WJACTV- Rural Poverty Affecting More Local Residents

Updated: Wednesday, August 7 2013, 12:56 PM

Fifteen percent of Clearfield County residents live in poverty

By Marc Stempka

CLEARFIELD, Pa. — Officials across Pennsylvania are working to battle a problem that has caught the attention of leaders in Harrisburg: Too many Pennsylvania residents are living in poverty, and many are in rural communities.

Rep. Tommy Sankey (R-Clearfield) hosted Tuesday’s forum about rural poverty in Clearfield County. Sankey was joined by members of the Pennsylvania House Majority Policy Committee and local community groups, working as part of a state-wide effort to gather information about residents living in poverty.

The forum was part of a larger committee effort called “Empowering Opportunities: Gateways Out of Poverty,” that has worked to identify the challenges faced by families that may be prevented from rising out of poverty in different areas across the state.

Data from the United States Department of Health showed that a family of four living on less than $23,000 a year qualifies that family to be considered living in poverty.

In Clearfield County, statistics from the Center for Rural Pennsylvania showed that 15 percent of all county residents live in poverty. That includes 25 percent of the county’s children.

“You see it, you see it every day along state roads,” Sankey said. “[People] go to work, try to go to church, but just can’t get ahead.”

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