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poverty

Segment 1: Missouri looks to start opening medical marijuana dispensaries in June.

Missouri's Department of Health and Senior Services has issued licenses for 192 medical marijuana dispensaries since a voter approved initiative for medical cannabis passed in 2018. Once patients are able to start purchasing, and in some cases growing, the product, the state could look to issue more dispensary licenses based on supply and demand.

Segment 1: Decades after desegregation, there remain students in the Kansas City area who are still not receiving a quality education. 

Education professor John Rury detailed the inequalities as they exist in urban and suburban school districts. As the Kansas City area expanded in the 1950s, wealth moved to the suburbs. The levels of poverty in many urban, black neighborhoods have remained in the 30-40 percentile. "This brings a whole host of issues that makes it very difficult for schools to function," Rury said. 

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Black residents of Kansas City are still "separate and unequal," according to the latest report from the Urban League of Greater Kansas City.

The 2019 State of Black Kansas City, from the Urban League in collaboration with local law, policy, health and education experts, measures the racial gap in areas such as economics, criminal justice and education. Based on statistical analyses of factors such as the median net worth for black versus white households and the rate of homeownership, the report found the equality index for black Kansas Citians is only 73% of their white counterparts.

Segment 1: Kansas City, Missouri Municipal Court is working to improve the judicial experience.

Kansas City's Municipal Court is participating in a pilot project to improve trust between courts and the communities they serve. Through dialogue sessions, it hopes to tackle problems like its high failure-to-appear rate. Because citizens often face confusion and intimidation within the judicial system, personnel "want to demystify the courts," Benita Jones, the court's public information officer  said. 

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

COFFEYVILLE, KANSAS — Preschool was a logistical boon for Delice Downing and an educational bonanza for her son, Adrian.

The head volleyball coach and director of student life at Coffeyville Community College had ruled out day care when she heard the price: several hundred dollars a week.

Then Adrian reached preschool age. Coffeyville offers something most Kansas communities don’t: free attendance at a preschool with room for nearly all kids in town whose parents want it.

Segment 1: Why the cost of bras that fit is an issue for teens.

Talking to grownups about wearing a bra is hard for pre-teens and teens in any income bracket, but getting bras that fit is that much harder when the social barrier is compounded by a financial one. How a lack of access to bras affects girls in school, and what one local activist is doing about it.

Segment 1: Researchers explain the data of who is receiving an abortion and why.

A study by Guttmacher Institute analyzed data from their 2008 and 2014 surveys on abortion and found an increase in the proportion of low-income women who received abortions. The University of California San Francisco conducted its own study following women who were able to receive an abortion, and contrasted the unintended effects of pregnancy with those women who were denied an abortion.

Segment 1: Expert in climate impact says ending poverty and hunger should be part of our strategy to protect the planet.

The lead author on several assessments for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change  described the social causes and consequences of climate change on the fate of the disadvantaged and disempowered.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Segment 1: Councilman Quinton Lucas wants to convert four years on the City Council into a term as mayor.

Councilman Quinton Lucas says he discovered an interest in public service at an early age and has since dedicated himself to being a part of the solution to social issues. Today, he shared why he believes this is an important time to help families living in poverty in Kansas City, and why he wants to be the key voice in this conversation.

Segment 1: Kansas governor and lawmakers don't see eye to eye.

Political reporters described a hostile environment  between Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly and the Republican-led legislature. They explained what each side is looking for on the issues of Medicaid expansion, school funding, protecting vulenerable children and the food tax.

Seg. 1: Food Safety & Feeding The Homeless. Seg. 2: They Call Me Sauce

Nov 15, 2018

Segment 1: Food safety and feeding the homelessness in Kansas City.

The Kansas City Health Department recently intercepted food intended for the homeless out of concern for food safety, then used bleach to ensure it would not be consumed. The story has gone viral, generating a heated discussion in the metro and beyond. On this episode, we address the underlying tensions about how to help, and the needs in our community still going unmet -- with upwards of 4,000 people enduring homelessness.

KCMO Homeless Period Project

Menstruating isn't just having a monthly period. It's also having a monthly bill, because buying proper hygiene products such as pads and tampons can be costly.

"It may cost $7 for 22 pads. That's pretty expensive," says Jessica McClellan, founder and president of a Kansas City non-profit called Giving Hope and Help, which provides funds and resources, including menstrual hygiene products, for domestic violence shelters.

Segment 1: Paying for period products can be difficult.

For some people, there’s a financial choice to be made when it comes to buying food, paying the bills, or purchasing pads and tampons. Some have to miss school or work because they don’t have the proper supplies. We talk about menstrual equity in the nation and in Kansas City, and what locals are doing to ensure that people have the supplies they need.

Segment 1: Growing up poor in the Heartland.

Local journalist and author Sarah Smarsh has been getting a lot of national attention for her new book, Heartland. On this episode, we chat with Smarsh about the forces that shaped her Kansas childhood.

Crysta Henthorne / Kansas News Service

Sounds like …

Parents of dyslexic children have long pitched for a dramatic change to reading instruction and the extra teaching help needed to accommodate brains wired a little differently.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen weighs in this week with a story about how they’re on the verge of a breakthrough in Kansas that could bring more phonics-grounded reading instruction for all kids.

