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They enter core city within a city another in a series of programs focusing on the problems people and conditions in our inner cities. Today a discussion of the problems of homemaking and credit in the inner city as Ralph Johnson of WAGA radio talks with two home economist from Milwaukee. This is Arlene Miller and this is Joyce Hardy are both home economists and social workers in the inner core of Milwaukee. And we're going to talk about some of the problems and the programs in the home economics area. I mean what is the or is there any difference in helping people. Plan their. Homes as far as cooking sewing and so on in the inner core as compared to what might be called the general area. I have to say both yes and no there. First of all you find the same kind of people in the inner core that you do in any part of the city you're going to find some people that are good housekeepers and some that are poor housekeepers that would be the
idea that you know it's the same as everyone else and we would. Let these people teach the same sort of things. But there are differences and I think one of the main differences and I think perhaps Joyce would agree with me that it's much more difficult to be a homemaker here in the inner core than it is in the. Other parts of the city. I say it's because. They have to deal with and to work with are inadequate. If they want to go to a grocery store they have to go out say five or six blocks to the nearest grocery brochure. Also a chain supermarket where they can get better buys if they used a corner store are they going to pay twice as much for their food. So this means they have to spend practically half day going to the grocery market or if they want to go to a shopping center they gotta go way out of the area and this takes a whole day doing a babysitter which costs and different days of
delivery of the girls freeze because I know it's a common thing in this area for perhaps people that don't have a job still go to a grocery store with their car and then pick up money taking deliveries home so that I mean this is this is a standard thing here so that I'm not a 15 around the 20 or so months. This is one way of making money and it's a dollar generally a dollar for a delivery so that the food bill you have to add this cost of delivery. And during the week or during other times when they aren't going to the supermarkets the small scorner stores the prices are high. For example I can get milk in this area at about four cents a half gallon in one of the small stores more than I pay in my whole. Life here you know my area which is on the sell side. This area budgeting brings up the topic crops of food stamps. How does this program work dries up. Well the food stamp program works according to the number of people you have in your
family the government sets up a standard as to how much food is allotted for that number of people then you have to pay a certain amount. For the food stamps a you buy $70 worth of food stamps maybe you will pay only $50 then you get 70 dollars worth of stamps. Those distant stamps you can only buy food you can't buy anything such as furniture polish or things like that you have to buy food. I think that the big game here that the difficulty arises and I find that with my women it's a salt polders and then watching you turn and say you can't buy those with them. And those are big costs. They can't buy them at all. Also a list of food stamps. Many of the people don't use as much food for one month as the government says they have to use. Therefore they spend $80 also $70 worth of money on food that they really don't need for that much so that this means that they have
to take 70 dollars out of their budget for food when they sometimes one month you make your food bill maybe much lower than it was and next if you get stable things one month and then next month you will have to buy them. But with the government food stamps you have to get a certain amount each month. So this causes a problem also because they may not want to get the same amount each month. I would I think this is particularly a problem when people over 65 who don't need so much and I know I have a lot of trouble persuading people over 65 to get food stamps because they cannot use that amount of food that the government requires them to buy with the food stamps. Let me see if I understand how this works. You have to buy with cash. I would say 50 or 60 dollars worth of food stamps and then you get $70 worth of food stamps which you then take to the grocery store you can buy 70 dollars worth of food right. Because that's what I want. That's why I did this. We place the surplus food program which once existed.
