California’s poverty rate has now reached an astounding 20.6%. The highest in the nation, it is now possible, without seeking out a riverbed or a homeless shelter; a park bench or a disabled camper, to look one in five of your Central Coast neighbors in the eye and see the face of poverty.
At PSHH, we are a little hesitant about using the word ‘poverty’ because that word allows us to take one step away from the word ‘poor’ and that’s the word we want you to sit with. Those of us who work in the sector have a tendency to use ‘social service speak’ – we use distancing words like ‘underserved’, ‘vulnerable’, ‘at-risk’. An attempt to ascribe dignity, there is nothing dignified about being poor - it is a condition of abject misery.
The biggest factor which makes and keeps people poor, is the intolerable cost of housing. For the poor, the “30% of income rule” is practically useless. Here on the Central Coast of California, families are spending 70-80% of their income on housing, which means every dollar spent on rent is not used for food, health, education.
But, here’s the good news! Together we can solve this problem, by building decent, safe, affordable housing. With housing comes security, with housing better health is possible, with housing the opportunity to pursue an education is in reach and with housing readiness for the workplace a reality.
And so we are asking you to join the Investors Circle. As a stakeholder, you can invest in our residents long after the ribbon cutting. You' can sustain communities, you can make them more resilient, successful and strong. Investing in the poor creates wealth for us all. It is an investment which makes sense.
Please give generously now!