Challenges that low-income families and those living in poverty face include many things. Common challenges include; food instability, poor health due to lack of affordable health insurance, joblessness due to lack of transportation and childcare, and lack of proper education (Project, 2021). Parents of children living in poverty or with a low income may feel anxious or isolated because they work odd hours, causing them to miss out on social and family activities (The multiple challenges facing parents from low-income households).
Social class stereotypes categorize low-income people as unintelligent but kind and wealthy people as intelligent but mean (Durante&Fiske, 2017). Human service professionals must be aware of their own biases when it comes to class in order to serve their clients best. As stated in the Ethical Standards of Human Service Professionals, “STANDARD 34 Human service professionals are aware of their own cultural backgrounds, beliefs, values, and biases. They recognize the potential impact of their backgrounds on their relationships with others and work diligently to provide culturally competent service to all of their clients”
The challenges of low income and those living in poverty are documented as economic factors, social factors, a retreat from marriage, no college degrees, and limited economic opportunities. (Institute for Family Studies, 2015) These challenges can affect the delivery of human services and our relationships with clients because they are busy. These people work 60-70 hours a week and make not even enough to skate by with rent and utilities. Many of them make too much to qualify for any benefits, and if they are married, that is a no-go! The video on Challenges facing low-income families today concentrates on marriage and why people living in poverty can not afford basic rent and utilities, let alone food and clothing. I live in Virginia, from personal experience if a woman who has children is married to the father of those children, that woman will receive zero help with childcare, food, rental assistance, or health insurance. In other words, if a woman or man is not married and works a minimum wage paying job, she or he will receive more help with basic needs than if he or she was married because of income %. THAT is why people in Virginia do not marry as often. (Vice Media Group, 2018)
It is important for human service professionals to be aware of class bias and classism because you can not attempt to offer help if you do not understand these challenges. Economic and social factors are BIG factors, and limited opportunities. I have seen a person NOT take a higher paying job because their help and benefits will be canceled. More money from the better job still does not cover the insurance for their children or the food from their SNAP benefits. It does not make their situations better. Therefore, they stay at the lower paying job to receive insurance, rent assistance, and food for their children. I am not sure what the fix is nor do I want that responsibility; however, THIS is the reality.