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child poverty case study

child poverty case studyChild poverty case study -The ranks of the poor have risen, with almost half of New Yorkers living near or below the poverty line.A few feet away, Dasani’s legally blind, 10-year-old sister, Nijai, sleeps on a mattress that has come apart at the seams, its rusted coils splayed.“There’s no space to breathe ’cause they breathe up all the oxygen,” Dasani says.The city’s Administration for Children’s Services was watching closely.What she knows is that she has been blessed with perfect teeth.A flat-screen television rests on two orange milk crates.Long before Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio rose to power by denouncing the city’s inequality, children like Dasani were being pushed further into the margins, and not just in New York.Among the city’s 152 family shelters, Auburn became known as a place of last resort, a dreaded destination for the chronically homeless.She likes being small because “I can slip through things.” In the blur of her city’s crowded streets, she is just another face. She rarely wavers, or hints at doubt, even as her life is consumed by it.The others might be distracted by the sheer noise of this first day — the start of sixth grade, the new uniform, the new faces. She approaches the school’s steps on a clear September morning. “Come on, there’s nothing to be scared about,” her 34-year-old mother, Chanel, finally says, nudging Dasani up the stairs.Two other children share a mattress by the rotting wall where the mice live, opposite the baby, whose crib is warmed by a hair dryer perched on a milk crate.Child" data-title="Girl in the Shadows: Dasani’s Homeless Life" data-summary="There are more than 22,000 homeless children in a city with the greatest concentration of wealth in America." data-pubdate="Published: December 9, 2013"he wakes to the sound of breathing.“I have a lot on my plate,” she says, taking inventory: The fork and spoon are her parents and the macaroni, her siblings — except for Baby Lele, who is a plump chicken breast.If they are seen enough times emerging from Auburn, they are pegged as the neighborhood’s outliers, the so-called shelter boogies. A mucus-stained nose suggests a certain degradation, not just the absence of tissues, but of a parent willing to wipe or a home so unclean that a runny nose makes no difference.“Black is beautiful, black is me,” she sings under her breath as her mother trails behind. Its condition, she notes, is clearly superior on this side of Myrtle. The skyline soars with luxury towers, beacons of a new gilded age.Fresh braids fall to one side of her face, clipped by bright yellow bows. She will focus in class and mind her manners in the schoolyard. She passes through the metal detector, joining 507 other middle and high school students at the Susan S. Housed in a faded brick building two blocks from Auburn, Mc Kinney is a poor-kids’ version of La Guardia Arts, the elite Manhattan public school that inspired the television series “Fame.” Threadbare curtains adorn its theater. Dance class is so crowded that students practice in intervals.Poor people would be empowered, the mayor argued, and homelessness would decline. As rents steadily rose and low-income wages stagnated, chronically poor families like Dasani’s found themselves stuck in a shelter system with fewer exits.Any slips, and the siblings could wind up in foster care, losing their parents and, most likely, one another.Dasani tells herself that brand names don’t matter.When Dasani hears “shelter boogies,” all she can think to say is what her mother always tells her — that Auburn is “just a pit stop.” “But you will live in the projects forever, as will your kids’ kids, and your kids’ kids’ kids.” She knows the battle is asymmetrical. But to live at Auburn is to admit the ultimate failure: the inability of one’s parents to meet that most basic need.child poverty case studyBut in the company of her siblings, she calls it “the house,” transforming a crowded room into an imaginary home. The forbidding, 10-story brick building, which dates back almost a century, was formerly Cumberland Hospital, one of seven public hospitals that closed because of the city’s 1970s fiscal crisis.For children like Dasani, school is not just a place to cultivate a hungry mind. The right school can provide routine, nourishment and the guiding hand of responsible adults. Dasani was hitting the age when girls prove their worth through fighting.Yet Dasani’s trials are not solely of her parents’ making.They would no longer get priority access to public housing and other programs, but would receive short-term help with rent.Dasani and her siblings can get hungry enough to lose their concentration in school, but they are forever wiping one another’s noses.Her mornings begin with Baby Lele, whom she changes, dresses and feeds, checking that the formula distributed by the shelter is not, once again, expired.Slipping out from her covers, the oldest girl sits at the window.It hinted at a different, upwardly mobile clientele, a set of newcomers who over the next decade would transform the borough.She heads east along Myrtle Avenue and, three blocks later, has crossed into another New York: the shaded, graceful abode of Fort Greene’s brownstones, which fetch millions of dollars. In the short span of Dasani’s life, her city has been reborn.In a city that has invested millions of dollars in new “green spaces,” Auburn’s is often overrun with weeds.She has a delicate, oval face and luminous brown eyes that watch everything, owl-like. Strangers often remark on her beauty — her high cheekbones and smooth skin — but the comments never seem to register.What people do not see is a homeless girl whose mother succumbed to crack more than once, whose father went to prison for selling drugs, and whose cousins and aunts have become the anonymous casualties of gang shootings, AIDS and domestic violence. When strangers are near, Dasani refers to Auburn as “that place.” It is separate from her, and distant.After tidying the dresser drawers she shares with a sister, Dasani rushes her younger siblings onto the school bus.“So that’s a lot on my plate — with some corn bread,” she says.With the economy growing in 2004, the Bloomberg administration adopted sweeping new policies intended to push the homeless to become more self-reliant.By the time Mayor Bloomberg took office in 2002, New York’s homeless population had reached 31,063 — a record for the city, which is legally obligated to provide shelter.