When you hear the term “poverty,” what kind of images come to mind?
A street of dilapidated homes?
A plea for food etched in a cardboard sign?
A city bench that has become a bed?
What about an empty refrigerator in your neighbor’s house? A student in your child’s class who wears the same clothes every day? A co-worker facing eviction from their home?
In reality, the poverty line is anything but. It weaves in and out of families and communities, circling low-income neighborhoods and intersecting at the vulnerability and hopelessness that stems from an unexpected job loss, injury or death of a loved one.
Oklahoma has a large and struggling population of citizens living in poverty. Impacting 14.1% of the Oklahoma City Metro alone, poverty is prevalent in more households than one would expect, and it is perpetuated by systematic barriers and a gap in meaningful resources for those living near the poverty level.
The latest edition of Vital Signs, Disrupting Poverty, explores poverty’s impact, its many causes and subtypes and the misconceptions that surround it. But more importantly, it outlines what can be done to disrupt poverty for current and future generations of Oklahomans – and United Way’s dedicated Partner Agencies are taking the lead.