Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

Poverty and homelessness are a rising problem in the United States. For the individuals and families that have fallen under such circumstances, it can be very difficult to overcome poverty. This paper shows areas where low-income persons pay more money and how they are additionally disadvantaged. Based on a review of the available literature, there is a summary of the practices causing the low -income to pay more money. These practices include check cashing services, payday lenders, lack of grocery stores, tax preparation services, wire money services, rent-a-center stores and more. Some of these practices exist and are not solved because of the real and perceived risk of doing business in low income areas, lack of choices and knowledge for low-income families, as well as unscrupulous business practices towards the poor. A closer look is taken of Woonsocket, Rhode Island as another component of this empirical research project which examines how the community’s underprivileged people are being affected. A number of mapping methods of the Woonsocket area are included, dividing the area by census tracts. Different neighborhoods are analyzed to identify the location of things like rent-a-centers and check cashing services, as well as the lack of institutions such as grocery stores. The results show that in areas of low income and low education, more of the businesses that prey on the poor exist. Possible solutions are also discussed that could be implemented in Woonsocket.

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