“It makes me feel like there’s something going on out there,” says the 11-year-old girl, never one for patience.Her gaze always stops at that iconic temple of stone, its tip pointed celestially, its facade lit with promise.Families are now languishing there longer than ever — a development that Mr.The family’s need for a home was also growing desperate. child poverty case study It is an ironic fact of being poor in a rich city that the donated garments Dasani and her siblings wear lend them the veneer of affluence, at least from a distance.More than 200 miles of fresh bike lanes connect commuters to high-tech jobs, passing through upgraded parks and avant-garde projects like the High Line and Jane’s Carousel.asani is a short, wiry girl whose proud posture overwhelms her 4-foot-8 frame.Beneath it all is a child whose existence is defined by her siblings.The smaller children lie tangled beside her, their chests rising and falling under winter coats and wool blankets.This was the dawn of the period known as “modern homelessness,” driven by wage stagnation, Reagan-era cutbacks and the rising cost of homes.Sometimes it feels like too many bodies sharing the same air.She carves out small, sacred spaces: a portion of the floor at mealtime, an upturned crate by the window, a bathroom stall.She knows such yearnings will go unanswered, so better not to have them.In 1985, the city repurposed the former hospital into a shelter for families.Her family lives in the Auburn Family Residence, a decrepit city-run shelter for the homeless. Beyond its walls, she belongs to a vast and invisible tribe of more than 22,000 homeless children in New York, the highest number since the Great Depression, in the most unequal metropolis in America.To the left of the door, beneath a decrepit sink where Baby Lele is bathed, the wall has rotted through, leaving a long, dark gap where mice congregate.On the subway, Dasani can blend in with children who are better off.A few feet away, their mother and father sleep near the mop bucket they use as a toilet.She likes being first — the first to be born, the first to go to school, the first to make the honor roll. The bottled water had come to Brooklyn’s bodegas just before she was born, catching the fancy of her mother, who could not afford such indulgences.To eat, the children sit on the cracked linoleum floor, which never feels clean no matter how much they mop. The shelter’s one recreation room can hardly accommodate Auburn’s hundreds of children, leaving Dasani and her siblings to study, hunched over, on their mattresses.She was also on the cusp of becoming something more, something she could feel but not yet see, if only the right things happened and the right people came along.Bloomberg explained by saying shelters offered “a much more pleasurable experience than they ever had before.” Just three days before the mayor made that comment at a news conference in August 2012, an inspector at Auburn stopped by Dasani’s crowded room, noting that a mouse was “running around and going into the walls,” which had “many holes.” “Please assist,” the inspector added.But it remained to be seen whether Dasani’s new middle school, straining under budget cuts, could do enough to fill the voids of her life.Auburn has no certificate of occupancy, as required by law, and lacks an operational plan that meets state regulations. child poverty case study Yet rents were impossibly high in the city, and a quarter-million people were waiting for the rare vacancy in public housing. This was the year, then, that her parents made a promise: to save enough money to go somewhere else, maybe as far as the Pocono Mountains, in Pennsylvania. “It’s quiet and it’s a lot of grass.” In the absence of this long-awaited home, there was only school.And she was her mother’s daughter, a fearless fighter.The children spend hours at the playgrounds of the surrounding housing projects, where a subtle hierarchy is at work.Used purple Uggs and Patagonia fleeces cover thinning socks and fraying jeans.“That’s a lot on my plate.” Dasani guards her feelings closely, dispensing with anger through humor.They grow up with less education and lower earning power.This child of New York is always running before she walks.A sticky fly catcher dangles overhead, dotted with dead insects.This would be a pivotal year of her childhood — one already marked by more longing and loss than most adults ever see. There was the question of whether Dasani’s family would remain intact.Their traditional anchors — affordable housing and jobs that pay a living wage — have weakened as the city reorders itself around the whims of the wealthy.Cities across the nation have become flash points of polarization, as one population has bounced back from the recession while another continues to struggle.We run over 960 children's services working directly with over 240,000 children, young people and their families every year across the UK.They are also the result of decisions made a world away, in the marble confines of City Hall.Her required polo and khakis have been pressed with a hair straightener, since Auburn forbids irons. An air of possibility permeates the school, named after the first African-American woman to become a physician in New York State.Dasani’s circumstances are largely the outcome of parental dysfunction.Hand-washed clothes line the guards on the windows, which are shaded by gray wool blankets strung from the ceiling.One in five American children is now living in poverty, giving the United States the highest child poverty rate of any developed nation except for Romania. Decades of research have shown the staggering societal costs of children in poverty.As they begin to stir on this frigid January day, Dasani sets about her chores.Dasani does not need the proof of abstract research. Her future is further threatened by the fact of her homelessness, which has been shown, even in short spells, to bring disastrous consequences.Dasani’s own neighborhood, Fort Greene, is now one of gentrification’s gems. child poverty case study “There’s no space to breathe ’cause they breathe up all the oxygen,” Dasani says. child poverty case study




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