Blog Action Day: The dark tunnel of poverty

Financial challenges negatively impact every aspect of a person’s life. Financial stress stifles careers, ruins relationships, and erodes emotional and physical health. Unfortunately, our counselors have become used to hearing words such as disaster, hopeless, and frustrated; they empathize with each and every client’s situation. In addition to outlining a plan of action, our counselors offer our clients hope—they turn on the light at the end of the tunnel.

But what if there was no light? For many people living below the poverty line, the tunnel remains dark. As part of Blog Action Day, I would like to join the PF Bloggers who are illuminating the issue of poverty by publishing some excerpts of an open letter written by the Tracey Stewart, President of the Board of Directors for The Delores Project. The Delores Project is an overnight shelter providing services to homeless women in Denver.

“Relative poverty exists whenever people do not have enough income to provide what most of us would consider a minimum standard of living. Poverty also means missing out on the social aspects of your community, as well as opportunities to develop your skills and talents. For an adult, maintaining social contacts is essential to good emotional and mental health. For women, the isolation that accompanies poverty is the intersection of cultural, material and institutional processes that can exclude them from everyday life (Reid, Ponic, 2004). Over time, the effects of chronic poverty tend to snowball. Increased debt and the loss of social networks can lead to another drastic outcome—homelessness.”

Ms. Stewart’s letter reminds me of another thing that our counselors generously offer our clients: perspective. As we enter the seasons of thanks and giving, remember that “a just society is not achieved when individuals pursue what is best for themselves, but when the community works together for the common good.”

Kim McGrigg is the former Manager of Community and Media Relations for MMI.

  • MMI is proud to have achieved an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), a nonprofit organization focused on promoting and improving marketplace trust. The BBB investigates charges of fraud against both consumers and businesses, sets standards for truthfulness in advertising, and evaluates the trustworthiness of businesses and charities, providing a score from A+ (highest) to F (lowest).
  • MMI is rated as “Excellent” (4.8/5) by reviewers on Trustpilot, a global, online consumer review platform dedicated to openness and transparency. Since 2007, Trustpilot has received over 116 million customer reviews for nearly 500,000 different websites and businesses. See what others are saying about the work we do.
  • MMI is a member of the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.
  • MMI is certified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide consumer housing counseling. The mission of HUD is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD provides support services directly and through approved, local agencies like MMI.
  • MMI is proudly accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA), an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. COA’s thorough, peer-reviewed accreditation process is designed to ensure that organizations like MMI are providing the highest standard of service and support for clients and employees alike.
  • MMI is a longstanding member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), the nation’s largest nonprofit financial counseling organization. Founded in 1951, the NFCC’s mission is to promote financially responsible behavior and help member organizations like MMI deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.