for All Screening and Panel
On Feb. 20, Gene
Nichol participated in a post-screening discussion of the new documentary, Inequality for All. Inequality for All features Richard Reich, former Secretary of Labor in
the Clinton administration and Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the
University of California at Berkeley. Through an ingenious weaving of personal reminiscence and cogent economic
analysis, Reich makes a powerful case that widening income inequality is deeply
damaging but hardly inevitable.
joined in the discussion by Francois Nielsen (UNC Sociology) and Allan Freyer
(NC Justice Center and PhD student in Economic Development). This screening on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus,
one of a handful to take place in North Carolina, was sponsored by the Poverty
Center, UNC Graduate and Professional Student Federation, UNC Department of
Geography, UNC Roosevelt Institute, UNC Sociology Graduate Student Association,
and the Campus Y.
Salisbury Virtual Town Hall
Salisbury, NC found itself garnering national
attention about its skyrocketing poverty rate, the Rowan Concerned Citizens
hosted a “virtual town hall” to address poverty issues called the “Beyond
Poverty Mashup.” The goal of the Mashup
was to describe and address poverty in the Salisbury/Rowan community via an
interactive platform. Poverty Center
Research Fellow Joe Polich participated in the Mashup, providing statistical
analysis of Salisbury and Rowan County and collaborating with the event’s hosts
on potential avenues for action.
was hosted via google hangouts and video of the entire event is still available on YouTube.
Community Partner Snapshot
past several months, the Poverty Center has developed a partnership with the Community Empowerment Fund in downtown Chapel Hill and with Legal
Aid of North Carolina’s Pittsboro office. The goals of the partnership are to learn more about the legal needs of
homeless or near-homeless people in Chapel Hill and to provide them with
enhanced access to Legal Aid’s services. The partnership focuses primarily on examining whether a community
member could be helped by obtaining expunctions – a removal of a criminal
conviction or charge from their criminal record. Expunctions can be a key way to improve a
person’s ability to find employment.
expunctions are not an option, Poverty Center staff and CEF Advocates help
community members create resumes, write letters explaining the circumstances of
their criminal records, and do practice interviews.
about 15 CEF members and other community members have been paired with pro bono
attorneys through referral to legal aid. Many others have obtained employment after working with Poverty Center
Staff and CEF Advocates.
the Poverty Center hopes to involve summer research assistants and interns in
Analysis and Commentary
Charlotte Task Force on Poverty and
In January, the
Mecklenburg County Commission Chairman Trevor Fuller announced the creation of
a Chairman’s Task
Force on Poverty and Economic Mobility. Chairman Fuller was moved to action by a Poverty
Center study that documented rising poverty rates in Charlotte. The study, researched and written by law
student Alison Templeton, showed a disturbing increase in the number of “distressed”
census tracts in Mecklenburg County, as well as a significant rise in the
poverty rates within those tracts.
N&O Poverty Series Wraps Up
year-long series in the News & Observer on poverty in North Carolina, Seeing the Invisible, came to a close in December.
Final article: "From silence to
savagery, pain for the poor intensifies"
News & Observer, Dec. 28, 2013
We face many
challenges in North Carolina, but none approaches the scourge of wrenching
poverty amid plenty. In one of the most vibrant and accomplished states, in the
richest nation on earth, over 18 percent of us, some 1.7 million, are
officially poor. And the standard is a daunting one. A family of four living in
Charlotte, for example, on an annual income of $24,000 is not classified as impoverished –
though one guesses that’s little consolation as they scratch to survive.
still. Over 1 in 4 of our children is poor – 41 percent of our children of
color. Think on that. Over 4 in 10 of our babies, our middle-schoolers, our
teenagers of color are constrained by the intense challenges of poverty. And if
you are born poor here rather than in another state, you’re more apt to stay
Read the full article.
All of Nichol’s monthly columns from this series are
available on the Poverty Center website. The series has inspired similar projects in other states, prompted local and regional media analysis and provoked much reader commentary and discussion.
Foreclosure Project is wrapping up its first round of reports looking at
neighborhood level foreclosure in Durham. By reviewing files kept at the Durham County Clerk of Courts’ office, we
collected data on individual residential foreclosure starts from Jan. and Feb.
2011. (Foreclosure starts occur when the
lender initiates foreclosure proceedings on borrowers that have fallen behind
in their monthly mortgage payments.)
This data was
used to identify which census tracts saw an unusual amount of foreclosure activity—information
that was then linked to Census Bureau data on income, racial composition,
homeownership rates, housing value and other indicators. Additionally, we note which financial
institutions were the most active lenders during this time, how many loans show
signs of being subprime, and the economic impact of foreclosure on neighboring
As the next
stage of this project, we will complete a second round of data collection for
Durham using 2012 foreclosure starts to see how trends may have changed in the
Student Research at the Center
Henderson, our spring extern! Tim is a
3L from Asheville, NC. Prior to law school, he attended undergrad at the
University of Virginia. When he isn't externing at the Poverty Center, he
enjoys hanging out in Carrboro with his dog.
PC: Describe what you’re working on for the
Tim: I'm working on a project researching North Carolina’s decision to reject a
generous pile of free federal money via the ACA’s Medicaid expansion. A
lot of that revolves around teaching myself the complex background
behind how Medicaid works, analyzing the adverse impacts on the state of not
expanding, and trying to find ways to tell that story and help the Poverty
Center raise awareness of this important issue.
PC: Why did you choose to do your externship at the Poverty Center?
Tim: One of the reasons I first decided to come to UNC Law was because I was
impressed with the school's mission of serving the people of the state. The Poverty Center is an institution that has been doing that for a
while. I also enjoyed [Poverty Center
director] Professor Nichol's Con Law class as a 1L and to help him out is a
PC: What have you liked/not liked about externing?
I do enjoy having the chance to independently dig down deep on a policy issue
that some would say is a little dry--and it is--but is also fascinating
and really important in the lives of everyday North Carolinians. I've
always been proud of my home state as being the most reasonable drunk at
the bar vis-a-vis our regional neighbors, and by working at the Poverty
Center I can do a small part in getting our good name back.
said, I don't enjoy the coffee machine. It never fills the cup enough.
Follow the Center!
The Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity wants to connect with you! To stay up to date on Center events, research, programming, and news, follow us on: