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Third annual Poverty Challenge begins today

By Joyce Kryszak

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wbfo/local-wbfo-903592.mp3

Buffalo, NY – More than a dozen people will live in poverty this week to better understand the social issues confronting the poor. The third annual Poverty Challenge begins Monday.

Click the audio player above to hear Joyce Kryszak's full story now or use your podcasting software to download it to your computer or iPod.

In past years, people signing on for the challenge agreed to live on a poverty level budget for three days. This year participants can make it a little easier on themselves. They can choose a minimum wage budget instead.

But organizers said people will be surprised to find it is not really much easier.

Kristen Cipollone is research education coordinator for the Homeless Alliance of Western New York, the sponsor of the event. Cipollone said the idea is to raise awareness of the need for a mandated living wage.

Also new to the challenge this year is a bus tour. On Tuesday at 11:00 A.M. and again at 4:00 P.M. participants will take a ride through Buffalo's impoverished East Side neighborhood. Cipollone said they want to make people more aware of the connection between poverty and the broader social issues affected by policy decisions.

She said, in past years, living within a restricted budget mostly only made people aware they did not have enough to eat.

But she said even with the new efforts to increase awareness and outreach, they realize the limits of the Poverty Challenge.

Orientation for the Challenge is this afternoon. Anyone interested in either the tour or the challenge can contact the Homeless Alliance of Western New York.