Poverty News Roundup: Mar 17 - 22

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Poverty Conference in Wilmington focuses on Food Insecurity

The third annual “Taking the Pulse on Poverty” conference at UNC-W focused on NC’s fifth-worst food insecurity ranking. From the article:

“Food insecurity” and “food deserts” were the buzzwords at the conference where [New Hanover County Commissioner Jonathan]Barfield spoke. Food insecurity is the new way of defining hunger, and North Carolina ranks fifth-highest in the nation in that category. Food deserts are areas where residents have limited accessibility to healthy food options, primarily grocery stores. The presentations detailed how the food deserts existed in both rural and urban communities.

Durham Mayor asks for “foot soldiers” in the fight against poverty

Durham’s Mayor Bill Bell is kicking off a neighborhood-by-neighborhood approach to tackling poverty issues. In an article published last week in the News and Observer, Bell was quoted as saying “We’re going to need some foot soldiers. The end goal is to end poverty, but to do anything you’ve got to do first steps.”

Mayor Bell made his declaration during a breakfast he hosted at Durham Rescue Mission. Of the 100 attendees, two-thirds signed up to be on task forces to tackle poverty issues in the 10.01 census tract, one of the “distressed tracts” we wrote about in the Durham Herald last fall (The other Durham: Poverty up in poorest areas”).

Unemployment News from different angles

Again, we turn to the N&O which coupled two opposing viewpoints on recently released unemployment numbers.

Allan Freyer, noting that the labor force’s shrinkage drove the unemployment rate down, had this to say: “Only 4 out of every 10 unemployed workers found jobs in the last year. If North Carolina is going to see a healthy long-term recovery in employment growth, we need to see all jobless workers moving into jobs, rather than out of the labor force.”

Phil Berger and Thom Tillis released a joint statement that stressed the fact that North Carolina’s unemployment rate is dropping faster than the national rate. North Carolina added 45,000 jobs over the past year. Most recently, January’s 17,407 new jobs added show growth at a faster pace than previous months.

Rebecca Martinez of WUNC reported further on NC’s shrinking labor force. From her article:

The North Carolina Department of Commerce reports unemployment fell from 8.8 percent in January 2013 to 6.7 percent in January 2014. But that number doesn't include people who have stopped looking for work. The state's labor force is made up of people who work or are trying to find jobs, and that pool shrank by more than 60,000 people during the year.

Photoblog highlights “Struggle and Hope” in Durham, N.C.

In case you missed it, this photoblog featured on Slate.com highlights Durham, N.C. The photos are the real attraction, but here is the beginning of the accompanying essay to get you hooked in:

Justin Cook’s photos tell a story of two Durhams. “We've always been taught the story of America is one of upward mobility. Durham very much embodies that. But some of the darker sides of the American story are here too,” Cook said.

Once a town dedicated to the production of tobacco, the medium-sized North Carolina city has undergone a transformation, becoming a hub for a vibrant young professional population. It is consistently rated as one of the most up-and-coming cities in the South. But urban renewal and revitalization hasn’t reached all of Durham’s residents, and historically African-American neighborhoods in the city struggle with high rates of violence and poverty.

Posted by Joseph Arthur Polich on Mon. March 24, 2014 1:08 PM
Categories: News
UNC School of Law | Van Hecke-Wettach Hall | 160 Ridge Road, CB #3380 | Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380 | 919.962.5106

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