New Media Campaign Focuses on Solutions to Poverty
CCHD leads effort to raise awareness of community-based programs that work to break the cycle of poverty.
WASHINGTON (January 4, 2006)– The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) this month launched a new national awareness campaign that calls attention to the 37 million Americans now living in poverty, according to the most recent U.S. Census figures. At the same time, it focuses greater attention on the poor and low-income people who are doing something about breaking the cycle of poverty.
Timed to coincide with the beginning of Poverty in America Awareness Month, the new CCHD-sponsored campaign uses television, radio and print ads to attract attention to the 37 million Americans who now live in poverty and the millions more who are struggling to survive with low-income jobs. The poverty rate rose from 12.5 percent in 2003 to 12.7 percent in 2004, representing an increase of 1.1 million more poor people. This is the fourth year in a row that the poverty rate in America has risen.
According to a report released by the U.S. Census Bureau in August 2005, the number of families in poverty increased from 10 percent and 7.6 million in 2003 to 10.2 percent and 7.8 million in 2003.
As defined by the government and updated for inflation using the Consumer Price Index, the average poverty threshold for a family of four in 2004 was $19, 307; for a family of three, $15,067; and for a family of two, $12,334. Other studies have shown that Americans believe the current poverty threshold figure is unrealistic. A recent study conducted by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development shows that most Americans believe it takes closer to $35,000 annually to adequately house, clothe and feed a family of four.
For all children under 18, the poverty rate increased from 17.6 percent in 2003 to 17.8 percent in 2004. The new number of children in poverty is 13 million.
According to Timothy Collins, Executive Director of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, "Not only does CCHD work to raise awareness of the alarming incidence of poverty in the United States; it spreads the 'good news' as well. The success stories in this year's public service ads are all the result of the community-based, self-help projects that are funded by CCHD."
This year's ad campaign offers a message of hope by showing children in Los Angeles who once walked in fear after school and now arrive safely home as they are protected from street violence by a dedicated group of volunteers. It also visits Wisconsin where a group of family dairy farmers joined together to start their own cooperative in order to pool production and get a better price for their milk. And, finally, the new campaign features young people in New Orleans who are learning from experts in the food service industry the skills they need to find better jobs and build a better future.
Since its inception, the Campaign has provided seed money to train leaders in the community for projects that are initiated and led by low-income people themselves. Over the years, CCHD has offered a total of $280 million to more than 4,000 such projects. During this current year, the Campaign is supporting 315 local projects in 47 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
Established in 1970 by the U.S. Catholic Bishops, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development is one of the largest private funders of self-help programs initiated and led by poor people in the United States. Committed to the permanent elimination of poverty and injustice in the U.S., CCHD has supported more than 4,000 programs nationwide that know no racial or religious boundaries - projects that help create jobs, improve neighborhoods and allow people to find a way out of poverty not just for a day, but a lifetime.
Editors: For further information, contact Barbara Stephenson at CCHD, 202-541-3364 or firstname.lastname@example.org