‘Scratch Beginnings’ looks at difficutly of crawling out of poverty

Adam Shepard wanted to see if being homeless meant it was impossible to get out of poverty. He left his middle-classe family in Raleigh, N.C., and became a homeless person in Charleston, S.C.

Within 10 months, he was able to move out of a homeless shelter, buy a pick-up truck and save $5,000. He wrote a book of his experience Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25 and the Search for the American Dream. He says that it is possible and he has witnessed others who were able to become self-sufficient.

Shepard’s books contrast’s Barbara Ehrenreich’s book Nickel and Dimed, where the author spent a year working at low-paying jobs. She argued that those jobs foster a system where a person cannot crawl out of that hole.

“Nickel and Dimed” has been required reading at several universities. Shepard’s book hasn’t been out long enough yet to be added to required reading lists.

Get Rich Slowly interviewed Shepard, and included the recent Getting Ahead or Losing Ground: Economic Mobility findings that indicate Shepard’s ability to get out poverty was aided by advantages such as being a college graduate and family background (Shepard’s family was comfortable economically), which are strong predictors on whether a person will be able to become self sufficient.

Christian Science Monitor: Homeless: Can you build a life from $25?
Get Rich Slowly: Scratch Beginnings: An Interview with Adam Shepard

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