Myth of the Welfare Queen: A Pulitzer Prize-winning Journalist's Portrait of Women on the Line
In North Philadelphia, Odessa Williams, a great-grandmother, picks through trash to furnish her home and clothe her grandchildren. She also goes fishing to provide extra food and charges people for rides to and from the welfare office and supermarket to supplement her meager income. Cheri Honkala and others set up tent cities, take over an abandoned church, and occupy vacant HUD buildings to seek shelter and protest the lack of affordable housing. Against the backdrop of the welfare reform act, which revoked the federal guarantee of welfare to low-income families with dependent children, Zucchino, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist with the Philadelphia Inquirer, documents the lives of these women and others over a six-month period. The result, a harrowing description of daily subsistence living with very little chance of change, is a powerful expose of the welfare myth.
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