Yes I think in many states where they don't have food stamps they still have to surplus food. But I think most of the states that have the food stamps they don't have the surplus food anymore. What kind of vice Arlene do you give to people who are in the food stamp program that has this problem of not needing to buy that much food. I use e advised them to use the food stamps one month then to skip a month and to go back to purchasing in the next month. This is about my only incentive I can give to the people over 65 use food stamps. That's very difficult for them to set aside that large amount of money for them a large amount I believe it's put to people about $11 and they'll get about 13 or 14 dollars worth of food stamps. But for $11. And of course they had a crack out of their their budget this is a lot. What other kinds of budgeting advice do you give to your clients. Same world we sometimes call in the extension workers from you WM and they give advice as to who has the best time to buy
food is the best time to buy clothing and this seems to be a problem too because there aren't too many people in a cooler who have freezers and when the buys are on meat they can't buy this as much me as I want to because I don't have the storage space and so people and I say in better neighborhoods would have better incomes we have more and more advantage over them by having Frazier's or somewhere as big someplace they can start you know when they're on sale. Then when the things are going the prices rise and they already have these things whereas the people in a corps have to still buy them when the prices rise and they buy them when the price is low so they don't gain gives you this excuse when they give you a great deal of frustration is I really feels frustration in trying to tell people what the why when the bike when they don't have the means to buy at all for example we all know that winter cooling is cheaper. After. The seasons. The people know this. But they can't buy because the
welfare department or the places that they get the chance to live from hand them out they don't have the money to buy them and layaway is used a great deal in their core. A person will buy of a winter coat maybe one winter and pay on a 5 him $20 a month and first get it the next month. Now this kind of thing occurs. In about this is about the only thing you can say take advantage of the sale now put on land only for next year. But this is about the only thing we can tell him. Otherwise they can't take advantage of sales because they don't have the cash or the place to store it. When the sale does occur. The housing. Alone is a factor in this you don't have. Moth proof closet or vermin free houses you don't know if your house is free of bugs one day it may not be the next thing. No matter how clean you are and these people are clean they are not dirty it's not really I am more concerned about
having their houses cleaned than anything else. You find this a great deal they are concerned with keeping the house clean especially the ones with little children. You probably would expect to find a house so shabby that most of the time the House is very clean. If they don't have anything to eat they make sure that the house is clean in their home all day. They try and see that the kids explain this time. Do either of you find that you really have to give people advice as to how to cook food or clean their house you know. Well I had the experience of trying and I wind up delayed you just as much as I did. So I really didn't feel I had accomplished and then because she knew it but the only thing was she didn't have the money to do what she wanted to do but she knew how to do that how to manage your house. But I went in at a time when her money was low and things were going on because of this. It wasn't because she didn't know how to budget it was because she didn't have the money to do so. I find this is very true and is not only the money but you walk into a home and you see six different guys all a million pads on the floor and pieces
torn out and that's scrubbed it sparkles. But still it looks bad and it's not that the housewives and wood workers chipped. The paint as plaster is falling and that's not the housewife at home or she's doing the best she can. And what I think amazes me is some of these places I just see with one closet and six children and I wonder where they put all the things I have been looking as New Years ago this is where we're going. To have to buy new clothes to make sure because most of the people store other things in the basement if they only have one closet. And then when they go down the next year eating up all the clothes and they have to then this is when they're left with coats for the winter for the kids they have to go out to the Salvation Army and other community services in trying to run to school. Storage is really a problem in this area and food storage clothing storage the ability to carry something or from one year to the next. You don't have it as you do in all the better communities.
I wouldn't I wouldn't tell anybody in my 25 pound sack of flour to try. There's no place to put it. The rats would get it and I was a rats chance kids or the people would be what about the problem of dry cleaning her laundry. I was astounded. I think in the intercooler that people really. I'll say profit from the inner group of people because they charged him fortune to clean clothes and most of them never have learned clothes clean but once a year and this is when they really all say make money off them because they'll take whereas maybe in another part of town you could get for skirts all say for about a dollar and a half or two hours. Here you pay almost 75 cents a skirt. In the intercooler and I don't think this is this may be why they only can get them clean once a winner or once a year but they take good care of the crew they take good care of their mistake if they have them but most of the time it's whatever they have if they take good care of it.
