Georgia County Government - August 2009 - (Page 35)

ExtensionNews The Face of Poverty As unemployment rises, more Georgians face life below the poverty line. By Sue Chapman, Ed.D. UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences O ver the past decade, the number of Georgia children living in poverty increased from 18 percent to 20 percent. As more Georgians become unemployed, that number is certain to rise. For too many, however, poverty is not new. Many Georgia counties have a history of long-term, inter-generational poverty. Families experience poverty when they are unable to achieve a minimum standard of living that allows them to participate fully in mainstream society. Families need more than material resources to have a decent standard of living. They need education, basic life skills and employment experience, as well as less-tangible resources such as social networks and access to civic institutions. These non-material resources provide families with the means to get by and get ahead. Often the difference between those who succeed and those who don’t is determined by how strong this web of support is. This human and social capital helps families improve their earning potential and accumulate assets, gain access to safe neighborhoods and higher-quality services, and expand their networks and social connections. The face of poverty is as varied as the experiences that challenge the impoverished. Some families have hard times for brief periods. A small minority experience chronic or persistent poverty. Annie Carter, left, and her grandson, Jonathan Carter, discuss issues at the ‘Community Action Agency’ station, run by Robin Hooker, right, during a poverty simulation session coordinated by UGA Cooperative Extension. Photo by Sarah Brumbeloe, Daily Tribune News intern. There’s a culture of poverty that persists from one generation to the next, says Sharon Gibson, a University of Georgia (UGA) Cooperative Extension multicultural specialist. “Part of that culture is not being aware of the options available for improving their circumstances. We know that poverty is not only about the absence of wealth, but it is also about the absence of knowledge, Over the past decade, the number of Georgia children living in poverty increased from 18 percent to 20 percent. As more Georgians become unemployed, that number is certain to rise. self-worth and, perhaps the most important, the absence of hope.” Since 1997, Gibson and other UGA Extension faculty have offered a poverty simulation for communities throughout the state. It’s a proven tool for raising awareness of the obstacles facing lowincome families and motivating communities to take actions to reduce or eliminate many of those obstacles. Obstacles commonly identified by simulation participants include: • The lack of commercial and retail establishments in low-income neighborhoods, forcing the poor to purchase goods and services at higher prices elsewhere. EXTENSION continued on page 36 AUGUST 2009 35

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia County Government - August 2009

Georgia County Government - August 2009
President’s Message
County Matters
Morgan and Newton Counties Bank High Quality of Life on Sustainable Growth
Georgia’s Unique Approach to Public Safety Training
Extension News: The Face of Poverty
Research Corner: ACCG Needs Your Participation in Burruss Budget Survey
Staff News
County Parade
ACCG Teams with Technology Provider, Dell
Index of Advertisers

Georgia County Government - August 2009