The facts about poverty and homeless in Georgia are disheartening.
UUCA, through Promise the Children supports metro Atlanta’s neediest families with direct service ministry. Yet the biggest need is for unremitting advocacy for compassionate policies at both state and federal level. This is where faith can step into action.
2,100 school-age children and their families are homeless in the City of Decatur and DeKalb County this year.
FACTS ABOUT THE POOR IN GEORGIA
Hit hardest are the 610,722 Georgia children (or 1 in 4) living in poverty, including 36 percent of African American children and more than 40 percent of Hispanic children. The future of these children is at risk as recent research shows that poverty among young children not only affects achievement in school but also reduces their earnings as adults.
Georgia has the 10th highest poverty rate in the nation of 17.9 percent (tied with Texas). Nearly 1.7 million Georgians have income below the federal poverty level ($22,314 for a family of four). People working at minimum wage, even holding down several jobs, cannot make ends meet.
Even more alarming, Georgia ranks #5 of 50 states in percent of people living in deep poverty (8.2 percent) – half of the federal poverty level (income of $11,157 for a family of four). And another large percentage lives close to poverty, with incomes less than two times that of their poverty thresholds.
Unemployment is more than 10 percent, with half a million Georgians out of work and only one job opening for every five laid-off workers seeking employment. Those fortunate to be employed are struggling to meet their families’ basic needs as their incomes fall and costs rise.
“Continuing to rely only on cuts will not solve our problems; in fact, it will just make things worse by making it more difficult for working families and the poor to keep a roof over their head and food on the table,” said Clare S. Richie, senior policy analyst for the Georgia Budget & Policy Institute.