The Publication of Habitat for Humanity International | April / May 2002
Decent, Affordable, Habitat Houses Bring Transformation

In South Africa: A Sense of Place Yields Stability

In India: A Joy That Knows No Bounds

In California: Family Leaves Danger And Fears Behind

In California: Stability Brings Family Reunion

In Korea: Safe Shelter Establishes Permanence

In Romania: Doctors Once Trapped By Poverty Housing

In England: New House Means New Mindset for Teen

In Kentucky:
10-year-old Enjoys a "Room of One's Own"

In Guatemala: Improved Health, Tranquility Make the Difference

Fears of Becoming 'Poor' Revealed

If you've worried about becoming “poor” at some point in your life, you have plenty of company.

In fact, 51 percent of adults in the United States fear they may become poor some day, according to a nationwide survey sponsored by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

This statistic opens the door to a multitude of other questions. What do Americans perceive as “poor”? Who is responsible for caring for poor people? And what should be done to alleviate the problem?

“Poverty Pulse,” a survey designed to determine common attitudes toward poverty, yielded several key findings:

• When asked what it means to be poor in the United States, 24 percent of survey respondents cited being “homeless.” “Not being able to meet basic needs” (23 percent) and “hunger/not eating properly” (22 percent) also were common perceptions of poverty.

• Suggested causes of poverty ranged from lack of education (32 percent) to personal laziness (25 percent) to lack of employment opportunities (21 percent).

• Forty-nine percent of the people surveyed held the U.S. government responsible for responding to the needs of poor people and addressing other issues of poverty, up from 38 percent last year.

• Forty-one percent of survey respondents gave money to an organization helping the poor last year. The number of people who donated food, clothing or goods in 2001—32 percent—was up significantly from 12 percent in 2000.

• A combined 24 percent of the people surveyed said they volunteered or got involved with a community-based organization that works to address poverty or social justice. To become further involved, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development suggests activities such as ensuring a “living wage” for employees, requesting assistance from local media in reporting on local poverty and mentoring individuals trying to build productive lives.

The Poverty Pulse survey was released in January as part of CCHD’s “Poverty in America Awareness Month” observance. To read more findings from the survey online, visit

Inside 'Global Outlook': Raising Awareness About Poverty

Habitat World’s statement of purpose, listed on the inside front cover of the magazine, reads in part: “Habitat World magazine is the educational, informational and outreach publication of Habitat for Humanity International.”

With this “Global Outlook” portion of your magazine, we hope to broaden the opportunities for raising awareness of poverty and poverty housing issues. In so doing, we highlight information gleaned from other informational vehicles. In the February/March 2002 issue, for instance, we profiled a recent publication in which the author undertook low-wage jobs to gain insight into the struggles low-wage workers face on a daily basis. Above, we have profiled a Web site from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development that offers insightful information about perceptions of poverty in the United States.

Countless other Web sites, books and reports provide similar information we feel would expand awareness of poverty issues. In writing about such media, we do not endorse one over the other, but rather wish to spotlight fresh, compelling sources that may help keep you informed.

As you revisit the Global Outlook department in future issues, expect to find additional resources, presented to you in the hope that together, through an increasingly keener awareness of poverty’s problems, we can effectively work toward their solutions–not the least of which is a simple, decent place to live.

If, in your reading, you encounter educational material you feel would be of interest, we invite you to send it our way. You may e-mail your suggestions to, call us at (800) 422-4828 or write the Editor, Habitat World magazine, 121 Habitat St., Americus, GA 31709.

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