Myth v. Fact: The Working Poor

When giving tours of our facilities and presentations about what we do at Coalition for the Homeless, we are frequently asked questions about the population we serve. One of the most shocking pieces of information we share with our visitors and audiences is that many of our clients are actually working, and yet are unable to earn wages that meet their basic needs. For many who have perceived the homeless as either lazy or lacking motivation to better their circumstances, this is an eye-opener into the reality of poverty in America.

The population we are discussing has been termed “the working poor,” meaning that despite how hard individuals and families may work, many still lack the income needed to afford housing, child care, health care, food, transportation, and taxes, let alone such “luxuries” as education and retirement. Even though many community members may sympathize with their plight, the working poor and their difficulties remain a mystery to much of America. That is precisely why we were delighted to discover the “Myths and Facts about Low-Income Working Families” document.

A report by The Working Poor Families Project titled “Still Working Hard, Still Falling Short” includes a variety of information on this population and is certainly worth looking into. For today, however, we want to share the popular myths and corresponding facts the study revealed. We hope this brief look at some of the misconceptions surrounding the working poor, and therefore many of the clients we serve, will open your eyes and hearts to the difficulties met by many of the neighbors in your community.

We would love to hear your opinion on what you read below, which has been taken directly from the report “Still Working Hard, Still Falling Short.” Be honest: what myths have you believed?

Working poor myths v. facts