Impact of the Economic Recession in 2010 compared to 2009
The continuing high rate of unemployment and underemployment among the poor — particularly among urban African American and Hispanic people
Many of the constituencies served by the ministries were living in poverty before the recession; however these populations have been plunged into deeper poverty by the unemployment crisis. Minorities and lower skilled workers have been disproportionately impacted by high levels of employment. Though there has been some marginal improvement in employment in certain cities, many people served by Jesuit urban ministries find themselves in the same difficult economic situation in 2010 as in 2009. There is a perception among ministry leaders that for the last two years people have had to skimp and save even more or try and to find multiple part-time jobs to make ends meet. In 2010, many of inner-city poor now find themselves among the ranks of the long-term unemployed or underemployed.
- Study by the Economic Policy Institute shows that 1 out of 4 black or Hispanic workers is underemployed
- July 2010 analysis by EPI claims that jobless are still facing “intolerable odds” in finding employment
- Comprehensive unemployment data and statistics
- unemployment data by metro area, region, city or state
- a map of median length of unemployment by state
- visuals of poverty data by state, taken from the 2009 census
Housing instability and a rise in homelessness
The trend in the rise of homelessness, particularly among families, does not seem to have abated in 2010. Affordable rental properties are still scarce and foreclosures have not diminished. Gentrification is affecting some of the communities where our ministries serve adding to a continued decrease in affordable housing units.
Affordable Housing analysis:
- Annual “Out of Reach” report by the National Low-Income Housing Coaltion shows that those with the lowest income continue to the be group facing an absolute shortage of available housing
- A new report by the national community reinvestment coalition states that blacks and Hispanics have higher incidences of subprime loan rates
For data on family and child homelessness, visit:
- Number of Homeless Families Climbing Due to Recession, Analysis by CBPP
- State Report Card on Child and Family Homelessness, Report by NCFH (2009)
Youth Issues and Violence
Lack of jobs for youth, state-cut backs in youth programs and education, and family issues related to housing instability and long-term unemployment were cited as having serious negative consequences for children and youth in the communities where many of our ministries serve in 2009 and 2010.
- A 2004 Justice Department study links a rise in violence to economic downturn.
Perceived limited impact of government stimulus funding in communities
Many of the ministries have not seen a direct impact of government stimulus funding in their communities to offset effects of the recession. Some ministry leaders report an awareness of some city-wide projects funded through federal stimulus money and grants but few ministry leaders were aware of projects that are directly affecting the neighborhoods where the ministries operate or the people served by the ministries.
- The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has developed a special series, “Economic Recovery Watch” with analysis of the effects of the American Reinvestment Act and other emergency government economic policies http://www.cbpp.org/research/index.cfm?fa=topic&id=142
A rise in the perception of discrimination against Hispanics
Among those working with urban Hispanic populations, the ministry leaders claim that the people report that they feel a greater sense of discrimination than ever before — a demoralizing and frightening backlash directed at them which is prevalent in the media and society — and is evidenced by such measures as the 2010 Arizona immigration law.
- The Pew Research Center recently released a new report “Hispanics and the New Arizona Law” which shows that both Hispanics and non-Hispanic Americans believe Hispanics are the group most likely to be discriminated against in America
Deepening of personal and spiritual despair
There is concern among ministry leaders about a worsening of personal and spiritual despair as the recession drags on. This can be very dangerous as it inhibits peoples’ ability to help themselves out of the difficult situations they find themselves in. Spiritual and personal empowerment are essential elements of Jesuit ministry to the inner-city poor. Some ministry leaders report that they wish they could be freed from more administrative tasks to put emphasis on attending to people’s needs in this area.