It is a shame that our state has such a high level of poverty.
It’s not 2 percent. It’s not 5 percent. It is 15+ percent.
More than 15 percent of North Carolinians live in poverty — a rate higher than the national average.
Good to know there are people who care, who are working on solutions, and they got some of their ideas from the folks faced with this reality day in and day out.
A report released this week highlights the ways poverty could be addressed in North Carolina, including suggestions from people who are living on the edge every day.
The report by the North Carolina Community Action Association focuses on solutions to reduce the state’s poverty rate.
Bryan Duncan, executive director of I-CARE Inc. in Statesville, a community action agency, said some solutions are related to health care.
“Some of the possible solutions: access to dental care could be provided by North Carolina’s dental schools,” he said. “We could start to look into more telemedicine opportunities.”
Programs that offer access to transportation, child care and job training are also helpful to support people trying to get out of poverty, according to the report.
It was compiled after a series of “Face to Face With Poverty” meetings across the state, which pulled together community and government leaders with people who face poverty.
To put a face to this story, consider the real life trials and tribulations of Malikah Henderson.
Malikah found herself in need of help after the company she worked for shut down in New Jersey. When she moved to North Carolina, she said, she was turned down for food assistance for herself and her daughter.
“They told me that my income was too high,” she said, “so I’m thinking, ‘How in the world do you make too much for unemployment and you still have other bills that you have to pay and everything else?’ “
Programs sponsored by I-CARE have been helpful, Henderson said, adding that she just found a full-time job. She said programs that offer help with job training and education were a big part of her success.
The between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place that Malikah found herself in is all too common for today’s poor, particularly for single parent families trying to make ends meet.
The North Carolina Community Action Association (NCCAA) is the statewide association of North Carolina’s 36 Community Action Agencies and five single-purpose agencies. These organizations are largely federally funded nonprofits with a common mission: to help low-income people become self-sufficient.
NCCAA seeks to give voice to the needs, concerns and stories of the state’s disadvantaged and low-income citizens. Its aim is to broaden economic and social horizons for vulnerable persons.
To read the entire report, go here: http://nccaablog.wordpress.com/2012-poverty-report/
A 15 percent poverty rate does not have to be in North Carolina’s future. Solutions are at hand.