Poverty in Wheaton on PBS NewsHour

In order to illustrate the rising number of people in poverty, PBS NewsHour went to Wheaton, Illinois.

PBS NewsHour: Suburb in Wealthy Illinois County Sees Unexpected Rise in Poverty

Some interesting material here including a look at local food banks, how middle-class people can end up in poverty, and how federal resources go more to urban areas than suburban areas. With the increase in the poor population in the suburbs and the knowledge that many suburbs are unprepared to handle this, this could change the image of and experience in the American suburbs for years to come.

While this is clearly a national issue, there hasn’t been much public discussion of this in Wheaton. Instead, I have heard more about high taxes, the government taking and wasting too much money, and the need to balance municipal budgets. I wonder how the City of Wheaton and others in the community would answer these questions:

1. Are there local resources to deal with this? Either way, should there be?

2. Is it a problem that suburban communities should help solve (with money, time, services, etc.) or is it someone else’s concern (the state, the federal government, private agencies, churches, etc.)?

3. Is this a problem for Wheaton’s image?

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