Piedmont poverty rates growing

GREENSBORO, N.C. — A report out this month listed all of our state’s major cities as some of the fastest growing when it comes to poverty in our country. The Brookings Institute compared poverty numbers from 2000 to 2012.

BusinessInsider.com complied the date ranking Winston-Salem No. 9 with a 248 percent growth in the poor population in tracts with poverty rates 20 percent or higher. Greensboro/High Point ranked No. 6 with 290 percent.

“For most people – we are all the working class anyways – are only a couple of paychecks away from being in the situation many of our clients are in,” said Michelle Kennedy with the Interactive Resource Center, a homeless day center in Greensboro.

Kennedy believes the high ranking is due to the economy and deep cuts to programs that help many people living in poverty bounce back. “It’s not surprising when you don’t have a lot of job creation happening and you still have cuts to safety net programs.”

Poverty and homelessness can happen to anyone.

“I’d seen people but I never thought I would be in this situation,” said Shannon White, who lost his job when he had to choose between a night shift and seeing his dying sister. He chose family and quickly lost everything. He now lives on the streets trying to find work. “You have to keep a frame of mind that you are not going to stay in the situation that you are in.”

Other North Carolina cities making the list include Charlotte coming in at No. 4 with a 326 percent jump and Raleigh at No. 3 with a 339 percent increase.

Boise, Idaho came in at No. 1 with 827 percent growth in poverty.

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