But they have a hard time trying to get them plain and have to be looking nice because they don't have the money. Have a hard time taking care to make of the lack of storage lack of places to put on this type of thing. What are some of the programs at the center that you have going in the way of classes say national ng or other areas. Well our center's facilities are rather limited so that we have no food preparation area so the hours are primarily sewing and I do have a lady sewing group and a. Young girl sewing room for about 10 to 14. I also have a young girl sewing group from about 10 to 14 and we also have a young girl's cooking group from about the same age and they meet twice a week. For both groups. And we've been we've been very successful with him. What is soul food called Soul Food is a name given to the food that most people eat and it's called that I guess because he is mostly I'll say
fat drippings for most of the meat but they only use. What you call the least expensive part of the meat and they season most of their food from this one piece of meat and it's cold because it doesn't taste as any other food you taste and then most integral people really like this when they start eating it. I mean they are brought up by his they don't want anything else and then I'll say like that what they call children's It's called Soul Food because most integral people ate it and. It's all well now it's a delicacy but really to say they almost or at least it just stored away and nobody wanted it because his intestines of a hoax and nobody wanted it. But it's really a delicacy for most people but in people seem to like it. Virtually no one. At first you know the slaughter house cleans and what you do you just buy them from a local grocer and then let them sit overnight all say in salt
water and then you boil them for about three or four hours straight in vinegar and water. And if you don't fry them and you boil I've never Friday. I don't really see why Justin should be any more. Undesirable the liver or heart or brains. Well I think it's because of the odor. When they flew first clean they smell like intestines snow and most people shy away from them because of the smell but the taste is completely different basically like cooking a kidney. So yes that is the same thing. They smell one way in the case and. What are other examples of what it might be called Soul Food. A turnip greens or. Black Eyed Peas are. Most of the least expensive foods are called Soul Food and a lot of pork in my right eye very pleasant is a main main housein main meat among soul food. You never going to be if you're going to have
soul food. Beef is out. I guess it's because most inner good people are never able to buy beef and beef is more expensive than poor. So there's been a lot of always use pork. So it's a soulful dish because this is what they brought. What about chickens. Chicken also because it's one of the least expensive meats you can get chicken most all year for about 29 or less time. For some of these things I heard it from the south. Yes most of them most of them I heard. And so I think I was about 8 out of 10 I don't know from kind of my own informal council I've been getting it's about 10 people. Are from in Milwaukee are from the US in a in a corndog. Yes they're from Arkansas I'll say what's it like in New York. Most of the people migrate from the East Coast 6:00 to 7:00 eastern coast and in Milwaukee down around the Gulf of Mexico Arkansas Mississippi. I guess it's just wherever the northern cities straight up from the south are where you
find most of the people like here is Arkansas Mississippi and Tennessee which were if you were in New York it would be Georgia North Carolina South Carolina Virginia will be the same thing. You spoke of chicken being available at about 29 cents a pound almost year round. The quality of food in stores here at the price good quality. Well I'll say the quality of food like I said chicken. If you get chickens on this side of town go intercourse out of town on sale you find the legs broken brains broken this kind of thing wears on and in a better community I'll say they have. US graded meets they have the better standards to meet various ideas here nobody on the side of town nobody ever really demand that they get the better cuts of meat and that they get the better meat. So they give them what's left over whenever they don't ask for it. They kind of shifted over to the end of course sign.
