Viking Press

In theory, America is the land of opportunity: anyone can do anything, and we are not a country of strong class lines.  That's the theory. 

The recent debates about inequality remind us that people who don't make much money have a hard time getting to a position to make more. 

Historian and author Nancy Isenberg says it's not a new situation.  She is the author of the newly released White Trash

The book tracks the accomplishments and abuses of (and on) poor white people since colonial days. 

Penguin Books

The word itself has a creepy sound: EVICTED.  And the book by that name of Matthew Desmond shows just how wrenching a process eviction can be. 

He follows eight families in the Milwaukee area, dealing with two different landlords. 

The circumstances that lead to eviction are clearly laid out... in our part of history, people spend half of their income or more just to put a roof over their heads, and it's not always a pleasant roof. 

California Cities Build Momentum on Minimum Wage Boosts

Dec 22, 2015
Pauline Bartolone/CALmatters

Lydia Flores saves gas money by taking a two-hour train ride to and from her cashier job at a Los Angeles supermarket. She tells her teenage sons about another way the family can save on the cost of eggs.

“Eat it slow,” she tells them. “They gotta savor their eggs now.”

To stretch her dollars, Flores gets some food from churches. Her sons wear their uncle’s hand-me-downs. A couple of times a year, she’ll ask a local nonprofit to help pay a utility bill.

Public Domain

Chapters of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul are present all over the country, delivering on the society's goal of helping people in need. 

St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County defines that mission broadly, with many facets to its operation. 

One of the facets is building affordable housing, and the society just broke ground on new housing in Junction City, with additional units about to open up in Eugene (there's a waiting list). 

Welfare Reform: F for Oregon, C for California

Mar 23, 2015

The days of "welfare queens" and other derogatory terms for people receiving public assistance are supposed to be behind us. 

Congress passed welfare reform nearly 20 years ago to put some conditions on people receiving assistance. 

States continue to work to curtail poverty and provided needed services, and the Heartland Institute in Chicago gives them grades. 

Sorry Oregon, you get an F, and California gets a C. 

Liam Moriarty/JPR

Most of us take for granted that we can have a hot shower pretty much anytime we like.  But for people without a home, such basic personal hygiene can be a rare luxury. Now, in Ashland, community groups have come together to create a solution that meets the simple human need for cleanliness with dignity and compassion.

Taylor Winkle/Northwest News Network

Across the country more than one million kids may not know where they’re going to sleep tonight.

It could be in a car, on a friend’s couch, in a homeless shelter, or even on the street. In Oregon, there are more than 20,000 homeless students, in California, nearly a quarter million. And for these kids getting their homework done is the least of their problems.

Now a unique program out of Tacoma is trying to help those kids do better in school, one family at a time.

Remembering Feminist Writer Tillie Olsen

Sep 23, 2013
University of Nebraska Press

Tillie Olsen is no longer with us, but her work remains fresh and alive.

The writer of short fiction and non-fiction works is described by some people as a feminist author, but that's an oversimplification.  Her work reflects a deep understanding of women and poor people, still relevant today.  Her daughter Kathie Olsen will join us to talk about the recent collection Tell Me a Riddle, Requa I, and Other Works.

Lawyers for Little Money

Sep 12, 2013

When we get stuck in a legal bind, we call a lawyer.  If we can afford one.

And if not?  The Center for NonProfit Legal Services is often the answer to that question in Jackson County.  The Center formed more than 40 years ago to help poorer residents with issues like housing, public benefits, and family dispute resolution.  You'll hear how the Center can afford to do its work... and how many people it can help.