The rich and the poor meet together; the Lord is the maker of them all. Proverbs 22:2
What does rural poverty look like?
In our small-town rural context, we do not tend to see people holding a cardboard sign on the street corner. We do not tend to have people stealing food from dumpsters. The issues with hunger does not tend to be about starvation. Our issues with hunger tends to be about food insecurity. Food insecurity is defined as “unable to consistently access or afford adequate food.” Many people living in poverty are faced with a decision between paying for food and paying for other essentials of life including housing, clothing, or medical care. The cycle of food insecurity, housing instability, and chronic disease begins when an individual or family cannot afford nutritious food. Health worsens. Time and money are needed to respond to health conditions leaving little money for housing and adequate nutrition. This causes the cycle to continue worsening existing conditions and making improvement extremely difficult.
Some of the stereotypes of homelessness include people living under bridges, in cardboard boxes, on the streets, or sleeping on park benches. While these images of homelessness are a reality in many places, in our small-town rural context, homelessness tends to be in the form of housing instability. Housing instability refers to those who have shelter but are unable to sustain their housing situation. Housing instability tends to be people sleeping on a relative’s couch or basement. Although housing costs are generally lower in small-town rural communities, higher poverty rates and lower incomes create serious challenges concerning affordable housing. Housing for low-income families in rural areas tends to be too expensive, poor quality, unavailable, or inaccessible. While it is generally recommended that families should not spend more than 30% of their income on housing, the Housing Assistance Council reports that nearly half of rural renters are paying more than 50% of their income on housing. This financial strain on an individual or family often makes securing and maintaining affordable housing incredibly difficult.Add Pingback