Statement of Legal Momentum for Committee on Ways and Means

Poverty is one of the main causes of family hardship. A 2001 study by the Economic Policy Institute found that about 30% of those below the poverty line experienced critical hardship, defined as being evicted, having utilities disconnected, doubling up in others’ housing due to lack of funds, or not having enough food to eat; and that an additional 30% to 45% experienced other serious hardships. Compared with families whose income is above 200% of the federal poverty level, families whose income is less than 200% of poverty are more than six times as likely to not have enough food to eat (12.6% vs. 1.6%); more than five times as likely to miss meals (17.5% vs. 3.4%); eleven times more likely to be evicted (1.1% vs. .1%); 50% more likely to skip necessary medical care (12.7% vs. 8.0%); seven times as likely to have their utilities disconnected (4.1% vs. 0.6%); and three times as likely to have their telephone disconnected (10.4% vs. 3%).