By Kathryn J. Edin, H. Luke Shaefer
Jessica Compton’s relatives of 4 could don't have any money source of revenue except she donated plasma two times every week at her neighborhood donation heart in Tennessee. Modonna Harris and her teenage daughter Brianna in Chicago frequently don't have any nutrition yet spoiled milk on weekends.
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Additional resources for $2.00 A Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America
In the late 1990s, as welfare reform was gradually implemented across the states, its impact in reducing $2-a-day poverty began to decline precipitously. By mid-2011, TANF was lifting only about 300,000 households with children above the $2-a-day mark. One reason families in $2-a-day poverty—whose incomes are far beneath the threshold TANF requires—often fail to claim benefits is because it just doesn’t occur to them to do so. Many, like Modonna, believe that getting cash from the government is no longer a viable option, no matter how desperate the need.
Before she became pregnant with Lauren, Susan earned her GED and spent more than a year in community college, completing the remedial courses that would allow her to finally begin earning credits toward a certification in early childhood education. Yet she can’t afford to return to college right now. Somebody has to find work. Devin speaks with more confidence than Susan. He believes that any day now, things are bound to turn around. On his way to apply for a position at the Save-A-Lot grocery store nearby, his blue jeans are clean and crisp, his short-sleeved button-down shirt pressed.
But love intervened. Brianna arrived about a year into Modonna’s marriage to Brian, who had swept Modonna off her feet with his drive to make it in the music production business. He had a dream, and he seemed to be doing the work to make it happen. Yet after a few years, it became painfully clear that he was a pathological liar with an addiction to hard-core porn. He would hide his dirty magazines under the rug and deny they were his. “They must have been here when we moved in,” he’d claim. One time, the family was evicted because Brian just stopped paying the rent and didn’t tell Modonna until it was too late.