“The real violence in America is starvation, unemployment, slum housing and poor education."  

Coretta Scott King 

“If you believe in health care, if you believe in living wages, if you believe in addressing poverty, you better make sure you understand voter suppression hits black folk first, but it undermines all people. It hurts every one of us." 

Reverend Dr. William J. Barber, II 


Basic needs encompass the fundamental requirements for human survival and well-being. These needs typically include food, water, shelter, clothing, healthcare and education. Poverty, on the other hand, is often defined as a condition characterized by a lack of access to these basic needs due to insufficient income or resources. Understanding the relationship between basic needs and poverty involves examining how access to these necessities is impacted by economic, social and political factors. 

Efforts to address poverty often focus on ensuring universal access to these basic needs through social welfare programs, economic development initiatives and policy interventions. However, challenges such as economic inequality, discrimination, political instability and environmental factors can exacerbate poverty and hinder progress towards meeting basic needs for all individuals and communities. 


Poverty has long been linked to shorter lives. This research looks at how many deaths in the United States are associated with poverty and found that only heart disease, cancer and smoking were associated with a greater number of deaths: “Poverty is the 4th Leading Cause of Death.” 

This fact sheet outlines how housing instability causes and exacerbates health problems, erodes communities and drives health inequities: The Public Health Implication of Housing Instability, Evictions and Homelessness.”

This story from Voice of San Diego shows that while the degree of correlation between a family’s income level and children’s performance in school has long been known, there’s been frustratingly little progress toward leveling the playing field: Poverty and Education are Inextricably Linked.”


TED-Ed's Why is it so hard to escape poverty?” describes the welfare trap that perpetuates poverty and the lack of access to basic needs for generations. (5 minutes) And from TikTok, a real-life explanation of what it's like to live in poverty. (3 minutes, EXPLICIT LANGUAGE)

In this powerful TEDx Talk on “The Inheritance of Poverty,” Shomari Payne asks how we expect children to excel in school well enough to escape poverty when they have never had a single night’s sleep in a real bed. (11 minutes) 

Hidden Truths: How Housing Policies Trapped Black America in Poverty” and perpetuated the passing down of neighborhood inequality. (28 minutes) 


Radio Diary: How Can All this Stress be on One Person?” from NPR's On Point examines how one family in New Jersey navigates job loss, a contaminated water supply and the college application process — as well as the impact that federal anti-poverty legislation could have. (3 minutes)  

Social-emotional connection is an often-overlooked basic need. This podcast on “Social Poverty” highlights the importance of understanding the need for both financial and social resources. (33 minutes) 

In “How Racism and Poverty Contribute to Sleep Disparities,” the Institute for Research on Poverty shares research on how experiences of racism, variable work schedules and neighborhood conditions contribute to sleep and health inequities for African Americans. (36 minutes) 


Sign the pledge and support School Meals 4 All CT, so that together, we can make sure no Connecticut child experiences hunger at school. In addition, learn whether you or your neighbors qualify for food assistance and support the work of addressing food accessibility and insecurity at End Hunger Connecticut!

Search 211 for “Hunger, Poverty Action Groups” in Connecticut to connect with and get involved in their efforts. Look for organizations that align with your values and goals for addressing poverty, and consider the time, skills and resources you can offer to support the organization's initiatives.  

Use the Partnership for Strong Communities advocacy template to send a message to your state legislators, urging them to support safe, stable and affordable housing in Connecticut. 

Want to refer back to an earlier Equity Challenge email in this series? Please visit this link.

LinkedIn Share This Email
United Ways Connecticut United Ways United Way


Facebook  instagram  youtube  twitter  linkedin  

United Way of Connecticut

55 Capital Boulevard, Rocky Hill, CT 06067