Connections for the Homeless invites the community to INSPIRE, a fundraising luncheon, on Tuesday, September 27, featuring H. Luke Shaefer, co-author of the book $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America. $2.00 a day is one of the thresholds for extreme poverty that the World Bank uses in its work around the globe.  

Most people would assume that a World Bank threshold for poverty would apply primarily to poor or third world countries. In fact, according to Mr. Shaefer and his co-author Kathy Edin, “In early 2011, 1.5 million households with roughly 3 million children were surviving on cash incomes of no more than $2 per person, per day in any given month. That’s about one out of every twenty-five families with children in America.”  

Connections invited Mr. Shaefer to speak at INSPIRE because in 2015, 411 out of the 1,007 people who came to Connections for help had no income.  In the agency’s work with homeless people, they have found that the problem of extreme poverty is right here, not just in Illinois and the greater Chicago-land area, but on the North Shore and in Evanston.  The book, $2.00 a Day, provides a thorough analysis of how so many people have arrived at this threshold and what some possibilities are for systemic changes that could alleviate the situation. 

The September 27 luncheon will be held at The Woman’s Club of Evanston, which granted Connections free use of the venue through a competitive grant process. Lunch will be catered by Curt’s Café, and the luncheon will run from 11:30am to 1:00pm. Mr. Shaefer will talk about the findings that he and Ms. Edin cover in their book, with a focus on what communities can do to address the issue of extreme poverty. The luncheon will be followed at 1:30pm by a panel discussion including Mr. Shaefer, a former participant in Connections’ programs, and several Connections staff members. Moderated by the Reverend Patricia A. Efiom, the panel will discuss the strategies that people use to survive with little to no income and provide real world experiences about the very poor here on the North Shore. 

Tickets to INSPIRE are $100 per person, $1,000 per table of 10, and are available at Tickets will not be sold at the door. Tickets for the panel discussion are available for free for anyone with a ticket to the luncheon; however, advance reservations are required, since seating is limited. Costs of the luncheon are being underwritten by our sponsors, Bobby and Suzanne B. Calder, Leopardo Construction, James McHugh Construction, and Power Construction. Proceeds from tickets and other donations will support Connections’ programming and operational infrastructure. For more information, please contact Andrew Seibert, Development Associate, at 847475-7070, x116 or 

For those who are interested in purchasing a copy of $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America, Beck’s Bookstore is selling copies at their location at 716 Clark St. in Evanston. They will also be selling the book at the luncheon and will donate 20% of proceeds from sale of the book between now and September 30 to Connections.