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The Power of the Hour: Insights on PBS Hawai‘i

 

CEO Message

The Power of the Hour: Insights on PBS Hawai‘i
The Power of the Hour: Insights on PBS Hawai‘i: Pictured, from left: Norm Baker - Aloha United Way Chief Operating Officer; Zi Jun - McKinley High School senior; Connie Mitchell - Institute for Human Services Executive Director; Nani Medeiros - single mother and nonprofit director

Pictured, from left: Norm Baker – Aloha United Way Chief Operating Officer; Zi Jun – McKinley High School senior; Connie Mitchell – Institute for Human Services Executive Director; Nani Medeiros – single mother and nonprofit director

Leslie Wilcox, PBS Hawai‘i President and CEOHow many times have you seen or heard something that makes you feel anxious about the future of Hawai‘i? And how many times have you shaken off the thought, as day-to-day life calls you back, with its challenges and pressures? You know that your passing thoughts will return. Your concerns persist.

 

Perhaps that’s one reason why the statewide viewership of Insights on PBS Hawai‘i has doubled in the last two years. For one hour, on Thursday evenings from 8 to 9 pm, we explore one of the quality-of-life issues that are tugging at all of us.

 

The power of the hour is the different perspectives presented. For example, on March 1, our subject was the Islands’ tens of thousands of “working poor.” The Aloha United Way had published a study showing that in 2015-2016, about a third of Hawai‘i’s working households struggled to make ends meet. (An additional 11 percent of Hawai‘i’s households were living in poverty.)

 

I was moved by Insights guest Nani Medeiros, matter-of-fact and thoughtful, as she spoke of being on the high end of the working-poor spectrum. The single mother of a young daughter runs a small nonprofit organization. Born and raised in Hawai‘i and of part-Hawaiian ancestry, Nani never expected to live anywhere else. However, she sees a changing Hawai‘i that she and her daughter may need to leave.

 

“We’re getting by just fine…but there’s never going to be any huge ‘getting ahead’ for us,” she said, “I’m almost 100 percent certain I’ll never be able to buy my own home. Saving for a [down payment] is completely out of grasp.” Last year, she said, her rent increased by $300 a month: “That’s huge.”

 

High school senior Zi Jun said that his immigrant parents live with the stress of debt, even though they work hard to support the family. For all they do to keep the family fed, clothed and housed, they derive precious little time to spend with Zi and his sister.

 

“I see my parents coming home every night, and they’re not happy,” he said.

 

Aloha United Way’s Chief Operating Officer Norm Baker and Connie Mitchell, who leads the Institute for Human Services, pointed out that there’s help available for homeless people who will accept it, but our society is missing a “preventative piece” to keep the working poor from falling into homelessness due to an illness or accident. A short-term subsidy could stabilize a highly vulnerable household and prevent society from incurring higher costs.

 

During Insights’ one hour of live television and live streaming, viewers gain reliable information, and they get an idea of what it’s like to live in someone else’s skin. Different perspectives can yield understanding. We believe a common understanding builds respect – which, in turn, can generate trust and positive action.

 

Insights is currently the second most-watched locally produced program on PBS Hawai‘i (after Nā Mele: Traditions in Hawaiian Song). According to market research, Insights draws men and women viewers in equal numbers and attracts viewers evenly from every household income level from $35,000 to $150,000.

 

Aloha nui,

 

Leslie signature

 

 

INSIGHTS ON PBS HAWAI‘I
Who Are Hawai‘i’s Working Poor?

 

According to a recent Aloha United Way report, nearly 50 percent of Hawai‘i households are unable to make ends meet. Around 11 percent are living below the poverty level, and about a third could be considered Hawai‘i’s “Working Poor,” or “ALICE,” an acronym coined by United Way that stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed.

 

These households have income above the federal poverty level, but not enough to afford basic necessities including housing, child care, food, transportation and health care. How does this affect our community’s economic outlook, if nearly half of our population struggles to make ends meet?

 

Join us during our live discussion by phoning in, or leaving us a comment on Facebook or Twitter. INSIGHTS is also live streamed on pbshawaii.org and Facebook Live.

 

Phone Lines:
462-5000 on Oahu or 800-238-4847 on the Neighbor Islands.

 

Email:
insights@pbshawaii.org

 

Facebook:
Visit the PBS Hawai‘i Facebook page.

 

Twitter:
Join our live discussion using #pbsinsights

 

 


FRONTLINE
Poor Kids

 

FRONTLINE follows three young girls in the Midwest growing up amidst their families’ struggles against financial ruin. This is an intimate portrait of the economic crisis as it’s rarely seen, through the eyes of children. With one in five American children living below the poverty line, this is an unflinching and revealing exploration of what poverty means to children.

