Two Cape Cods

Oct 16, 2005

Hidden Poverty on the Cape and Islands

news series produced in 2005

Those who serve Cape Cod's poor are the first to point out that behind the veil of the affluent summer paradise we all recognize, hides a community that continually struggles to make ends meet. 

This duPont-Columbia Award-winning series examines the unique factors that contribute to persistent and hidden poverty throughout the Cape and Islands region. 

Orleans: Perception vs. Reality
Series Introduction 
Behind the sunny facade of affluent seaside villages are local families who can't afford to cover the costs of healthcare, housing, and food. 

Brewster: Uninsured and Underinsured
More than 40,000 Cape residents are without health insurance. This vulnerable class may be just one illness or injury away from not being able to afford their homes. 

Bourne: Commuting Off-Cape
Increasingly, going to work off-Cape is the only way to escape a low paying, tourist and service-driven economy. 

Chatham: Hunger
Food pantries are distributing record amounts of food as more and more families find themselves unable to earn a livable wage. 

Dennis: Measuring Poverty
Free and reduced lunch program statistics in Dennis indicate that there may be no accurate way to measure poverty. 

Eastham: Stressed Out: Single Parenting
According to a survey conducted by Barnstable County last year, 80% of the most needy households on the Cape wrestle with stress and anxiety.  

Falmouth: Youth Flight
If the next generation of teachers, nurses, and firefighters can't make the Cape their home, then who will serve and take care of the people who can? 

Harwich: Elderly Poverty
The ever-rising costs of living means that for a growing number of seniors, retirement has not been the life of leisure they may have expected.  

Hyannis: Homeless
Shelters housed more than 500 homeless people last year. But untold others live on friends' couches, in motel rooms, and in tents in the woods. 

Homeless: Part 1

Homeless: Part 2

Mashpee: Wampanoag
Of the 350 Wampanoag living in Mashpee today, 90% live from paycheck to paycheck, undeniably poor.  

Provincetown: Empty Nets
Cape Cod, a land named for its bounty of fish, doesn't have many commercial fishermen left. 


Sandwich: Moving out: The Winter Rental Shuffle
With off-season rental-housing prices skyrocketing, where are the working poor expected to look for shelter?  

Truro: Lack of Mass Transit
Without reliable public transportation, working poor cannot access the job opportunities and public services they so direly need.  

Yarmouth: Foster Care: Aging Out
More than 250 children live in foster care. When these children leave state custody, more and more are winding up on the streets. 

Wellfleet: Childcare: Sea Babies
Struggling families must choose between spending $300 a week on childcare and forgoing a paycheck to stay home. 

Martha's Vineyard
Much of the world knows Martha's Vineyard as a rich person's playground, but many locals are struggling to find adequate food and shelter.   

Part 1: Meals on Wheels

Part 2: Habitat for Humanity  

Nantucket: Workforce Housing
With a median home price of $1.6 million, many in the Nantucket workforce will never be able to live where they work. 

Two Cape Cods: The Road Ahead 
Series Conclusion
If living the American Dream means getting married, buying a house, and raising a family, Cape Cod may not be a viable option for future generations. 

Series Producer: Sean Corcoran
Executive Producer: Steve Young 

Two Cape Cods was made possible by the support of the Cape Cod Foundation, the Clowes Fund, the Crane Foundation, the Cape Cod Five, and the listeners of WCAI.