WASHINGTON, Sept. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Yesterday the Census Bureau released its annual Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage Report revealing the most dire poverty statistics in 51 years. The report revealed that in 2009 43.6 million Americans, or 1 in 7, lived in poverty. Families across the nation lost ground as median income dropped sharply in 2009. The statistics are even worse for children, 1 in 5 of whom lives below the federal poverty guidelines.
The Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Network feels the weight of these statistics acutely since 71% of the network's participants served fall under the federal poverty guideline. "It's clear that the same approaches to shoring up economic security in America won't suffice. We've known for some time what needs to be done but haven't had the resources to do it," said Vaughn Clark, Director of the Office of Community Development for the State of Oklahoma and the chair of the National Association for State Community Services Programs (NASCSP). "The CSBG program is the federal government's only anti-poverty program. Greater investment in CSBG would allow us to connect other federal programs and create a seamless system where people get the services they need quickly and easily to achieve economic security."
Various federal programs attempt to address the needs of families struggling to achieve economic security, but they often operate in isolation and aren't tied to a broader comprehensive strategy. The acute poverty illuminated by the census data highlights the need for a single, streamlined system. CSBG, which is up for reauthorization by Congress this year, funds a state-administered network of over 1,000 local agencies charged with linking programs in order to build economic security. In bringing together federal, state, and local solutions, the CSBG Network creates a holistic, easily accessible approach to ending poverty. As the poverty rate increases, CSBG resources need to keep pace with the growing demand for these critical services.
The CSBG Network, a state-administered network, draws on its knowledge of local communities to provide much-needed relief to families trying to make ends meet. CSBG funds initiatives such as jobs creation and neighborhood revitalization projects that bring lasting benefits to communities across the nation.
This unprecedented rise in poverty is unlikely to be reversed any time soon. High poverty levels have tended to persist for years after the end of a recession.
It is unconscionable to allow so many of our fellow Americans to remain in poverty, threatened by hunger, sickness, and thwarted by blocked opportunities. Our nation's economic future depends on achieving economic security for all our citizens. Today's poverty report is a wake-up call for urgent investments in proven anti-poverty programs like CSBG so that people can get back to work and America can fulfill its promise of prosperity for all.
For more information on CSBG, please visit http://www.nascsp.org.
SOURCE National Association for State Community Services Programs