Crisis Situation or Chronic Poverty

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Determining the difference between Chronic and Crisis situations also plays a role in long term solutions. Thanks to Bob Lupton as he helped us flush out the difference in his book Charity Detox. Chronic Poverty is long term material poverty. A situation where a family or individual is in a state of material poverty over a long period of time.  Crisis situations occur when an unexpected natural or man – made situation happens. A crisis can be measured by a 6 week cycle of stabilization; after 6 weeks the situation becomes chronic.

Some guidelines to consider from another book by Bob Lupton, Toxic Charity:

  • CRISIS need demands RELIEF intervention (Think: an earthquake, tsunami, famine, war. The goal is to stop the bleeding.)
  • A CHRONIC need requires DEVELOPMENT (Think: rebuilding homes, re-starting businesses, rebuilding infrastructure. We have to strengthen capacity.)
  • Address a CRISIS need with CRISIS intervention and lives are saved. (Think: doctors and medical supplies to treat the wounded, food and water to feed the starving, tents to shelter the refuges, etc.)
  • Address a CHRONIC need with a CRISIS intervention, and people are harmed. (Think: dependency increases, work-ethic erodes, dignity diminishes.)

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