Category Archives: No More Poverty

Government Programs Reduce Poverty

Julian Omidi discusses government programs

Today, Julian Omidi discusses an interpretation of new data from U.S. Census data on poverty levels in the nation. It seems government safety nets are doing some good.

You often hear debate about whether certain government programs do anything worthwhile. Most of the time it is just baseless speculation.

A new study from PEW Charitable Trusts offers some real data from the U.S. Census Bureau to shed some light on the subject.

Social Security, food stamps, unemployment benefits and earned income tax credits all seem to have an effect on the poverty level. Some of the study’s findings include:

  • The official poverty rate in the U.S. was 14.5 percent (45.3 million people)
  • Without food stamps, the poverty rate would be 17.1 percent (an additional 8 million people)
  • Without Social Security, poverty rate for Americans 65 and over would be 52.67 percent instead of 14.6 percent currently
  • Without programs like earned income tax credits, poverty for children under 18 would be 22.8 percent (19.9 percent currently)

These numbers are staggering. Consider what America would look like if each of these programs were removed or cut back significantly. That is what safety nets are for. No one wants people to live in poverty, but America continues to have problems with income inequality.

The great poverty divide

In the current political debate on poverty, both sides have answers, but they seem to be coming from opposite directions. Those on the right wish to see these programs cut or changed, and those on the left wish to see them improved, for the most part.

Most Americans are somewhere in the middle. Some reform is certainly necessary, but these programs are helping people currently. How can we improve things and make sure no one slips through the net while curtailing abuses? This is one of the most difficult questions of our time.

We can certainly use some better metrics on the matter. Census information only considers income level to determine whether someone is under the poverty level. This doesn’t include things like food stamps and other programs that help people.

In 2010 our government introduced the supplemental poverty rate, which considers consumer spending on necessities like shelter, food and utilities. Someday this measure may be used as to determine assistance levels. It has the potential to reign in abusers and find those eligible people who need help.

Things keep getting better, as a whole, for all of us. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t continually try to improve. Look for solutions and not ammo. Our public discourse will be much better off.

Thanks for reading,

Julian Omidi

Julian Omidi and his brother, Michael Omidi, are co-founders of No More Poverty, a charity committed to the eradication of income inequality.

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Poverty Rates in Los Angeles Greater than National Average

The state of California’s poor

Julian Omidi talks about poverty in Los Angeles

Julian Omidi talks about the ongoing issue of poverty. Here, he examines the alarming poverty rates in Los Angeles County.

The U.S. Census bureau has released new estimates that show poverty is more widespread in Los Angeles County than in California or the U.S. as a whole. Eighteen percent of people in LA County live below the poverty line. This isn’t a new development, but rather a lingering reminder of just how bad things are for the area’s residents.

Poverty rates are even worse, a staggering 20 percent, for county residents who were born in another country. The foreign-born often have a tough time finding work due to language barriers and a lack of social support systems. Los Angeles County is home to many unskilled immigrants who are forced to live on the economic fringes of society.

California’s poverty rate was reported at 16 percent, while the overall number for the U.S. is 15 percent. The country has been slow to pull out of the recent recession and still needs job growth. The national unemployment rate is near 5.9 percent, though California’s has stayed above 7.3 percent. The state’s poverty rate likely won’t improve much until the national economy begins to grow.

What does this mean for LA County and California?

LA County has suffered with chronic poverty for decades. Government programs help many citizens get what they need, but often fall short. High housing costs in the area make it difficult for poor people to find affordable homes and apartments.

High unemployment rates create a large group of people starved for work. These people are likely to settle for lower pay, driving local wages down or keeping them stagnate.

People in poverty tend to experience higher levels of stress, which makes logical sense. If you have your needs met, you have less to worry about. It’s a simple as that. These problems are not purely economic in nature. The health of our communities is at stake. Money problems can quickly turn into housing and nutrition problems.

My brother, Dr. Michael Omidi, and I founded No More Poverty to help alleviate some of these issues. These problems are close to our hearts and we want to do what we can.

While government programs do help the less fortunate, they cannot do it all. Find a charity or food basket near you and help out however you can. If you’re concerned about poverty, vote for politicians who share your concerns. Together, we can make a difference.

Thanks for taking the time to read about this important issue,

Julian Omidi

Julian Omidi works with a number of charities. No More Poverty was established by Julian and Dr. Michael Omidi to support individuals and charities making a difference.

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South Carolina Plan Looks to Redistribute Homeless

Julian Omidi discusses a plan drawn up by a South Carolina city to move the homeless population away from a popular district.

Homelessness is a complex problem with a huge variety of social and economic contributors; not a problem that will simply disappear. However, certain City Councils believe that it can be legislated out of sight for the benefit of commerce.

Homelessness makes most of us uncomfortable. When we see a homeless encampment, we are nervous about getting out of our cars; when we see a homeless person sleeping in a doorway or hovering around an outdoor café, we make a note to look after our purses and wallets. Business owners make a note of this; when they see an increase in the homeless population in their neighborhoods, they know that a decrease in business is sure to follow. In an effort to protect the business community, the city of Columbia, South Carolina has taken steps to remove the homeless population from their downtown retail district. However, the plan the City Council has embraced seems, to many, to not only be draconian, but ultimately ineffective.

