Perhaps as a defense mechanism or just out of the numbness of the daily grind, we look past the poverty in our path. Almost 17 percent of
The situation is much the same or worse in
Look inside our classrooms to see where we're headed if we don't turn this tide. Almost two-thirds of students in the
Hurricane Harvey laid all of this bare -- and threatens to make it much worse.
After the storm, some wealthy residents worried about collecting insurance payouts on coastal vacation homes while others trying to break out of poverty begged family to let them stay on couches or fled to larger cities with more housing options. In several Crossroads towns, there are no grocery stores, doctors' offices or banks, let alone social service agencies to serve people who live there. Some of those communities feel forgotten.
The Category 4 hurricane struck when some families fought simply to stay above water. Many seniors relied on limited fixed incomes. Other people worked two jobs, or crammed several generations into a single home.
For many of the families teetering on the edge of financial collapse, Harvey was the catalyst that sent them into a downward spiral. Some lost their jobs. Others spent the little savings they did have evacuating. As research from across the globe has shown, disasters often hurt the most vulnerable communities worse -- a disparity that continues to grow in the months and years after they strike. Harvey appears to be no different.
Rebuilding will take commitment, compassion and creativity from residents and their government leaders. It requires examining the systems that led to people being so vulnerable in the first place. And that means talking about poverty -- a subject that's often politicized, especially deep in the heart of
Yet, as Crossroads communities are focused on rebuilding and applying for grants, this is the moment to talk about rebuilding stronger than before. This is the time to talk frankly about what's hidden in plain sight.
This opinion reflects the views of the
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