Although much has been done in recent years to help New York City’s poor and hungry, more work lies ahead if the problem is to be permanently solved, panelists said at discussion hosted by Fordham University’s Bertram M. Beck Institute for Religion and Poverty on March 7 at the Lincoln Center campus.
Speakers, which included politicians and activists, made note of an alarming statistic: one in three children in New York City live below the federal poverty line. One of the panelists, New York City council member Eric N. Gioia, said that the two barriers to helping the hungry—red tape and lack of knowledge—must be addressed in order to help those most in need. He cited the 24-page application for food stamps and New York’s requirement for fingerprinting recipients as examples of such barriers. “I’m worried because I’m seeing a city increasingly bifurcated between the fabulously wealthy and the very poor,” he said.
The ecumenical Beck Institute partners with New York City interfaith religious and lay leaders to alleviate poverty. The institute is based at Fordham’s Graduate School of Social Service, and promotes interdisciplinary collaboration across the University and among the broader community.