Even in the midst of the economic progress, many households, surprisingly, are still wallowing in poverty. The problem of low-income communities has been around for centuries; however, with the strides that we are making economically, we should at least alleviate the problem. There are a number of solutions that have been suggested by policy makers and politicians, usually during their campaigns. In some regions, a number of projects are taking shape. Here are 17 creative ways to solve low-income areas:
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1. Raise the minimum wage
People who work minimum wage jobs are the usually the ones in Low-income areas. One way to improve their living standards is to increase the minimum wage and index it to inflation. Some states have enacted minimum wage policy to great effect.
2. Enact pay equity policy
A large number of low-income households have women as the sole breadwinners. However, statistically, women are paid 78 cents per $1 paid to male workers. Introducing equality in wages across all genders would alleviate poverty and help tackle the problems faced in low-income households.
3. Create jobs Most people who live in low-income areas have no jobs.
The government should enact policies that create more jobs. Such policies include: • Initiating infrastructure projects • Investing in the renewable energy sector • Creating a conducive environment for investors Jobs go a long way in solving the social and economic problems facing low-income areas.
4. Renovating abandoned housing projects
Low-income areas also grapple with the housing shortages. It’s ironic that in the current building boom, many households can’t find quality and affordable housing. The affordability aspect is a key contributor to the woes of low-income households. Very many such households are paying above one-third of their income on housing. At the same time, there are millions of high-end abandoned housing projects. These expensive and vacant apartments that can be made into quality affordable houses.
5. Increased Earned Income Tax Credit for people without children
While workers with children enjoy EITC, their childless colleagues barely receive the benefit. On average, childless workers receive 10% of the EITC given to their colleagues. Increasing the EITC given to childless workers can help bridge the gap and trickle down to the low-income households.
6. Improve work schedules
Poor people tend to work in jobs with work schedules that change unpredictably. It makes it hard for these people to take care of their families. Stabilizing work schedules is a step in the right direction.
7. Provide affordable early childhood education
Education, like health care for low-income households, is always a problem. There need to be policies that make it affordable and of good quality.
8. Create Policies that enable successful
Re-entry of incarcerated citizens When individuals, particularly breadwinners, are incarcerated, they find it hard to regain their footing in society. They are banned from certain welfare programs and can’t even secure a job as most employers use the “one strike and you’re out” policy. This leads to the hardship which leads to people resorting to crime and other misdemeanors to get by. We need to make it easier for people to reintegrate into society in order to solve systemic issues faced in low-income areas.
9. Provide universal healthcare access
Most people who live in low-income neighborhoods find it extremely difficult to access basic health care. Making health care more accessible is an important step in easing their lives and improving their standing.
10. Provide paid leave and sick days
Poor people work in jobs that don’t pay them when they are away on leave irrespective of the reason provided. Sick days are not paid for as well. There needs to be a change so that people can take leaves for family emergencies without having to sacrifice pay.
11. Implement youth and adult education programs
Basic literacy in low-income areas commonly lacks. The policymakers should fund more programs that provide education to the disadvantaged to enable them to bridge the gap with the middle class.
12. Implement child welfare
Spending cuts are killing child welfare programs. These children, especially those from unstable, low-income households need all the help they can get. Such programs have a domino effect on improving overall living standards in low-income areas.
13. Change building codes to make it easier to rehabilitate older buildings
This will enable more affordable housing projects to take off. Consequently, the living conditions of low-income households will be improved.
14. Enact Inclusionary Zoning policies
IZ policies will ensure that more affordable housing units are built to stem the problem of housing shortages.
15. Lease-to-purchase programs
Tenants earn bonus equity for paying rent. Over time, it accumulates and can be used as a down payment to buy a new home in the future. It enables low-income households to transition to home ownership.
16. Favorable Local policy
Local authorities need to prioritize the need to improve living conditions for the poor. Their policies go a long way in providing better education, health, and housing.
17. Favorable national policy
Spending cuts and other unfavorable national policies are not the way forward in order to solve half of the problems faced. We need the national policies to complement local policies for them to be more effective.
For example, the national government can make it a priority to improve the housing problem. Irrespective of how good a solution sounds, it requires political goodwill to take off. It is up to the policymakers to see to it that these solutions get implemented so that we can solve the crisis before it gets even worse.