This year we’ve highlighted a variety of terms connected with poverty and development work. We thought it might be helpful to take a moment and recap what we’ve learned. January highlighted adverse childhood experiences (ACE) which are potentially stressful or traumatic events in childhood, such as abuse or neglect. ACEs impact children’s development, physical health, and ability to form healthy and stable relationships. ACESs are preventable through actions that strengthen economic support to families, promote social norms that protect against violence, connecting youth to caring adults, and more. February covered social capital, or the functioning of social groups through interpersonal relationships, shared sense of identity and understanding, and shared trust and cooperation. Social capital is a positive asset that every community has and can be used to strengthen resources and opportunities. These two terms reflect the different impacts relationships can have on our well-being and way we live and work in society.
In March we discussed housing cost burden, which is when someone spends more than 30% of their income on housing costs. If they spend more than 50% of income, that person is severely cost burdened. This is important in Missouri because of the number of households renting (33.2% of Missouri households) with an average rental cost on a 2-bedroom apartment ranging from $646-953. In April we reviewed asset poverty, or a household’s inability to access wealth resources that are sufficient to provide for basic needs for a period of three months. And then in May we defined living wage as the minimum income necessary for a worker to meet their basic needs (needs include food, housing, and other essentials such as clothing). If we think about the relationship of concepts like housing cost burden, asset poverty, and living wage, we start to uncover the complexities of poverty that make it challenging to overcome.
We hope that through reviewing definitions and concepts, we can start to recognize connections and opportunities to make a difference in our communities.