 

VICTORIAN SLUM HOUSE
The 1890s

VICTORIAN SLUM HOUSE: The 1890s

 

VICTORIAN SLUM HOUSE takes viewers to the British slums of the 1800s, where a group of modern day families, couples and individuals recreate life in London’s East End as their forbearers once lived between 1860-1900. Faced with the virtually impossible task of earning enough money to pay the rent and put food on the table, the participants experience first-hand the tough living and working conditions endured by the millions that made up the urban poor in Victorian Britain. It’s an eye-opening experience for the participants as they each confront the harsh realities of the past and together lay the groundwork for welfare reform in the 20th Century.

 

The 1890s
Enter the 1890s, when mass manufacturing and social reform offer a bit of hope for some of the residents, while others are plagued by a water shortage that dashes hopes for a promising laundry business.

 

VICTORIAN SLUM HOUSE
The 1900s

VICTORIAN SLUM HOUSE: The 1900s

 

Observe the social changes the slum dwellers face as they move into the 20th century. A few families prosper, but others continue to face the poverty endemic in Britain. See what steps are finally taken to alleviate the plight of the poor.

 

VICTORIAN SLUM HOUSE
The 1880s

VICTORIAN SLUM HOUSE: The 1880s

 

VICTORIAN SLUM HOUSE takes viewers to the British slums of the 1800s, where a group of modern day families, couples and individuals recreate life in London’s East End as their forbearers once lived between 1860-1900. Faced with the virtually impossible task of earning enough money to pay the rent and put food on the table, the participants experience first-hand the tough living and working conditions endured by the millions that made up the urban poor in Victorian Britain. It’s an eye-opening experience for the participants as they each confront the harsh realities of the past and together lay the groundwork for welfare reform in the 20th Century.

 

The 1880s
Despite high unemployment and intolerable conditions, people flock to London, desperate for work. When curious upper-class visitors are permitted to visit the slum as tourists, the participants realize how precarious their situation truly is.

 

VICTORIAN SLUM HOUSE
The 1870s

VICTORIAN SLUM HOUSE: The 1870s

 

VICTORIAN SLUM HOUSE takes viewers to the British slums of the 1800s, where a group of modern day families, couples and individuals recreate life in London’s East End as their forbearers once lived between 1860-1900. Faced with the virtually impossible task of earning enough money to pay the rent and put food on the table, the participants experience first-hand the tough living and working conditions endured by the millions that made up the urban poor in Victorian Britain. It’s an eye-opening experience for the participants as they each confront the harsh realities of the past and together lay the groundwork for welfare reform in the 20th Century.

 

The 1870s
Witness a dire economic depression heightened by the arrival of Irish migrants seeking work. Daily, the slum dwellers toil to fulfil clothing orders and make artificial flowers for factories. Some won’t be able to settle their debts.

 

FRONTLINE
Politics, Poverty and Profit

 

This episode examines the politics, profits and problems of an affordable housing system in crisis. Investigate the billions spent on housing the poor and why so few get the help they need.

 

VICTORIAN SLUM HOUSE
The 1860s

 

VICTORIAN SLUM HOUSE takes viewers to the British slums of the 1800s, where a group of modern day families, couples and individuals recreate life in London’s East End as their forbearers once lived between 1860-1900. Faced with the virtually impossible task of earning enough money to pay the rent and put food on the table, the participants experience first-hand the tough living and working conditions endured by the millions that made up the urban poor in Victorian Britain. It’s an eye-opening experience for the participants as they each confront the harsh realities of the past and together lay the groundwork for welfare reform in the 20th Century.

 

The 1860s
Follow participants as they move into an 1860s tenement made up of sparse rooms, a shared water pump and outdoor privies. They seek to make a living by matchbox making, wood turning and the rag trade, work once done by their impoverished forebears.

 

INSIGHTS ON PBS HAWAI‘I
Should We Change The Minimum Wage to a Living Wage?

 

Despite taking Hawai‘i’s minimum wage up to $9.25 an hour – and a scheduled increase to $10.10 effective next year – Hawai‘i’s minimum wage workers are faced with an impossible challenge: the biggest gap nationally between a state’s minimum hourly wage and the most basic earnings required to meet the local cost of living. Should we change the minimum wage to a living wage?

 

Your questions and comments are welcome via phone, email and via Twitter during the Live Broadcast.

 

Phone Lines:
462-5000 on Oahu or 800-238-4847 on the Neighbor Islands.

 

Email:insights@pbshawaii.org

 

Twitter:
Join our live discussion using #pbsinsights

 

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