Study: Poverty rate has doubled in metro Atlanta suburbs

Study: Poverty rate has doubled in metro Atlanta suburbs

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ATLANTA -

According to The Brookings Institute, Atlanta's suburbs are the most impoverished areas in the country, but one agency continues to be the place where families can find help.    

Roxanna Morton, a Clayton County resident, is happy to be doing the dishes in her own home—a far cry from the woods she used to live in with her husband, C.J.  

"I've always had a stable home, and then I didn't," she said.  

A series of events left her homeless and in poverty, but she's not alone.  Thousands of Georgians have found themselves in nearly the same situation.  

Milton Little, president of the United Way of Greater Atlanta, says in the last 10 years, there's been a 159 percent increase in poverty in the metro area suburbs.  
 
The United Way partners with agencies around the area to meet basic needs like food, shelter and healthcare.  The population growth in the suburbs is one contributing factor, but suburbanites are in a catch-22.  Little says while there is job growth, residents can't get to the jobs that are available.  And while there's a lower cost of living, they can't get a job to pay for the home where they want to live.

Little says the solution is only found when legislators, regional service agencies and the private sector come together.  Until then, the United Way agencies will continue to help families like Roxanna and C.J., who now have their own home.  They still struggle, but they're grateful for the help.  

"They have to realize that if they ask for the help and take the help, then it works itself out," said Morton.  "It always works itself out."

The key is to get help early and not to wait until you can't handle it.  The United Way has a help line in place to connect with area resources.  Just dial 211, or click here for a link to their website.

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