Helping the Working Poor

Family_20moving_20into_20new_20apartment.jpgThe news lately – whether it's coverage of the political conventions, mass shootings or the Black Lives Matter movement – has become heavily focused on strife resulting from divisions in our society. Whether those divisions stem from race, religion, sexual orientation, economics or any number of other factors, listening to the news would make you think that our country is now collapsing under the weight of its own disjointed diversity. This is greatly distressing, especially because diversity has and continues to be a key factor that makes America great.

Volunteers of America prides itself in our diversity. Our work addresses a wide variety of needs, including homelessness, addiction, disability and incarceration. One group we have served throughout our history is those people considered to be the "working poor," who often struggle to support their families while overcoming limited education and multiple generations of poverty. The struggles of these low-earning working families have been central to the messaging of both political parties during the current election cycle.

These are people who often work two or three low-paying, part-time jobs that, even combined, don't provide enough income to cover everything their families need. Many live in suburban or rural areas where they might not have easy access to support services. Getting to and from work can be a challenge, as they don't have easy access to public transportation or must accommodate the added expense of maintaining a car. For those working poor people who live in cities, finding decent, affordable housing has increasingly become a struggle as real estate prices rise and the poor are pushed out of their lifelong neighborhoods by gentrification.

While much still needs to be done to ensure that all people in our society are treated equitably, we must remember that there are already good people hard at work to help those in need achieve their best lives. Whether it's a matter as complicated as access to health care, or as simple as providing supplies to children on the first day of school, Volunteers of America is hard at work making sure our nation's low-income families receive the help they need. To learn more about the diverse array of services provided by Volunteers of America, please visit

Thank you,


Mike King