Poverty

Faith leaders and advocates for the poor are calling on the federal government to do something to reform payday lending.

An advocate for the homeless in Central Ohio says Ohio’s laws that crack down on payday lenders have been ineffective at curbing some of the predatory lending practices. Bill Faith says payday lenders are finding ways to get around those new laws by using other areas of Ohio’s lending laws.

“They have exploited those loopholes and we have tried multiple ways to close those loopholes,” he said.

The panel of state lawmakers looking over the budget had questions during a House Finance Committee meeting Wednesday about Medicaid, including about a proposal to require almost 100,000 Ohioans making above the federal poverty level to pay premiums. 

State Medicaid Director John McCarthy said the premiums will be $20 a month, which he said will teach recipients about monthly payments when they make enough money to buy insurance on the federal marketplace. 

LollyKnit / Flickr/Creative Commons

Hunger and food insecurity are still major problems in the Miami Valley even as the economic recovery gradually gets more people working. The Foodbank of the Miami Valley says it’s doing better meeting local residents’ needs than it was four years ago. That’s the last time a group called Feeding America did its periodic national survey of food banks and their users.

Protesters in downtown Dayton wore Robin Hood hats.
Lewis Wallace / WYSO

A group of protesters gathered in front of Ohio Congressman Mike Turner’s Dayton office Friday to call for the passage of a so-called “Robin Hood tax.” The demonstration is one of several across the country timed with the anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination in 1968.

The House of Representatives passed a compromise farm bill Wednesday, which among other provisions will makes some cuts to food stamps. The deal includes $8.6 billion in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

 In a conversation with WYSO's Emily McCord, Senator Sherrod Brown says the bill isn’t perfect, but it’s a lot better than the $40 billion cut Republicans originally wanted and that legislation will grow the agricultural industry.

Lewis Wallace / WYSO

In the midst of the ongoing intense cold weather, teams of volunteers are spreading across Montgomery County Wednesday morning for the yearly statewide census of homelessness. The count gives service organizations a snapshot of how many people are on the streets or in shelters on a given night, and it is required for counties that receive affordable housing assistance from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Press photo

The last week we’ve been revisiting the War on Poverty launched by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964. In fifty years, the poverty rate in the U.S. has been reduced from about 25 percent to 16 percent, but the discussion merely highlights how statistics are a matter of interpretation: Democrats supportive of federal policies aimed at reducing poverty tend to point to the numbers as a sign of success, while many Republicans point to the same numbers as proof of the policies’ failure.

With temperatures running dangerously low, workers from local shelters are working overtime to get people in off the streets. While hundreds in the Dayton area are experiencing homelessness, most have found a way to be inside.

The gym at the Salvation Army in downtown Springfield has been turned into a temporary warming center.

“If you don’t have to go out, don’t go out,” said a man who goes only by Dave. He was squatting at an empty house, and made plans to come to the warming center after he read the forecast in the paper.

Twin Towers in Dayton. St. Mary's Church, in the background, is central to the neighborhood's history. east side east end
Lewis Wallace / WYSO

The Twin Towers neighborhood in Dayton was established more than a hundred years ago, and it’s been through a lot. Recently 84 new houses opened in the area for low-income families through a public-private partnership organized by East End Community Services. But what does this mean for a neighborhood trying to turn itself around?

 

(WYSO/Lewis Wallace)

  U.S. Senator Rob Portman met with farmers in the Dayton area Wednesday to talk about the farm bill. The bill, which is up for renewal, subsidizes both agribusiness and food stamps.

The farmers want a new bill passed soon to protect crop insurance, a federally-subsidized program that helps farmers cope when nature destroys their crops. But Portman recently voted against the Senate version of the omnibus bill.

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