Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Pathways Past Poverty for Colorado

The Fort Collins, Colorado became a very affluent area in the last 20 years. Business was booming as people came up from Denver for suburban living with nearby national forests. But the recent hard times have turned some who live in the area poor. It's a problem that many may not even know is there.

The organization Pathways Past Poverty received a write up today in the Fort Collins Coloradoan, The group has identified 12 issues that people need to solve in order to rise above the poverty line. The article focuses on affordable child care and financial education. For our snippet, we point to some statistics and reaction from Pathways to Poverty. Writer Sara B. Hansen filed the story.

According to results released this fall from the American Community Survey, the poverty rate in Larimer County has increased by about 39 percent since 2000, peaking at 12.8 percent in 2007. That means more than one in 10 people in Larimer County is living on an income lower than the national poverty guideline.

Poverty as defined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2008 was a family of four earning less than $21,200 a year. For an individual, the poverty line was set at $10,400.

And those stats were compiled before the current recession hit Northern Colorado.

In 2009, Larimer County lost 4,500 jobs. Other workers were hit with pay cuts, furloughs and reduced hours.

Demand for services at the Food Bank for Larimer County climbed 30 percent in the past year. Neighbor to Neighbor served 30 percent more people, and the Homelessness Prevention Initiative provided rental assistance to 56 percent more people.

The need is there, but many people in Larimer County don't recognize it.

"A lot of people don't want to believe poverty is an issue in Larimer County," said Marija Weeden-Osborn, Pathways Past Poverty coordinator and community investment associate.

"Because we don't see people sitting on the corner, it's easier to believe they're not there," she said.

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