US News & World Report: Prof. Azzi-Lessing Explains Factors in the Poverty Cycle
Many structural factors can lead to cycles of poverty which last for three generations or more, such as paying high interest rates and living in a low-income community. In a recent interview with US News & World Report, Professor Lenette Azzi-Lessing of BU School of Social Work offered several strategies to help combat the cycle of poverty.
Excerpt from “The Cycle of Poverty and Its Traps That Keep You Poor” (US News & World Report) by Geoff Williams:
Lenette Azzi-Lessing, a clinical professor at the Boston University School of Social Work, says that many borrowers end up regretting going to payday lending companies ‘that charge ridiculously high interest rates’ and she says that some credit card debt can be just as bad.
‘In many situations, steadily accruing interest and late fees end up costing borrowers far more than the original loan,’ Azzi-Lessing says. ‘Another example of the exploitation of people in poverty is some of the rent-to-own companies that charge monthly fees for renting furniture and televisions that, when paid over time, cost the renter more than these items would have had the renters been able to purchase them outright.’
Azzi-Lessing says she recommends working with a nonprofit consumer counseling service to create a strategy for paying off outstanding loans.”
Lenette Azzi-Lessing, PhD, is an expert in child welfare and poverty. The author of “Behind from the Start: How America’s War on the Poor is Harming Our Most Vulnerable Children,” her work focuses on improving the wellbeing and life opportunities of vulnerable children and their families, especially those living in poverty and those involved in the child protective system. She is a clinical professor, chair of the Macro Social Work Department, and coordinator of the Children, Youth and Families specialization at BU School of Social Work, and is the founder and co-leader of a partnership at the School’s Center for Innovation in Social Work and Health that prevents violence against young children in South Africa.