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Poverty Richard Koubek

Global Food Network

Dear Friend,

In the fall of 2011, the U.S. Census Bureau released startling data which showed a dramatic increase in the number of Americans – especially suburbanites - who live in poverty. Among the Census Bureau's most disturbing finding was the fact that 51 million Americans are considered "near poor," earning between $23,050 and $35,000 a year.  Despite the fact that Long Island is among the wealthiest suburbs in the United States, we have a tens of thousands of "near poor" people who struggle each day to make ends meet in our high-cost region. They are typically working people who:

·         live in almost every Long Island community;

·         must choose each month between feeding their children and paying basic bills such as rent, utilities, gasoline;

·         therefore make up the 280,000 Long Islanders who seek help at food pantries each year;

·         often have no health insurance;

·         lack public transportation;

·         account for the surge in Food Stamp and other service requests at the Nassau and Suffolk Departments of Social Services over the past two years;

·         are among the so-called "new poor" - people who lost their jobs or homes during the Great Recession and have slipped into poverty;

·         Are often denied basic support services like subsidized child care because they earn more than the official Federal Poverty Level of $23,050 for a family of four.

·         are among the rise in homeless people featured last Friday in Newsday.

On behalf of these struggling neighbors, the Welfare to Work Commission of the Suffolk County Legislature, invites you to one of three public hearings, Struggling In Suburbia: Meeting the Challenges of Poverty in Suffolk County. The hearing will be held at the Hauppauge legislative auditorium, Friday, May 18, 9:00 AM-1:00 PM and again on Tuesday, May 22, 3:00-7:00 PM and in the Riverhead legislative auditorium on Friday, June 1, 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM. Directions to the hearings can be found on the flyer below.

 We especially urge you to attend and to bring clients if you work in a food pantry or outreach center or any agency that serves struggling Long Islanders. Please circulate the flyer below in your outreach center, food pantry or agency. To testify, just fill out a yellow card that will be available when you arrive.  You will have five minutes to speak.

The first hearing on May 18 will feature Trudi Renwick of the U.S. Census Department whose report in the fall of 2011 triggered the hearings.  Ms. Renwick will be followed by a reaction panel of these Long Island experts:

- Gwen O'Shea, President and CEO of the Health and Welfare Council of LI
- Dr. Pearl Kamer, Chief Economist, The Long Island Association
- Dr. Sarah Eichberg, Director of Adelphi University's Vital Signs Project.

After the panel, government exerts, agency heads and other experts will testify, followed by public comment.

The hearings will lead to a report to the Suffolk County Legislature that will cover these questions:

1.     Who are the poor, near poor and new poor people living on Long Island and especially in Suffolk County? And why are they poor?

2.     How effective is the federal poverty level (FPL) in measuring poverty on Long Island?  Are there viable alternative measures? 

3.     What are the life experiences of people struggling to make ends meet? What difficulties do they face obtaining supportive services?

4.     What public polices can be introduced, expanded or preserved at the federal, New York State or Suffolk County levels of government to assist these struggling individuals and families? 

On behalf of the Commission, I thank you for your attention and I do hope that you and any clients you might serve can attend and testify at the hearings.

Yours truly,

Richard Koubek, PhD, Chair

Welfare to Work Commission of the Suffolk County Legislature



The Welfare to Work Commission of the Suffolk County Legislature
                                            Asks You:

Are you having trouble making ends meet on Long Island?

o   Can’t afford quality child care?

o   Can’t pay the rent?

o   Have no health insurance?

o   Have to choose between paying for food or gas?




Struggling in Suburbia

                        *Friday, May 18 (9:00 AM – 1:00 PM)

                            Hauppauge Legislative  Auditorium


                            *Tuesday, May 22 (3:00-7:00 PM)

                            Hauppauge Legislative Auditorium


                            *Friday, June 1 (9:00 AM-1:00 PM)

                            Riverhead Legislative Auditorium

Directions to the Hauppauge Legislative Auditorium:

From the west: Take Northern State Parkway to the end where it merges with Veteran's Memorial Highway. At the second light, make a left on to Old Willets Path. Make an immediate right into the County Complex. The William Rogers Legislative Building is the second building on the right.

From the east: Take the LIE west to Veteran's Memorial Highway, or take Rte 347 west. Both roads will merge in Hauppauge. About 1 mile ahead after the merge, make a right at Old Willets Path and an immediate right into the County Complex. The William Rogers Legislative Building is the second building on the right.

Directions to the Riverhead Legislative Auditorium From the south shore: Take Sunrise Highway to Exit 61 east (County Road 51 North.) Make a left at the fork (Center Drive). Look for an American flag/"County Center" and "NYCE" sign. The legislative auditorium is in the Evans K. Griffing Building.

From the Long Island Expressway: LIE east to Exit 71 (sign says "Montauk-Riverhead-County Center) Make a right turn on to S24/E94 and go 4 miles. You will pass the Sheriff's Office and SC Correctional Facility. At Center Drive, make a right (the sign says "Suffolk County Offices"). The legislative auditorium is in the Evans K. Griffing Building.


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 "War destroys. And we must cry out for peace.
Peace sometimes gives the idea of stillness, but it is never stillness.
It is always an active peace.
I think that everyone must be committed in the matter of peace,
to do everything that they can,
what I can do from here.
Peace is the language we must speak."
Pope Francis



                                            ~Pope FRANCIS