The leader of Ohio’s poverty fighting network said the release of higher poverty rate numbers by the U.S. Census Bureau should bring job creation efforts into sharper focus.
“Unfortunately, these numbers are no surprise to people fighting poverty in Ohio,” said Philip E. Cole, Executive Director of the Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies.
The national poverty rate jumped from 13.2 percent in 2008 to 14.3 percent in 2009. Ohio’s poverty rate climbed from 12.5 to 13.5 percent.
“One in seven people are now officially in poverty,” Cole said, “but we know there are many more, because we know the Federal Poverty measure is outdated.”
The official poverty threshold for a family of four is an annual household income of $21,954.
Cole called for genuine, strategic investments to provide employment opportunities.
“We need to focus on real community and economic development efforts that lead to job creation,” he said.
Community Action trains and employs workers in hundreds of green jobs in weatherization and partners with educational institutions and private businesses to train and employ workers in other permanent jobs.
The Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies supports a network of 50 agencies around the state serving the needs of low-income people in all of Ohio’s 88 counties. The agencies administer nearly $750,000,000 in resources aimed at alleviating the problems of poverty in Ohio’s communities. They employ more than 6,000 people and provide service to nearly 800,000 Ohioans.