"The house-fronts looked black enough, and the windows blacker, contrasting with the smooth white sheet of snow upon the roofs, ad with the dirtier snow upon the ground."
-Stave III, speaking of the poor area of London
Poverty was a big issue in the 19th century. Many people lived in poverty due to working conditions, and often multiple people in a family would have to work just for the family to scrape by.Those in poverty, however (at least as evidenced by "A Christmas Carol"), were often seen as more joyful and more grateful than those with excess money, such as Scrooge. Also, priests would often collect "Alms" or offerings for the poor to help get them out of poverty.