This would bring up the possibility of people banding together for a bank robbery co-op or some kind of system considered. We have looked into it I think there are several groups in the area that are becoming active in a what we have found is that we run into the problem of wholesalers license and in the Waukee this is difficult to obtain. Otherwise some of the. Items cannot be obtained any more cheaply than they can be and some of the stores. The problem too and the buying club is the transportation. Again for our people it's a matter of how far from are we from the home and as costly as that dollar may be too. Get the store delivery. If they couldn't get everything from the buying club as they do from the store it would be could be more difficult and so we ran into one the transportation difficulty and then to the wholesaler difficulty. We did
seal and I feel that if we could get large families. I have a wholesale hood I will sell to me directly out of vendors license but it's a hospital wholesaler. And butt out and they're fried and large families. And we may eventually get out of buying tub of large families but for the small family hasn't worked out yet. Except for these other groups that are beginning to start up. It's been tried. In the areas in summer education which you probably do some work and you get into the area of credit and finance a dozen people. We get into that area and then we run into many problems. There are so many people who sign things without reading them or they listen to her tell them what their terms will be without media so they sign. They take his word for it and then they never reach it seems to miss one payment. What will happen if they don't bring it all in a certain length of time what will happen. So we've run into this
problem of them not reading by and not being properly explained the terms of the time. I don't think that's the only problem I don't know. In my estimation it's the contract itself. The big problem here in the core I don't think is food shopping I think the people here in the cork and shop for food much better than even I as a train home economist can do and there are studies that are you know that have been made that show this. I don't think it's homemaking. I think they make their homes. Keep their homes as well as anyone under the circumstances could do. I think the big problem really is consumers education and not only consumer education but we do need some new. Credit bills such as a twosome lending bill. We need bills to regulate businesses particularly the credit merchants in this area and we need what I would call a legitimate merchants need to become aware of the big market
in this area a lot of these people in this area are not low income people. Their income is five six and seven and eight thousand dollars a year but they cannot make it stretch as far as somebody else in a different area because a high rents because of people that take advantage of them. For example gas in my side of town is a penny are two cents a gallon cheaper than it is over here. Why. Well I've asked some people about that and the merchants answer to that is that because of the number of incidents. That the insurance rates are higher for oneself. And also. Yes because if it's $50 and I'm speaking of gasoline but also the facilities that serve me on the sell side are to have a much greater capital outlay. Than they have here they're there. For a facility here to pump three pumps. Well you don't get the service you get so I would think one would offset the other. So I don't buy that answer.
OK what about the areas of say natural credit or actual loans money loans. I don't see them. In the corner I have seen them the kind of. Loan shops that are in the world on Michigan Avenue in Detroit. When I was there several years ago. Well I don't think they have any place to borrow money if they need it right away. Other than the pawn shops are the places where you go and I. Buy mine I'll say the finance companies and they all know that they almost pay double paying the money back. And also this is where they get home I'll say they pay twice as much back and then when you know anything they sign a contract saying if they don't pay they have a right to take. Things that they already own. And when the deal goes down they own everything and the person is left with nothing. They have to pay the money back and then pay for the furniture and things they sand away. They have to pay for everything almost twice if it's taken if it's ever taken.
Along with the loan companies are very I think a grant credit easily and are very anxious. In some instances to re-affirm debts and. Give you a little bit more credit I think. And sometimes I wonder if some of our business folks. I think of one company that started one man came in and started out with the loan of one hundred fifty dollars. And six months that will that loan had gone up to thirteen hundred fifty dollars and he had never made a payment. Now why would the you know the curvature keep on granting him credit I question this. Can you give us some incidents that you've run into in any of the areas of home economics or specific things that have happened to maybe typical or just interesting in themselves.
Well I've had one incident where a family. Brought furniture. And they paid for care and the Frenchie was never delivered. The salesman never told them that the friendship had to be in order and it would take from eight to 12 weeks. So to compensate for this they gave them four samples. And he would make an adjustment for the floor samples against what they paid. After they received it. And they brought out say three pieces of furniture a living room set. And he wanted to give them only $25 off on the whole three pieces and they were floor samples. So I had to it wind up in court. Because they had to make adjustments similar to what they had on the floors and they had on the floors floor samples had been hundred fifty dollars a hundred dollars. So I was brought up that they had to make adjustments similar to those that they had on the floors which would have been I'll say fifty dollars on each chair. And they don't want to give $25 on the whole three