Walking along the streets of downtown Columbia, residents can’t fail to notice the line of displaced persons congregating in a parking lot near one of the unopened homeless shelters. They sit, surrounded by their few, battered possession, smoking, issuing comments to the passersby and occasionally argue loudly amongst themselves. The city has a homeless population of approximately 1,500, and, like in most large cities, they tend to remain in the more crowded and anonymous districts where they are less likely to be bothered by local authorities. Recently, the Columbia City Council elected to evict the homeless from the downtown region by making homelessness, essentially, illegal. In a unanimous vote, the council decided that the homeless must reside in a designated homeless shelter or leave the city of Columbia, otherwise risk being arrested.

This plan essentially amounts to homeless redistribution; it does nothing to address the larger problem of homelessness. Columbia, like many large cities undergoing a renovation after a major natural disaster (in this case, Hurricane Katrina), try to make the region hospitable to businesses and high income residents. In Columbia’s case, the officials elected to use the property of what was once a mental hospital for a large multi-use development complex which is estimated to rejuvenate the local economy within the next twenty years. The downtown area has been revived, and there is hope that Columbia will be the next home of a Major League farm team, which will bring tourism and a jolt of revenue. With all of this planning for economic prosperity comes a grim side effect; many residents will be priced out of the city as property values inflate significantly.

Advocates for the homeless plan to challenge the act in September, which they consider extreme and inhumane.

homeless-man

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Julian Omidi and Dandelion Wishes

Julian Omidi is cofounder of No More Poverty with his brother Dr. Michael Omidi.  No More Poverty is an organization dedicated to supporting and promoting the works of charities that strive to end global poverty.  In this article, Julian Omidi discusses No More Poverty’s latest sponsorship, Dandelion Wishes, a foundation that brings art programs to victims of poverty, abuse and trauma.

Historically, art has provided solace, enlightenment and peace.  The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, for example, has given great spiritual and emotional comfort to those who have beheld it over the centuries.  The creation of art is also believed to have therapeutic benefits, and many physicians, counselors and psychologists use art as a form of therapy for victims of trauma, illness and drug addiction.  Additionally, art programs have proven effective in the inner city in combating the hopelessness and lack of motivation often found in depressed communities.  Dandelion Wishes, an organization that seeks to provide strength and hope to those most in need through the use of art therapy, is the latest charity No More Poverty has the pleasure of sponsoring.

Dandelion Wishes was born in 2010, when its founder, Lesley Gunn, decided to use her training and certification in Child Development, the Zagon method of Art4Healing and Organizational Leadership to provide those in need of emotional healing and direction with an outlet for their frustrations.  The mission of Dandelion Wishes is to inspire social change through initiatives designed to give those who feel ignored and neglected a voice.  Lesley’s motivation came from her personal experience with art therapy, which she credits with giving her hope and light in a dark time.  “My passion is being able to share my personal trials and triumphs with my means of healing through creative expression and art,” said Lesley Gunn, founder. “Helping others to find hope inside themselves is incredibly rewarding.”

The methods employed in the Dandelion Wishes’ workshops and classes are designed to help participants find hope and strength, regardless of culture or world view.  Students create art with a variety of mediums—paints, clay, crafting supplies—without being bound by a specific language, in a non-judgmental and nurturing environment.

To date, Dandelion Wishes has provided outreach to detention centers, hospitals, foster families and rehabilitation centers, and is currently working to raise funds to provide services to Sylvia’s Serenity Sober Living Homes and The San Bernadino Juvenile Detention Center.  It is my hope that Dandelion Wishes, with the help of No More Poverty, will gain the resources to continue its important work for as long as it is needed.  If you are interested in learning more about Dandelion Wishes or any of the charities sponsored by No More Poverty, please visit nmp.org.

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How You Can Help No More Poverty

I, Julian Omidi, have formed a non-profit organization with my brother Michael Omidi in order to combat poverty across the United States and around the globe. No More Poverty is an agency that partners with other like-minded charitable organizations to further their efforts.

No More Poverty takes advantage of the social media revolution to help us solicit suggestions for organizations you feel are worthy of our support. Charities you suggest will be featured as a Charity of the Week on our Facebook page. Part of this campaign includes direct donations to these featured charities for every “Like” that the NMP.org Facebook page receives.

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The purpose of this campaign is to get you involved in philanthropy in an interactive way; you will be doing more than just making a financial donation, you will be a valuable part in an effort to end poverty around the world.

Some of the charities that we have supported so far have come as direct suggestions from the worldwide community, people just like you:

  • Portland Hoop Kings – A basketball program that teaches not only the fundamentals of the game but the fundamentals of life as well to inner city youth.
  • Pacifica Resource Center – A community program that aids residents in Pacifica, CA with food, shelter and housing, and financial programs.
  • Simone’s Kids – This organization helps children in Uganda, but their biggest effort currently is their goal to build a new school and community to provide education to over 300 children.

Getting involved with philanthropy is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done and I encourage you to do the same by getting involved with No More Poverty.

You can also follow the progress and efforts of No More Poverty by following me, Julian Omidi, through my Linked In account.

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