This Day On The Street
Continue to site
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Report: 1 In 3 Illinoisans Living In, Near Poverty

Although Illinois' unemployment rate has fallen, it remains stubbornly high at 8.7 percent for November, and many of the new jobs don't pay well, advocates said.

At the same time, steep cuts in the state's Medicaid program and to programs to prevent homelessness and treat mental illness are making the situation tougher for people already struggling to provide basic necessities, Terpstra and other advocates say. People find themselves choosing between rent and food, between paying utilities and going to the doctor.

Women, children and the disabled are among those more likely to live in poverty. But the new statistics belie stereotypes that those struggling are single parents or the unemployed, advocates say.

"One of the big things is that people have jobs, but not jobs they can raise a family on," said Pete Schaefer, president and CEO of the Northern Illinois Food Bank, a network of food pantries that serve 13 counties, including some of the wealthiest Chicago suburbs.

Schaefer said some food-bank users are unemployed, but many are "making $9, $10 or $11 an hour."

"There is just no end in sight to the people hurting out there," said Schaefer, adding that demand has more than doubled in the last four to five years, with food banks in his network serving a half-million individuals a year.

Illinois ranks around the middle of states when it comes to poverty and near-poverty. But advocates say the numbers still are far too high, especially when lawmakers could take steps to ease the problem, including increasing the minimum wage from $8.25 an hour. They also advocate restoring homeless prevention funding, fully implementing Medicaid expansion and creating an automatic retirement account program.

Nateka Simmons of Urbana lost her job as an activities director at a skilled nursing center last February after back surgery that required months of physical therapy. She ended up going to food banks and applying for food stamps and Medicaid to help care for her three children, 13- and 9-year-old boys and a 4-year-old girl. Her husband's $9-an-hour dollar-store job wasn't enough to cover the bills or allow them to enroll in the company's health insurance plan, Simmons said.

2 of 3

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Submit an article to us!
SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG

Markets

DOW 18,024.06 +183.54 1.03%
S&P 500 2,108.29 +22.78 1.09%
NASDAQ 5,005.3910 +63.9670 1.29%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs