Economic Handicaps: Issues & Programs

A Resource Page


"Poverty is not to be suffered in silence by the poor. Nor can it be tolerated by those with power to change it. The challenge is now to mobilize action - state by state, organization by organization, individual by individual." James Gustave Speth, Administrator of UNDP

"Give a man a fish and he eats for a day; teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime."





Social Welfare Policies:

Children/ Family Needs & Issues:

  • Casey Family Program "In 1966, Jim Casey, a founder of United Parcel Service, created The Casey Family Program as a way to reach out to (foster) children....Today, this private operating foundation serves more than 1,300 children and youth in 23 communities across 13 states. A child or youth generally is referred to Casey by a state agency or court..."
  • Children & Welfare Reform: Children Now "is a nonprofit, independent voice for children, working to translate the nation's commitment to children and families into action. Children Now combines policy expertise and up-to-date communications strategies that reach parents, lawmakers, citizens, business, media and community leaders to generate positive change on behalf of children. With particular concern for those who are poor or at risk, Children Now is committed to improving conditions for all children. Founded in 1988, Children Now is a national organization with special depth in California."

Local Area Unemployment Statistics (BLS)

Unemployment Insurance

  • Unemployment rate drops; job growth slows; Seattle Times, June 4, 1999; by Martin Crutsinger The Associated Press
    WASHINGTON - The nation's unemployment rate dipped back down to a 29-year low of 4.2 percent in May even though the growth of payroll jobs was the smallest in more than three years. Unemployment among African Americans fell to the lowest level on record.
  • New York State Unemployment Insurance
    "When unemployment insurance was being considered as part of the Social Security Act in 1934 and 1935, the number of unemployed workers in the United States was estimated at 11 to 15 million. State relief programs had broken down and were supplemented by one federal program or another. The presidentially appointed Committee on Economic Security and the congressional committees considering the legislation faced the problem of devising an unemployment insurance program that would fit into the federal-state political system..."

  • Unemployment Compensation Law Materials Legal Information Institute (Cornell Univ.)
    Overview: "Unemployment insurance provides workers, whose jobs have been terminated through no fault of their own, monetary payments for a given period of time or until they find a new job. Unemployment payments (compensation) are intended to provide an unemployed worker time to find a new job equivalent to the one lost without major financial distress. Without employment compensation many workers would be forced to take jobs for which they were overqualified or end up on welfare. Unemployment compensation has also been justified in terms of providing the economy with consumer spending during periods of economic adjustment...."

Improving Job Prospects for the Disadvantaged, by Bob Watrus, Policy Analyst

How can the job prospects of the unemployed and underemployed in low-income communities be improved? Answers to this question are being explored in six cities across the country--including Seattle--as part of the Annie E. Casey Foundation's Jobs Initiative, a seven-year, $30 million effort aimed at improving the odds of unemployed and underemployed young adults to secure and maintain long-term family supporting employment.

Internet Access Handicaps:

  • JAMES DERK: Weak spots in the worldwide network [Copyright 1999 Nando Media] "The next time I describe the Internet as a "worldwide computer network," just remind me that there are parts of the world where finding food and housing are more important than the demo of Quake 3. The Internet is worldwide only in the parts of the world where the economy is decent."

  • Digital Divide (Resources)


  • A school to call home: At Seattle's First Place, kids have a classroom where they can keep learning Seattle Times, January 31, 2002 - 12:25 a.m. Pacific By Kimberly B. Marlowe First Place includes a Central District school for homeless children and a range of services to families at risk of losing housing or facing crisis brought on by unemployment, domestic violence, substance abuse and other challenges.
  • State-control experiments lack effective leadership; Seattle Times Friday, September 11, 1998; by Walter Williams "IN THE continuing battle between the federal, state and local governments for control over federally funded social programs such as welfare, K-12 education and job training, the states, for now, are by far the biggest winners. They receive most of the federal funds without many strings attached and parcel them out to the localities. Does this power shift make sense?"
  • Christmas miracle for homeless? Seattle Times, Monday, August 24, 1998 by David A. Fahrenthold "A City Council resolution passed last month allocated $500,000 to finance Schell's plan for homeless families and women. [....] Schell's $500,000 pledge will build 20 new shelter beds for women, but 50 are needed. It will put up 100 families in hotels, but 250 more who need vouchers won't get them. So the scene at First Avenue likely won't be much different come Dec. 25."
  • Using the digital revolution to lift poor communities; Seatlle Times, Sunday, August 2, 1998; by Neal R. Peirce Syndicated columnist "THE digital revolution is really about eliminating poverty.... in the global economy ..., human capital - people's skills and capacities - is what counts the most. ... skills and learning can be acquired easily through computers, (which) fed by the Internet's global flow of information, could turn out to be among the most powerful social equalizers of human history."
  • Nonprofit groups tap into the Web Seattle Times, Sunday, July 12, 1998; Internet features, by Barbara Feder, Knight Ridder Newspapers Charities and other nonprofit groups increasingly are turning to cyberspace to raise money, using the techniques of electronic commerce to accept online credit-card donations and conduct upscale auctions over the Internet....
  • No simple solutions for Seattle's homeless ; Seattle Times, Tuesday, June 23, 1998; "ONLY... 184 days until Seattle Mayor Paul Schell sweeps every homeless woman and child off the cold streets and tucks them safely into nice warm beds.... Schell's $500,000 proposal to the City Council consists of stop-gap measures to be applied at the furthest edges of desperation: more shelter beds, short-term rent aid for families on the brink of eviction, and hotel vouchers for homeless women and children....
    All of Schell's proposed measures are necessary, but if he truly wishes to cure homelessness - or at least slow the growing number ... who cannot afford a place to sleep in Seattle - then he must continue exploring solutions for the financial independence of low-income and unemployed Seattle residents.
  • A safe harbor for the homeless ; Seattle Times, Thursday, June 18, 1998; by Michael Ko ".... the soon-to-open Dutch Shisler Sobering Center, part of King County's increasing efforts to clear Seattle streets of the 10,000 people who are homeless. The center and the rest of the building are targeting the alcohol- and drug-dependent and the mentally ill, getting them into safer lifestyles. Earlier this year, the county asked downtown stores and taverns to sign "good neighborhood" agreements and stop selling beer and malt liquor in containers larger than 18 ounces. The new building, at the edge of Seattle's Cascade neighborhood, is part of this plan."

  • Ruling puts legal aid in jeopardy Seattle Times, Wednesday, June 17, 1998; by Susan Gilmore "Legal aid for thousands of poor Washington residents may be in jeopardy after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week that a popular funding source may be illegal. In ruling on a Texas case, the high court said Monday that clients are entitled to the interest on money placed in bank accounts by their attorneys when they take on cases. In Washington, as well as every state, the money has been pooled and the sizable interest has gone to pay legal fees for those who can't afford it."
  • Survey: Working, educated and hungry Seattle Times, Thursday, March 12, 1998, by Tan Vinh BELLEVUE - A new national survey indicates that 34 percent of the adults using King County food banks have attended college and that nearly half the families are among the "working poor."
  • Temporary agencies putting the homeless to work ; Seattle Times, Tuesday, March 3, 1998 by Erica Noonan Associated Press BOSTON - For Jeffrey Armstrong, the Pine Street Inn homeless shelter isn't just home. It's where he was recruited to work full time in the kitchen of an Italian restaurant, giving him not just money but pride.
  • City's Dead Homeless Memorialized Seattle Times, Jan.3, 1998. "The memorial service was organized by The Compass Center, which offers shelter, showers and other services for homeless men and women. It was held ... in the center's second-floor cafeteria that looks out onto the Alaskan Way viaduct.
    The 16th annual memorial service was a small tribute attended by some 30 people.
    "It's just good for us as a society to pause and to know that this many people died homeless in the city," explained Rick Friedhoff, director of The Compass Center."
  • Soup-kitchen lines grow, driven by the working poor Seattle Times, Sunday, Dec. 28, 1997, by Melissa Healy and Judy Pasternak "As 1997 draws to a close, unemployment rates have sunk to a 25-year low, and the nation's economy is humming along nicely. But... across the nation, the lines outside soup kitchens and food pantries are growing, driven in large measure by those who are working but still poor... Nationally, 86 percent of cities surveyed reported an increase in demand for emergency food assistance. On average, requests for food at soup kitchens and food pantries have risen by 16 percent. And 38 percent of those seeking emergency food aid are employed, up from 23 percent in 1994.. "
  • A night of ministry in Pioneer Square Seattle Times, Friday, Oct. 24, 1997, by Janet I-Chin Tu
  • The uphill battle to help the homeless Seattle Times, Friday, July 25, 1997. [by Scott Pinegar and John Shaw] "On the streets of downtown and in our neighborhoods, we see them in increasing numbers. Moving from here to there, with tattered backpack and deliberate stride. Walking alone, or with children in tow. Taking rest on a park bench, waiting in a bus shelter, reading, writing, or surfing the net in the library.

  • Poverty can be broken, but it takes an education, Seattle Times, Sunday, April 27, 1997, by Jerry Large William Julius Wilson says what we think we know about inner-city poverty doesn't always square with the facts. (Wilson is a professor of social policy at Harvard) In... "When Work Disappears," Wilson says Americans tend to look at everything in terms of the individual, which means we aren't very good at managing social structures or fixing those structures when they are broken. He notes that in national surveys, when Americans are asked why people are poor, we say, "Lack of effort or ability, poor morals, poor work skills," but seldom mention "lack of adequate schooling, low wages, lack of jobs."

  • Police discover homeless living beneath Suzzallo (The Daily, March 10, 1997)


Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly [University of Washington, School of Public Affairs]

Amenta, Edwin. Bold Relief: Institutional Politics and the Origin of Modern American Social Policy. Princeton Univ. Press, 1998 [HN57.A584.1998]

Asefa, Sisay. The Political economy of poverty and food insecurity in Africa. Michigan academician [Ann Arbor, MI] Vol. 28. No. 1. January 1996. p. 77-92.

Daly, Gerald. Homeless: Policies, Strategies, and Lives on the Streets. Routledge 1996. [Paperback $19.95]

Danzinger, Sheldon H. et al., eds., Confronting Poverty: Prescriptions for Change. N.Y.: Sage. Cambridge & London: Harvard Univ.Press, 1994. (US$ 19.95, paper) [Abstract in JEL June 1996, p.782]

Donohue, John J. and James Heckman, "Continuous versus Episodic Change: The Impact of Civil Rights Policy on the Economic Status of Blacks," Journ of Economic Lit 29(4), Dec 1991, 1603-43.

Early, Dirk W. and Olsen, Edgar O., "Subsidized Housing, Emergency Shelters, and Homelessness: An Empirical Investigation Using Data from the 1990 Census", Advances in Economic Analysis & Policy: Vol. 2: No. 1, 2002, Article 2.

Haughton, G., Johnson, S., Murphy. and Thomas, K. (1993) Local Geographies of Unemployment, (Avebury, Aldershot).

Jakle, John and David Wilson, Derelict Landscapes: The Wasting of America's Built Environment. Rowman & Littlefield, 1992.

Jarosz, Lucy. Working in the global food system: a focus for international comparative analysis. Progress in human geography [London] Vol. 20. No. 1. March 1996. p.41-55. ^

Jencks, Christopher. The Homeless. Cambridge: Harvard Univ.Press, 1994.


Matthews, M.H. and P. Vujakovic, "Private Worlds and Public Places: Mapping the Environmental Values of Wheelchair Users," Environment and Planning A 27(7), July 1995, pp.1021-78.

Mills, Edwin S. and Luan Sende Lubuele, "Inner Cities", Journ of Econ Lit 35(2), June 1997, 727-756.

Nolan, Brian & C.T. Whelan. Resources, Deprivation and Poverty. Oxford UP, 1996. (272pp.)

O'Flaherty, Brendan. The Economics of Homelessness. Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press 1996. [extensively reviewed in Quickley (below)]

Plotnick, Robert D., "Poverty in the Pacific Northwest", Pacific Northwest Executive, July 1989, pp.17-19.

Quigley, John M., The Homeless, Journal of Economic Literature, 34(4), Dec. 1996, 1935-41.

Reedy, Joel. Marketing to consumers with disabilities : how to identify and meet the growing market needs of 43 million Americans / Joel Reedy. Chicago, Ill. : Probus Pub. Co., c1993. Marketing -- United-States. Handicapped-consumers -- United-States. [UW-Bothell Lib. Stacks HF5415.1 .R42 1993]

Sawhill, Isabel V., "Poverty in the U.S.: Why is it so persistent?" Journ. of Econ. Lit., 26(3), Sept. 1988, pp. 1073-1119.

Isaac Shapiro and Sharon Parrott An Unraveling Consensus? An Analysis of the Effect of the New Congressional Agenda on The Working Poor.


Smith, David Marshall, GEOGRAPHY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE / DAVID M. SMITH. Oxford, UK : Blackwell Publishers, 1994. xvi, 325 p. : ill. [HM216 .S53 1994]

Smith, James P. and Finis R. Welch, "Black Economic Progress after Myrdal," Journ. of Econ.Lit., 27(2), June 1989, 519-564.

Squire, Lyn, "Evaluating the Effectiveness of Poverty Alleviation Programs," in: Picciotto, Robert and Ray C. Rist, eds., Evaluating Country Development Policies and Programs: New Approaches for a New Agenda. Jossey-Bass Publ. 1995 [HD75.9.E82]

World Bank World Bank Literature on Poverty

Yeich, Susan. The Politics of Ending Homelessness. University Press of America. 1994.

"My mother wanted me to get an education; so she got me out of school." Margret Mead

Return to Econ & Bus Geography
2001 []