Poverty is a very real phenomenon in England. Around 13 million people, including 3.5 million children, are estimated to be living in poverty.
Yet poverty is not just about income. It is a complex experience that impacts every aspect of people’s lives. At Church Urban Fund, we group the different aspects of poverty into three categories:As Christians, we ought to see that salvation in Jesus is what ultimately lifts people out of these traps. And more than that, it deals with the ultimate poverty - Poverty of spirit. We are spiritually needy, as we face the prospect of meeting God in judgement. By finding forgiveness in Jesus, our greatest need is met - and then we find the rest is rebuilt around it too.
Poverty of resources – when people lack sufficient resources, such as income, skills, qualifications or health, to achieve a good standard of living. Where resources are limited, so are people’s choices and opportunities.
Poverty of relationships – when people lack the strong and supportive relationships on which individual, family and community life are built, resulting in loneliness and isolation. Where relationships are under pressure or where communities are fragmented and hostile, it is difficult to thrive in human terms.
Poverty of identity – when people lack a strong sense of self-worth and a belief in their own ability to respond to challenges. Where these are missing, it can lead to low self-esteem, a lack of well-being and aspiration, poor mental health and even drug and alcohol misuse.
These issues are complex and closely interlinked, trapping individuals and whole communities in what we call the 'Web of Poverty'.