KUNM

Poverty

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.

ALL ~ TROY VIA COMPFIGHT CC

  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. 

Deb Stgo / Creative Commons via Flickr

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. 

Camerafiend / creative commons license via Wikimedia

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. 

Horia Varlan via Flickr / Creative Commons License

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.

Wikimedia Commons via CC

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! 

Holtzman via Flickr / Creative Commons License

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

Library of Congress via CC

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. 

spartacus pustota via flickr

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.

Ed Williams

    

Santiago Maestas has been growing fruits and vegetables on a small plot of land in the South Valley for over 40 years. He's standing by a centuries-old acequia near Isleta Boulevard south of Albuquerque—a modest, earthen ditch carrying slow-moving irrigation water away from the Rio Grande and into fields and gardens.

Runs With Scissors via Flickr

The number of kids who are homeless is at an all time high in America, according to a new report by the National Center on Child Homelessness, and New Mexico has one of the most severe child homelessness problems in the country.

The report says nearly one in three kids here live in poverty, and while progress has been made in reducing homelessness among veterans and chronically homeless people, children have not received the same attention.

Michael Coghlan via Flickr CC

Members of a National Academy of Sciences committee presented a report on high incarceration rates at the State Bar of New Mexico this morning. The NAS says the growth in lockups in the United States is historically unprecedented and unlike any other country in the world.

The U.S. has too many people behind bars, according to the NAS report, and the high rate of imprisonment has surpassed any public safety benefit.

Denicia Cadena

Christina Dominguez is a single mother of three kids in Albuquerque. Her primary interest in the election is the mental health poll question on the ballot in Bernalillo County. The question is only advisory, which means it wouldn’t become a law if passed, but it’s intended to allow the public to weigh in on mental health funding.

danielle_blue via Flicr CC

Two New Mexico nonprofits filed a lawsuit this week against the state that could halt changes to the state’s food assistance program.

The Center on Law and Poverty and the Southwest Organizing Project, along with three people who rely on food stamps, are asking for a temporary restraining order that would stop a work requirement for certain SNAP recipients that’s slated to go into effect on November 1.

Bill David Brooks via CC

A nonpartisan think tank in New Mexico released a report on health care costs this week suggesting that providers should be more transparent about the price of procedures up front.

Fred Nathan is the founder and executive director of Think New Mexico. The group’s report says New Mexicans are spending more out of their pockets for health care than ever before, and most of that extra money is going to administrative costs—not to doctors’ salaries or improved care for patients.

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