More than 10 percent of Americans live in poverty, says a report issued by the U.S. Census Bureau Aug. 26, and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development has set out to do something about it.
The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), a program of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, is one of the largest private funders of self-help programs for poor and low-income people in the U.S.
It offers funding to community-based, self-help projects that are initiated and led by poor and low-income people.
But last month, it also launched a national public awareness program to educate Americans about the facts related to poverty in the U.S., and solutions that work.
“The new census numbers are a wake-up call to all Americans, poor and non-poor alike, to work together, with typical American spirit and creativity, in order to develop more effective policies that can eradicate the root causes of poverty in the wealthiest of nations,” said Fr. Robert J. Vitillo, executive director of CCHD.
The nation’s official poverty rate rose from 12.1 percent in 2002 to 12.5 percent in 2003, representing an increase of 1.3 million people. That brings the total of Americans living in poverty to 35.9 million. The new figures represent the third straight year of increase in the ranks of the nation’s poor.
“If all those living in poverty in the United States were to populate a single state, it would be our largest—bigger than California,” he pointed out. “As a nation, there is an urgent need to focus our attention on Poverty USA, America’s forgotten state.”
For more information, go to: www.povertyusa.org