I, and I would guess most of you, have tended to take for granted.  This game helps show some of the financial challenges the 1 in 6 Americans face daily. I encourage you to play the game and share your results with us on our Facebook Page or here in the comment section of the blog if you don’t use Facebook.

Many of A Woman’s Place (AWP) clients that leave their abusive relationships are without assets and many times end up living in poverty. They are often unable to obtain safe and affordable housing or the funds to provide for themselves and their children. With realistic fears of homelessness, and no money to provide the basic necessities for their family, survivors sometimes return to the battering relationship.

“Poverty is not natural, it is man made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.” ~ Nelson Mandela

Please take action, sign The 10 Solutions to End Poverty petition today.

Jacalyn Hartzell
AWP Communications Manager

1. Source: Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2010, US Census Bureau

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