Man in dirty jeans, a t-shirt and ball cap walking along a concrete median holding a cardboard sign out to cars along the road.
Hanlly Sam / The Accent / Flickr - CC

Segment 1: A proposed ordinance would limit the amount of time pedestrians could spend in crosswalks and traffic islands.

File photo / KCUR 89.3

A proposed pedestrian safety ordinance would have implications for individuals panhandling at Kansas City intersections. 

Councilperson Teresa Loar introduced the measure Thursday. It outlines new rules to increase pedestrian safety at intersections and crosswalks, reducing the amount of time permitted to cross, and limiting the roadside space permitted for walking.

Segment 1: 10 years have passed since the Recession. How are people doing now?

In the depths of the Great Recession, KCUR did a series of interviews about how the economic downturn was affecting people's lives. On this episode, we look back to find out how a couple of interviewees are faring now.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

The wait for immunizations at the Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department most afternoons this summer has been two, sometimes three hours – and it’s likely to get worse as the first day of school nears.

“Morning times are probably the easiest to get in,” says Bill Snook, a spokesman for the health department. “Later times, you should expect a long wait.”

Jessica Smith seated in front of a microphone in the KCUR studio.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: How local activists are reducing student homelessness on the Kansas side of the metro.

Over the last several years a coalition of social services groups in Kansas City, Kansas, operating under the banner Impact Wednesday, have been working to cut in half the number of homeless students in the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools. Today, we heard how the district is collaborating with Impact Wednesday and volunteer teachers to reach zero homelessness among students by 2020. 

Cskiran / Wikimedia Commons

Segment 1: The latest in state and Kansas City politics.

Jason Kander announced on Monday his candidacy for mayor of Kansas City, making him the ninth person to enter what's sure to be a closely-watched race. Today, our panel of pundits shared their take on the coming mayoral elections, the Kansas primaries, and the Missouri Senate race that is garnering national attention.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

Six weeks of protests by the Poor People’s Campaign nationwide and in Topeka aim to raise awareness of social and economic inequalities.

Translating those demonstrations into changes in state policy, says at least one analyst, will likely demand more sustained efforts.

Protesters occupied part of Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s office recently and 18 people were arrested. This week, Statehouse police arrested 16 people protesting in favor of Medicaid expansion outside the office of Gov. Jeff Colyer.

file photo / Kansas News Service

The company that processes applications for Kansas’ privatized KanCare Medicaid program faces potentially steep fines if it doesn’t fix problems, responsible for massive backlogs, by the end of this week.

Maximus, a Maryland-based company that specializes in managing “human service programs” for states and the federal government, has operated the “KanCare Clearinghouse” since 2016.

There have been problems from the start.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

Police arrested 18 people protesting policies pushed by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach after the demonstrators occupied part of his office.

Police led them past other protesters to a bus waiting outside the Kobach’s office.

Segment 1: The consequences of eviction.

For families, eviction can be a devastating experience. We take a look at eviction in Jackson County and throughout the Metro to find out how it is affecting local households.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Leaders in City Hall and Kansas City Public Schools are just beginning to piece together a connection between Kansas City’s high numbers of evictions and the academic performance of children affected by forced moves.

The data is preliminary, but Michael Reynolds, chief research and accountability officer for the school district, says a relationship is coming into focus.

“Without a question, students who get evicted have worse academic outcomes, according to the state and according to standard testing, than students who don’t,” Reynolds says.

Heartland Community Health Center

This story was updated at 3:22 p.m. on March 15 to include Jon Stewart's statement.   

The CEO of a safety net clinic in Lawrence, Kansas, has been suspended pending completion of a review of the organization's finances.

In a release Wednesday evening, the board of Heartland Community Health Center said it had suspended Jon Stewart and appointed the clinic’s chief operating officer as interim CEO.

file photo / Kansas News Service

When it comes to packing Statehouse hearings, few groups fill a room more reliably than those pushing for Medicaid expansion.

What they’re less good at, at least so far, is convincing lawmakers and a governor to expand Medicaid eligibility to another 150,000 low-income Kansans.

They came close last year. Lawmakers passed an expansion bill, but came a few votes short of overriding then-Gov. Sam Brownback’s veto.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

Sit-ins and other protests over poverty and racial equality could be coming to the Kansas Statehouse, clergy and civil rights activists said Monday.

They promised to bring the same level of attention to the issues that the causes garnered when Martin Luther King Jr. championed them a half-century ago in his Poor People’s Campaign.

The effort is an updated version of King’s campaign by the same name. It emphasizes higher minimum wages, lower barriers to voting and an end to disproportionate incarceration of minorities.

file photo / Kansas News Service

Lowering the Kansas sales tax on food is as popular as it is difficult in a state scrounging for every nickel to balance its budget.

On Thursday, supporters of a plan to cut taxes on groceries sounded off at the Kansas Statehouse with a plea to a Senate committee to advance a constitutional amendment that would reduce the rate.

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