COPE is co-hosted by
Have you ever tried building a structure out of a deck of cards? One false move, one gust of air, one jiggle of the table, and the whole thing comes tumbling down. Then, you get to play 52 card pick up!
Living in poverty is a lot like trying to keep a house of cards intact. Any disturbance–like a dead car battery or a babysitter who is under the weather–can create a ripple effect that brings down a carefully-constructed day. Enough snafus in enough days, and many family providers find themselves without a job, then without sufficient money to provide for daily needs, then without a home when rent is not paid, then searching for alternative housing. . .you get the picture. In fact, as Peter Temin argues in his book, The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy, it can take as long as 20 years of living with no unexpected economic mishaps for a family to move from the low-wage sector to middle income.
Why so long? Low wage earners typically have difficulty securing credit at reasonable interest rates. Buying cheap, fast food leads to health problems. Buying an older, affordable car can often mean expensive maintenance. Lack of affordable child care complicates the ability to work full-time. Lack of affordable housing pushes some families into pay-by-the week hotels. Poverty is expensive!
Those of us who serve in faith-based ministry for people in crisis need to understand the complexities of poverty so that we can help in the right ways. Want to learn more? Attend the upcoming Cost of Poverty Experience (COPE), co-hosted by Dallas Baptist Association and Mission Oak Cliff, on Saturday, March 23, 9-noon. This isn’t a classroom lecture. Rather, you’ll spend time in a small group, pondering real-life challenges for low-income families. Representatives from local non profits and other ministries will provide guidance. Let’s learn together!