In your editorial "Suburbanization of poverty impacts Baltimore region" in the May 29 issue of the Towson Times, you observe, "Federal funding for poverty relief remains stuck in 20th-century perceptions about the poor … That means it is up to local agencies, and those who support them financially, to fill the gap."
The work of local agencies and individuals is laudable, and certainly should be encouraged. Yet we should not let the federal government and our elected officials off so easily — after all, they work for us. If we believe that more should be done for those in our community who need a boost, then we should insist that federal, state and local government policies should change.
A full-time worker with one child has an income below the federal poverty line, cannot afford housing in Baltimore County without a subsidy, and experiences hunger monthly. People who are completely and totally disabled are eligible for $8,520 per year, just more than half of the federal poverty line. This income condemns many of our neighbors to homelessness.
Until employment pays a living wage, disability assistance is sufficient for a dignified life and an adequate supply of affordable housing is available, we must supplement the work of religious groups and nonprofits with sensible and compassionate public policies — and hold our elected officials at all levels responsible to develop and implement these policies. It is our money; let's use it wisely.