​The High Cost of Being Poor

Struggling with poverty is hard enough on its own, but many of America’s poor now face an array of costs that wealthier citizens often don’t incur.

Take the rise of for-profit probation companies, which more than 1,000 courts across the U.S. use. The companies engage in an “offender-funded” model of privatized probation, meaning that poor Americans who can’t afford to pay a traffic ticket up-front are charged additional fees, sometimes doubling the cost of the original fine, in order to pay off the fine over a longer period of time.

What Urban Hunger Looks Like Now

On East 11th Street between Avenues B and C in New York City’s East Village, the line for the Father’s Heart food pantry wraps around the block. On cold winter days, people bundle up in puffer coats to hold their place; they might be outside, standing still, for as long as three hours.

The surrounding neighborhood is hip, and expensive. Locals walk their dogs through Tompkins Square Park, sipping delicately crafted cappuccinos. Commuters hop on Citi Bikes and spin off to their jobs. Joggers pass by in designer gear. If they notice the line, they don’t acknowledge it.

City Council Approves Zoning Changes Key to de Blasio’s Affordable Housing Plan

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio scored a big win for his affordable housing plan on Tuesday when the City Council approved controversial zoning changes.

But that was after protesters disrupted a roll call vote on two measures – Mandatory Inclusionary Housing and Zoning for Quality and Affordability.

“People have the right to their opinion, but we must do business in this chamber,” said Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, calling for security. “I’ll ask that we clear the gallery, thank you very much.”

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