What Can Be Done to Help the Poor in America

Poverty doesn’t affect those of a certain race, gender or ethnicity it affects a whole stew of people (Sauter, 2018). But what exactly is poverty? Poverty is the state of being extremely poor, which can lead people into a downhill spiral. Poverty causes people to have poor health, a lack of education, and it may send them into a life of crime. (Kellogg, 2018) While in poverty access to proper health care is hard to come by so if one in poverty needs medical attention or help, they are most likely not able to obtain it without assistance.

Like poor health people can end up having no education because children living in impoverished areas may need to leave school to help provide for their family leaving their education behind. A life of crime can end up being the life of people in poverty because they live with the idea that they will do whatever necessary to make means. So, what can be done to benefit those in poverty?

There are many different standpoints on how to solve the issue of poverty.

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Many of those standpoints include governmental actions (Vallas, 2014). Others are way people at home can fight poverty by identify a problem that needs addressing (Outreach International, n.d.).

The most common solution to poverty is to have the government leap in a fix situation for the overall wealth of the country. While yes this is an obvious solution, it can be a very difficult process to see improvement soon for those who are struggling now.

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Some ways people at home can improve poverty is by identifying the issue (Outreach International, n.d.). When people affected identify the issue, they are currently in they can take better steps to better their lives and others. When they do this, they often gain confidence and realize they can help themselves by addressing the issue (Outreach International, n.d.). People can not only identify the issue, but they need to become active in ways to change their way of living. They need to act instead of just sitting and complaining about how badly they are affected. People who are affected should band together and start an organized group in their community to help many people and to not just be focused on a few individuals (Outreach International, n.d.). Through a collective organization, individuals can develop steps for improvement in the future. With all that being said, fighting poverty does take time, however “the journey of a thousand miles begin with a single step” -Lao Tzu

Yes, there are ways for ordinary people to solve poverty but there are many ways Congress can help play their part as well. These ways include creating jobs, raise the minimum wage, increase earned income tax credit for childless workers, support pay equity, provide paid leave and sick days, establish schedules that work, invest in high quality child care and early education that is affordable, and expand Medicaid. (Vallas, 2014)

Most of the ways Congress can help poverty is by improving the job force. To start creating jobs is an important one. People can't earn a living if they don’t have the job to do so. Half of the responsibility of getting a job is on Congress to provide them and for the people in poverty to go apply for them. If a person in poverty doesn’t go and attempt to obtain a job, then there is no point in the government creating more job opportunities. More jobs however do open doors for those in hardship and poverty.

Raising the minimum wage is another way to help those in poverty. Minimum wage laws require all employers to pay their employees a minimum amount of wage that is determined by the government (Government Policies to Reduce Poverty, n.d.). Currently the minimum wage is at $7.25 per hour (in some states, cities and counties this number varies). (Doyle, 2019) Raising the minimum wage would positively affect many households and many children would see their parent get a raise if the minimum wage did so as well. (Vallas, 2014)

More varieties of changes in the workforce include. Supporting pay equity, which focuses on providing equal pay for jobs of the same value. (Pay equity: what it is and why it's important, 2018) “For tax year 2016, a worker with no children who makes less than $14,880 can receive up to $506. Single parents with three or more children who make less than $47,955 are eligible for $6,269.” (NCLS, 2018) Increasing the earned income tax for childless workers suggesting that workers who don’t have children bring more into their home. Provide paid sick and leave days. And lastly establish schedules that work. Schedules should work with and for the employee to be able to effectively perform their job.

Medicaid is a federal state health care insurance that provides help for low income families. It provides help for children, aged, blind, and disabled people. (Gallagher, 2018) Medicaid is administrated and regulated by states. However, in 2014, “23 states still refused to expand their Medicaid to cover adults up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.” (Vallas, 2014) Expanding Medicaid would provide more than health care. It would allow families to not have to worry about whether they have the money for health care, allowing them to make sure they can put food on the table.

Also having high quality child care and education programs that are affordable are a big way to affect poverty. Families in poverty usually have both parents working to bring in a steady income. So where do the kids go? Most families must pay out of pocket and can end up spending more money than a years’ worth of tuition for an infant child to go to child care. (Vallas, 2014) Creating affordable child care would allow families to keep whatever money they do make into their homes.

Tianna Gaines-Turner has lived in poverty firsthand with her husband, 10-year-old, and 6-year-old twins (Gaines-Turner, 2014). Gaines-Turner has an insight view of what it’s like living in poverty and agrees with the suggested ideas to stop poverty. Gaines-Turner agrees with the solutions to provide living wages and investing in community solutions that are run by people who know what poverty is like. She also suggests the idea of investing in a safety net that supports economic mobility. (Gaines-Turner, 2014)

In the end poverty is a serious issue that should not go unnoticed. Poverty affects 39.7 million people in our united states let alone the world (Pressman, 2018). There are different ways for poverty to be tackled from people at home acting and making a difference to the Government stepping in and taking action.


  1. Doyle, A. (2019, January 15). 2019 federal and State Minimum Wage Rates. Retrieved from the balence careers: https://www.thebalancecareers.com/2018-19-federal-state-minimum-wage-rates-2061043
  2. Gaines-Turner, T. (2014, July 11). Moyers. Retrieved from Three Steps We Can Take to Solve Poverty, From Someone Who Knows Firsthand: https://billmoyers.com/2014/07/11/three-steps-we-can-take-to-solve-poverty-from-someone-who-knows-firsthand/
  3. Gallagher, B. (2018, June 18). What is medicaid- and how is it different from Medicare? Retrieved from The Daily Dot: https://www.dailydot.com/layer8/what-is-medicaid/
  4. Government Policies to Reduce Poverty. (n.d.). Retrieved from Quickonomics: https://quickonomics.com/government-policies-to-reduce-poverty/
  5. Kellogg, N. C. (2018, May 28). top effects of poverty . Retrieved from The Borgen Project: https://borgenproject.org/5-effects-poverty/
  6. Outreach International. (n.d.). outreach international. Retrieved from 5 ways to fight poverty: https://outreach-international.org/5-ways-to-fight-poverty/
  7. Paycor. (2018, September 12). Retrieved from Pay equity: what it is and why it's important: https://www.paycor.com/resource-center/pay-equity-what-it-is-and-why-its-important
  8. Pressman, S. (2018, September 12). The range of poverty in America. Retrieved from U.S News: https://www.usnews.com/news/healthiest-communities/articles/2018-09-12/poverty-in-america-new-census-data-paint-an-unpleasant-picture
  9. Sauter, M. B. (2018, October 10). Faces of poverty: what racial, social groups are more likely to experience it. Retrieved from USA Today: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/economy/2018/10/10/faces-poverty-social-racial-factors/37977173/
  10. Vallas, R. (2014, Septembber 17). The top 10 solutions to cut poverty and grow the middle class. Retrieved from Center for American Progress: https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/poverty/news/2014/09/17/97287/the-top-10-solutions-to-cut-poverty-and-grow-the-middle-class/
Updated: Jan 11, 2022
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What Can Be Done to Help the Poor in America. (2022, Jan 11). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/what-can-be-done-to-help-the-poor-in-america-essay

What Can Be Done to Help the Poor in America essay
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