Poverty Tour

This six-hour tour is normally conducted from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM.  It addresses social, economic, and cultural issues of Houston and by extension the United States. It begins by spending the first 1.5 hours in a middle class community and the upper class River Oaks to establish what is not poverty so that one can compare and contrast it with the later neighborhoods that we enter. We will see many different faces of poverty.

We ask that participants research and define the following terms before the tour begins. One should not rely on their perception of what words mean. We will discuss these terms on the tour. This will give everyone a better foundation for understanding and reflecting on the purpose of the tour:

  1. Poverty - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poverty
  2. Poverty Guidelines - http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/13poverty.cfm
  3. Poverty Rate in the US for 2013 - https://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/about/overview/
  4. War on Poverty - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_on_Poverty
  5. Unemployment & Rate - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unemployment#Labor_force_participation_rate
  6. Home - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home
  7. Homelessness - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homelessness
  8. Minimum Wage - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minimum_wage
  9. History of Federal Minimum Wage Rates - http://www.dol.gov/whd/minwage/chart.htm
  10. Minimum Wage Mythbusters - http://www.dol.gov/minwage/mythbuster.htm
  11. Ghetto - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghetto
  12. Slum - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slum
  13. Crime
  14. Security
  15. Abraham Maslow’s 5 Hierarchy of Needs - http://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html
  16. Misery Index - http://www.miseryindex.us/
  17. Needs versus wants - http://pbskids.org/itsmylife/money/managing/article2.html
  18. Cycle of poverty - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cycle_of_poverty
  19. Inequality of Opportunity Begins at Birth - http://theincidentaleconomist.com/wordpress/inequality-of-opportunity-begins-at-birth/

We will look at the causes and potential solutions or remedies to reduce or eliminate poverty on an individual, community, and governmental basis. We will consider the philosophy that some people want poverty to persist for others as it benefits the upper and middle class. Lastly, we address the issues that some people in and out of poverty deny that it exists, especially for themselves as well as those who are content and satisfied living in it.

Poverty exists for a variety of reasons; it is not an accident. If one either denies that poverty exists, that he/she lives in poverty, or that it is a problem, no reason exists to reduce or eliminate it.

If one sees poverty as a persistent generational problem, one might not like the answers to eliminate it.

Lunch will be at a restaurant or café in one of the impoverished neighborhoods. Be prepared to go into settings that may be unsettling and where one might never go again.

Bring a clipboard, calculator, and paper to take notes of what one will see from one site to the next as well as to participate in activities such as developing a realistic minimum wage.

Click this link to download a handy chart that you can print and use for taking notes on the different neighborhoods.