About YWCAs Illinois
2008 Public Policy Agenda
Poverty in Illinois
YWCAs Illinois Advocacy Updates
|Angela is 29, divorced, and the mother of 3 small children. She is a teacher with a bachelor’s degree and makes about $24,000 annually between her full-time teaching position and child support. She lives in Illinois along the Mississippi River in Quincy.
about barriers to getting out of poverty, angela says:
“In order to access further training for my career it is very expensive. College tuitions have drastically increased, which leads me to the next barrier, child care. It is difficult to find affordable child care, not only while I work but also while I attend school. Housing costs have also increased. To find a decent place to live in a safe neighborhood with sufficient room is very expensive, so my family often settles for what we can afford rather than what meets our needs. Food prices have also increased which makes it more difficult to feed my family. When I do try to get help they act as though I am trying to scam the system because of my job and education, when if fact I am just trying to survive like everyone else.”
about getting by, angela says:
“My family of 4 is allowed a maximum income of $2,238 per month in order to qualify for food and medical assistance. I no longer qualify for food, so now, I have to use more money that before I used to pay on debts to get us out of this poverty hole. I feel like I am penalized because I am trying to do the right things for my family. By the time a person pays for housing, utilities, food, vehicle, insurance, and day care you still don’t even have enough to clothe, buy medicine, or afford gas to transport your family… If families can hardly afford getting by day by day, how are they supposed to deal with the extra expenses that occur with furthering education, leaving them further in debt?”
Darlene is 42, single, and the mother of 4 minor children. She works as a full-time housekeeper, has a high-school diploma, and makes about $16,000 annually through her job. Also, she has completed a job-training program and receives food stamps and Medicaid. As a resident of a permanent supportive housing program in Central Illinois, she lives in Peoria.
about barriers to getting out of poverty, darlene says:
“I want to find a better paying job. If I do find a better paying job, getting someone to watch my children is a barrier. (ie: working nights, longer hours, etc) I need to get back to school, but who is there to take care of my kids? Also, I still need to work to cover bills, so trying to find time and money to go back to school would be huge.”
about healthcare, darlene says:
“I have Medicaid, but no dental coverage. I had to get a tooth pulled and had to wait. I could not get the drugs I needed to treat my tooth pain in the first place while I waited.”
about things that need to change, darlene says:
“Make opportunities for people to get their education and go back to school. Provide child care for nights and weekends. Make jobs pay more. Legislation needs to be passed to improve rights for the lower socioeconomic classes, giving more to Medicaid, education, and employment.”
Kinyana is 24, single, and the mother of 3 small children. To balance her childcare expenses with her income, she works part-time. She is a high school graduate, and makes about $12,000 in salary, receives Medicaid, and gets $270 in food stamps each month to feed her family of 4. She lives in a 2-year transitional housing program in Cook County.
about barriers to getting out of poverty, kinyana says:
“The job I have doesn’t pay enough to cover my bills. It’s far away, the bus is not reliable, and my babysitter is always calling off. I want another job because I see myself doing something better and I want a career, but I can’t find the time to go to school and get the proper education.
about the future of her family, kinyana says:
I want to go to school to get a better education, but I can only do what I can: stay focused and encouraged. I want to upgrade, progress, and do a better job of supporting my 3 children.