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Community Agencies Say Poverty in Indiana the Worst They’ve Seen

September 23, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS - The latest numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau show 22 percent of Hoosier kids are living in poverty.
Clara Anderson, vice president of advocacy for the Children's Bureau, Inc., says she annually surveys the Bureau's staff on what issues are most affecting their clients.

"Poverty- and income-related issues was the number-one issue that they felt affected the children and families that we serve."

Another troubling statistic from the Census report is that 7 percent of Indiana's population is considered severely poor. That would be a family of three living on less than $9200 a year.

Anderson says the Children's Bureau helped over 23,000 kids and families in 36 counties last year.

"Many of the folks that we're seeing are 'new' poor or folks that are experiencing lack of income for the first time - and don't know how to use systems of care."

Kevin Polivick, executive director of Interlocal Community Action Agency in East Central Indiana, says poverty is the worst he's seen in 25 years. He says there's a lack of a safety net.

"Not only a declining economy, but you're seeing the federal, state, and local governments facing shrinking revenues and increasing debt, so their ability to help with this problem is diminished."

Polivick says his agency helped a record 10,000 people last year.

Detailed reports are at www2.census.gov

Leigh DeNoon, Public News Service - IN