Pop music blares from loud speakers overhead to brighten the mood, though it seems to have the opposite effect for some of the people waiting in line for a free meal at the Poverello House, a non-profit organization that has been serving the hungry and homeless since 1973. Billions of dollars cut from the state’s health and social services budget are expected to have drastic effects on fragile groups like the elderly and the disabled, who are increasingly living on the streets and relying on food pantries. “You can go to Salvation Army, Catholic Charities…You’ve got a whole rotation; that’s what the seniors in this town are doing right now,” said a 61-year-old veteran who lives in a van next to Poverello.

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"Included in this group [the underrclass] are individuals who lack training and skills and either experience long-term unemployment or are not members of the labor force, individuals who are engaged in street crime and other forms of aberrant behavior, and families that experience long-term spells of poverty and/or welfare dependency."

- The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner City, the Underclass, and Public Policy, by William Julius Wilson

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