United Way releases study on poverty, Coast residents weigh in

United Way releases study on poverty, Coast residents weigh in
Several people organize clothing in shed. (Photo source: WLOX News)

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - There are millions of working American families who cannot afford basic necessities - including child care.

This is according to a United Way study released Thursday.

Peggy Craig organizers canned goods inside the food pantry at the Nourishing Place in Gulfport. "It is a ministry in this community. We deal only with local people and we try to enhance the quality of life for everyone in this area," said Jane Stanley.

Nourishing Place Minister Jane Stanley sees people in need come through the doors everyday. The church offers free food and clothing for those that don't have enough money to buy all of it themselves.

She said many in Gulfport community off Tennessee Street in Gulfport live in poverty. "People want to work, there's not a lot of jobs available some times," said Stanley.

Craig has a job but she just isn't making enough to pay for basic necessities. She is part of a larger group the United Way has dubbed ALICE, which stands for Asset-limited, Income-constrained, Employed. "Everybody lives paycheck to paycheck. That's only way we can do it. I pay utilities and they are going up. It's hard to make it," Craig said.

According to the United Way, 19 percent of residents in Harrison County live below the poverty line, while 49 percent are considered ALICE.

In Jackson County, 17 percent are below the poverty line and 40 percent are ALICE.

"Everybody say it's all about the education, but it's not about the education because I see some of my friends who have higher education, but they are doing two times worse then me," said Aritha Mills.

That's why Mills and Craig said they hope someday soon they'll see more jobs with better pay move down to the coast.

Click HERE to learn more about the report.

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