A woman and her daughter shop at a Greenmarket in New York City using Electronic Benefits Transfer, or food stamps. Government data show that fewer people were receiving the benefits in February 2014 than at the peak in December 2012. Andrew Burton/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Andrew Burton/Getty Images
Economic Upswing Has Fewer Americans Receiving Food Stamps
  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/317060656/317127282" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Toni Smart points to the oven that she uses to heat her one-bedroom apartment, which has no heat. Smart says she and her kids stayed in homeless shelters a few years ago. She says she'd rather be without heat than in the shelter. Pam Fessler/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Pam Fessler/NPR
Lack Of Affordable Housing Puts The Squeeze On Poor Families
  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/316110665/316269218" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Poverty, A Frustrating Mix Of Bad Choices And Bad Luck
  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/313618309/313618310" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Desiree Metcalf, here with one of her three daughters, is one of many poor Americans who find themselves trapped in a system meant to help. Pam Fessler/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Pam Fessler/NPR
One Family's Story Shows How The Cycle Of Poverty Is Hard To Break
  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/309734339/310476574" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Victoria Houser of Painted Post, N.Y., is raising her son, Brayden, on her own. She says she feels stuck in a never-ending cycle, constantly worried that one financial emergency will send everything tumbling down. Pam Fessler/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Pam Fessler/NPR
The Changing Picture Of Poverty: Hard Work Is 'Just Not Enough'
  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/309734380/310300915" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

An Arkansas voter enters an early-voting polling place on May 5. Danny Johnston/AP hide caption

toggle caption Danny Johnston/AP
As States Vote In Primaries, Voter ID Laws Come Under Scrutiny
  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/309815487/310165833" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Finding A More Nuanced View Of Poverty's 'Black Hole'
  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/297926310/298159575" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

An election official checks a voter's photo identification at an early-voting polling site in Austin, Texas. Eric Gay/AP hide caption

toggle caption Eric Gay/AP
Voting Rights Fight Takes New Direction
  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/295331365/295332848" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

States are taking an out provided by Congress to avoid cutting food stamp benefits to families, many of whom already depend on food banks like the Alameda County Community Food Bank in Oakland, Calif. Antonio Mena/Courtesy of Alameda County Community Food Bank hide caption

toggle caption Antonio Mena/Courtesy of Alameda County Community Food Bank
States' Rebellion Against Food Stamp Cuts Grows
  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/289849253/289994254" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Maya Gaines, of the Baltimore CASH Campaign, tries to encourage people to put aside some of their tax refunds into savings. She rings bells, cheers and dances every time someone decides to do that. Pam Fessler/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Pam Fessler/NPR
Groups Use Cash Prizes To Encourage Saving
  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/288637271/288712997" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Panel Charged With Eliminating Child Abuse Deaths
  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/282359501/282359502" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Linda Beckford (right) exercises as part of a walking group that tries to make their neighborhood a better place to live. If nothing else, the seniors feel more confident about going outside. Quoctrung Bui/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Quoctrung Bui/NPR
Can Exercising Seniors Help Revive A Brooklyn Neighborhood?
  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/280294716/281543340" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Robert Bauer (far left) and Benjamin Ginsberg (far right) are co-chairmen of the president's Commission on Election Administration, appointed to find solutions to election-related issues. Carolyn Kaster/AP hide caption

toggle caption Carolyn Kaster/AP

Melissa Conklin, 23, stands in the kitchen of her two-bedroom apartment at Woodmere Trace in Norfolk, Va. She earns about $30,000 a year at a nearby car dealership, and says these apartments are not only convenient, but affordable. She pays about $900 a month here, far less than other apartments in the area. Pam Fessler/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Pam Fessler/NPR
Nonprofits Pull In Investors To Tackle Housing Affordability
  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/275366027/275404751" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Shorter Lines? For Elections Commission, It's Common Sense
  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/265035240/265035241" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript