KUNM

Poverty

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New Mexico is one of the poorest states in the union, and advocates fighting for people in poverty are alarmed at President Trump’s proposed budget.

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One of the bills that Governor Susana Martinez vetoed last week would have set up a Medicaid-funded home visiting program for new parents. The move has disappointed some doctors and child advocates.

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A new report breaks down potential years of life lost when people die before the age of 75 and younger people are dying earlier.  

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

In a historic trial earlier this year, a jury weighed the fates of two former Albuquerque police officers who shot and killed James Boyd. Three jurors could not be swayed from a guilty verdict.

The deadlock resulted in a mistrial, and days after it was announced, KUNM’s Marisa Demarco met with one of those jurors—Robby Heckman—in the Foothills of the Sandia Mountains. There, a small white cross marks the spot James Boyd stood before he was killed.

New Mexico in Focus

U.S. Representative Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham is running for re-election this year in New Mexico’s first district. She sat down with Gwyneth Doland to discuss critical issues for voters as part of KUNM’s special election coverage with New Mexico PBS.

Her Republican challenger Richard Priem did not respond to multiple interview requests from New Mexico PBS. 

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Voters this year will decide whether to amend the state Constitution and change the way New Mexico’s bail bond system works.

Jeff Proctor is an independent journalist who has been following the issue for The Justice Project, published by New Mexico In Depth. He spoke with KUNM’s Elaine Baumgartel.

Ed Williams/KUNM

Affordable housing advocates gathered in Santa Fe Thursday to protest Mayor Javier Gonzales' new plan to revitalize certain areas of town. The protesters say the plan could gentrify a low-income part of the capital city.

It’s no secret Santa Fe is an expensive place to live. Natoshia Whylie, who rents a home near St. Michaels Drive, says it’s almost too expensive.

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  The U.S. Department of Justice said in a court filing last week that it’s unconstitutional to keep people behind bars just because they can’t afford to pay bail. Some bail bondsmen in New Mexico argue people in poverty shouldn’t be allowed to skirt the law.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

The lack of paid sick leave in the U.S. contributes to the spread of disease and emergency medical costs, according to the American Public Health Association. There are no federal laws about it, but some states and cities have passed their own. Advocates in Albuquerque gathered enough signatures to put the issue before voters in November. 

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Thousands of adult New Mexicans can't read well, and because of social stigmas, they’re a hidden population. The latest data estimates adult education programs only manage to reach a fraction of those folks. But an Albuquerque literacy program is developing a method of making contact with potential students. 

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The Santa Fe City Council adopted an $82 million budget on Wednesday, May 25. Councilors devoted part of the city’s funds to addressing poverty and climate change in the capital.

New Mexico PBS

 

There are many reasons why people struggle to save money and move out of poverty. One is not having any extra money around for college, a house or to start a business.

That’s where one local organization has stepped in with a potential solution. 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Hungry people in New Mexico may have been denied expedited food assistance after their applications were falsified and put on hold. That’s according to testimony from state workers in recent weeks during an ongoing hearing about whether the Human Services Department is fit to process applications.

The Battle Over Food Benefits

May 16, 2016
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KUNM Call In Show 5/19 8a:

A group of workers in the Human Services Department testified earlier this month that their bosses changed applications for food stamps in order to prevent people from gaining access to emergency assistance. HSD officials invoked the Fifth Amendment more than 100 times last week when called to testify in court about the allegations. 

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Santa Fe is an expensive place to live. But it’s also an expensive place to build. Affordable housing and the bottom line of developers often clash. 

Ed Williams

Living in Santa Fe has gotten more and more expensive over the years. Today, home prices in New Mexico’s capital city are higher than almost anywhere else in the state. So, what happens when people don’t earn enough to make it there?

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Dollar stores are everywhere these days—they’re being built at a record pace, according to industry reports. In some rural communities in this state, you might not see any store except a dollar store. A campaign is calling on these discount chains to make sure products are nontoxic.

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How quickly criminal cases work their way through the system has a big impact on defendants’ lives. And it’s been a little over a year since the state Supreme Court first set deadlines to speed things up and clear thousands of backlogged cases in Bernalillo County, the state’s busiest judicial district. The criminal justice system is still adjusting.

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More than half a million people in the state make use of food stamps. Federal judges ordered the state on Monday, March 7, to halt work requirements for the program.  

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Changes to the way the courts handle bail passed both chambers of the state Legislature as of Wednesday morning and will be on the ballot in November. 

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New Mexico’s 30-day legislative session is nearly at the half-way point. It’s a budget session where lawmakers focus on funding state government. Javier Benavidez of the Southwest Organizing Project says they’d like to see lawmakers take a laser focus to issues of poverty, injustice and inequality this year.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

The number of people who are behind bars in America is much bigger than it was 40 years ago. In fact, it’s five times higher. That means a lot more parents are doing time, and having a record can limit people’s ability to get a job, find a place to live and provide for their kids. A local program is trying to help dads get around the obstacles and back on track with their families.

National Center for Family Homelessness

Sat. 11/14 9a: This Saturday on the Children's Hour,  we'll learn about homeless children in New Mexico. There are more homeless children in the United States today than at any point in our nation's history, including in New Mexico.  

Dr. William Barber II

Jul 20, 2015
NM Voices For Children / NMVoices.org

Sun. 7/19 7pm:  Reverend Dr. Barber’s keynote speech at the New Mexico Voices for Children: Kids Count conference that took place on June 29. Reverend Dr. Barber’s powerful speech touches on issues of equality as well as on what it means to speak up for the youth.

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More than one in five New Mexicans is on food stamps—that’s almost half a million people. Advocates are concerned that coming changes could force people off the federally funded program, and many religious folks are speaking out against the possible new rules. Faith leaders don’t see feeding the hungry as a partisan issue but rather as a basic tenet of their faith.  

Washington and Jefferson College

People in Albuquerque are spending more of their paycheck​s​ on rent than ​people in places like New York ​and​ San Francisco​. We'll look at why people in the Duke City, and in parts of northern New Mexico, are spending so much on housing. ​Do you spend a large chunk of your ​paycheck​ on ​rent​?​ ​How does this impact your household budget? We'd like to hear from you! 

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U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich announced Monday that he will propose legislation to address poverty across multiple generations. 

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Albuquerque’s City Council will consider an ordinance in August aimed at helping part-time workers, but small business owners and employers say it’s unrealistic. 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Around the country, pedestrian deaths are most common in low-income areas. And New Mexico has had the highest average rate of pedestrian deaths in the U.S. for the last few years, according to the CDC. 

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Senators Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall joined 28 other Democratic senators and two independents in sending a letter Friday to the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. They support new federal rules that would require lenders to check if customers could actually pay back their loans. The rules would also restrict the ways creditors could collect on debts.

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