Report shows record poverty number in Oakland Co.

Report shows record poverty number in Oakland Co.

Posted: Updated:
OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. (WJBK) - Census data released Thursday shows 118,896 people live in poverty in Oakland County, which is an increase of 76 percent since 2005.

More than 37,000 of those are children under 18 years old.

Fifty-eight percent of those who live in poverty in Oakland County are white, 23 percent are black and 8 percent are Hispanic.

"We're now seeing in cities across the United States a greater number of poor people who live in suburbs, than those who live in the urban core," says Lighthouse of Oakland County President and CEO John Ziraldo.

He says Lighthouse, which provides a variety of services to families in crisis, has seen increased need, especially in southern Oakland County, as people have left Detroit for safer cities and better schools. Jobs, however, are scarce.

The loss of manufacturing and construction jobs hit Oakland County hard, so the so-called recovery here looks more like minimum wage for many families.

"The vast majority of the clients we serve at Lighthouse are working. These are not folks who are not working, not making efforts to support themselves, but the wages they are earning are enough to allow them to meet their basic needs," says Ziraldo.

They're calling on Congress to raise the minimum wage and implement other policies to ensure people get out and stay out of poverty, but with an increasingly impotent political system in place, real people are making the real difference helping neighbors get back on their feet.

LINK: Click here to learn how you can make a difference to your neighbors

You can also take part in Lighthouse's annual Hunger Walk on May 3, 2014. The 5K walk raises money to help fund Lighthouse's year-round food pantry program.

LINK: Click here for more information on the 32nd Annual Hunger Walk



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