chairs. So if by them not knowing they were really on the sheet it unless they had gone to legal aid or somebody who really knew. And got it straight now. But they would have gotten away with it if they hadn't gone had checked into. A big problem here in the course since the buying of appliances furniture cars things of this sort. The people do very well and everything else for big items are the items in which they may get cheated. And these are the areas primarily that some of the legitimate merchants are hesitant about giving credit and so that they have to resort to a credit merchant type individual and therefore only for a. TV set that's worth a hundred and fifty dollars apiece two hundred fifty dollars and by the time they get done paying the credit insurance and costs and carrying charges and so forth that toll being such it costs them about four five hundred fifty dollars and that's if they manage
to make the payments. If not they're quickly repossessed or there's garnishment that occurs and banishment is a big factor in this area. Thanks to great US SAME a great number of people are on welfare which because of garnishment every word was found had to garnish the bill I were also a couple families and they had to file bankruptcy. My family did because of this. But it it was because they had signed was that really the person was under 18. And they are not I don't think they're By law they're not forced to pay for something on the show to anyone. But the store took. Took the contract. And change the date on it. So that the person would have been 21 they could have read that the person was 21. And stead of 18 they changed the year and everything in there for. The Legal Society advised the person the family. To file
bankruptcy rather than to pay for it. So this causes them to wait a couple years before they get in the credit. Two critical years for another operation I've heard something about humor and oh yes a great deal of our people have to use them and I say have to because they go on and I talk I think it's very interesting that the tell me you know talk about critical years and they'll say oh yes and they'll start naming them down the line. And they keep saying I wouldn't use them but I know they are using them and this is because they cannot again you know the thing about being able to buy something when you need it they can't see it or put it on like you we are buying on credit and if you need to come this year because the last of gotten in years or the rants of chewed up you got to buy. Slowly. They use a static loaders and they are generally. The gamut is not worth what they get if they buy a hundred and twenty dollar
suit. It's probably worth fourteen to twenty eight dollars. Generally must pay that 14 to $20 before they can take it out of the out of the store as a down payment and from then on it's pure gravy for the credit flows here so that if he doesn't collect. If he collects on $80 or $100 of this he's he still has a profit. A great deal of profit you know moving in this area is not to sell goods but to sell credit. We don't have storekeepers here I think they more or less have bankers. Using stores as a front. Getting rich right. There's an implication here I think that. Most of the merchants who are doing this are white who are taking advantage of large numbers of negroes and some poor whites taking advantage of them. Other negro merchants were also taking advantage of poor people. Oh well I'd say if they are located in the intercooler area if they've gotten
established and they kind of have things like they want it. Then after a while they may try to sell so I can't live there not because I have run into a few who after they get themselves established and they get customers then they start probably slack up on the quality's rate that they started out with. They don't have to compete. You see there is no competition in the car business. The people are. Customers because they're forced to be customized by location lack of transportation and by the fact that this is a ghetto. Then that will come up elsewhere. For someone to go home downtown. To the Southside to shop. They don't get deleted IMO it's a courtesy that someone else would get waited on and they seal it you up in a store and somebody starts very late turns around looks at you or you walk around and people are constantly falling a lot you know like you're going to steal something.
You have the feeling. And. I've seen it. And so they don't go. For these reasons lack of transportation. The unwillingness of people to accept them for what they are people's Just like they are. This type of thing so you know there's no competition here you know we've got our our. Captive you know captive customers is what you have a young captive customer this is already looking. At the basic prices also and people dying like the reason why you lower the quality and this is this is what you have been listening to Ralph Johnson of WAGA radio as he talked with home economist Arlene Miller and Joyce Hardy. This was another in the series of programs originally heard over w A-J of the University of Wisconsin as part of that station's intensive week of broadcasting on Milwaukee's inner core city within a city began almost speaking
The inner core: City within a city
Homemaking in the Inner City
Producing Organization
University of Wisconsin
WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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For series info, see Item 3596. This prog.: Interview with Arlene Miller and Joyce Hardy, home economists who work in the inner city. Addresses problems of homemaking in the inner city and the problem of credit.
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Producing Organization: University of Wisconsin
Producing Organization: WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 68-34-9 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:30:04
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Chicago: “The inner core: City within a city; Homemaking in the Inner City,” 1968-11-05, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 19, 2022,
MLA: “The inner core: City within a city; Homemaking in the Inner City.” 1968-11-05. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 19, 2022. <>.
APA: The inner core: City within a city; Homemaking in the Inner City. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from