How many people do you think need to work two jobs to make rent? I'm not arguing against the downsides of poverty. I'm arguing that the US has safety nets to provide for people's needs.
In my experience? Many. I knew a woman who tried to work three
jobs (two of them were part time, before you nitpick) and collapsed from the strain right in front of me. I was over at her side ready to perform CPR as my supervisor was calling an ambulance (it didn't turn out to be a heartattack, just probably low blood sugar and strain or something).
I worked for just above minimum wage at a plant. I was privileged, I was on a break from college and staying with my parents who weren't charging me rent, I worked my 5am to 1:30pm shift and was done. Every. Single. Other. Person. In that plant, had another job or gig. Everyone. My main partner ran a gas station, he'd have half an hour to go home and shower before another 8 hour shift. And the only break he got on weekends was that he didn't have to go to the plant job, he still had his shift at the gas station. There was a big guy who watched out for me, he had to get gigs DJing nights and weekends to supplement his income instead of spending his off time with his wife and daughter. I know a lot of stories of living in poverty, even as I've never quite fallen into it myself (closest I came was checking out food stamps while in college a couple of times, and by the way, what you can get with food stamps sucks).
The very worst thing about poverty is that with all the time and energy it sucks out of them, they can't improve themselves to climb out of it. My friend with the gas station has an intellectual mind, I could see him as a professor of international politics in another lifetime, but as it is he could barely stay awake on his feet while at work. Some of the young guys managed to maneuver themselves into vocational training, like welding school, but anybody without the vigor of youth was basically stuck in a rut for life. Some of them are even scared to do so, scared of failure and being out on the money they can't afford to spend frivolously. They don't have any hope for themselves for climbing out of the ranks of the poor, all their hope is on their kids making it out if the parents manage to save up enough. And the kids have lower odds of success than the average middle class schmuck like me as well. I coached one of the women I worked with on how her daughter should apply to college, what her essay would say, whether she should go to community college first to get the basics done cheaper. Things that were common sense to me and my educated parents were completely unknown to her. And her daughter isn't going to have the room to make the mistakes I made in my 7 year odyssey to a 4 year degree. Even if she gets through it (and even worse if she doesn't get through it) she'll have massive debt shackling her and her opportunities for a big chunk of her life.
All this shit? These are American problems. These are the problems your neighbors in countrymen are having. I don't know how many had housing allowances and food stamps and whatever other stopgap provisions you want to pull out. Probably many of them, and it's not enough for them to live more than a subsidence living. And the goal shouldn't be subsidence living, it should be uplift.
Scrooge-"Are there no prisons?"
"Plenty of prisons..."
Scrooge-"And the Union workhouses." . "Are they still in operation?"
"Both very busy, sir..."
"Those who are badly off must go there."
"Many can't go there; and many would rather die."
Scrooge- "If they would rather die," "they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population."