Study highlights Iowa poverty

KIMT News 3 - A new report suggests thousands of Iowan’s are not able to make enough to meet their basic needs.

It’s an uncomfortable issue not often talked about, but a new study from the Iowa Policy Project looks to shed light on poverty in Iowa and how it’s no longer invisible.

In fact it affects more people from a variety of backgrounds.

“We’ve seen the increase in the number of folks coming here hear to the Winnebago County Food Bank over the last two or three years,” said Wayne Johns, Winnebago County Food Bank Board President.

Wayne Johns helps hundreds of families each month with food assistance, and says he’s not shocked to learn so many today are in need of help to meet those basic needs.

“We’ve seen an increase in those numbers and so there is really no surprise that were looking at 17 percent of the people really needing more income in order to meet their basic needs,” said Johns.

According to the report, a single-parent household with one child would have to make more than $35,000 a year to meet all the basic needs such as rent, child care and utilities.

Based on the report, 59 percent of those Iowans make less and 17 percent of Iowans in general make below the amount needed.

While the focus of the group is to advocate for low-income Iowans, Blake Slonecker with Waldorf College says no matter how drastic the stats, at least the conversation on resolving the issue has begun.

“One of the important parts of the study are simply to provide something concrete and specific for people who are not poor, who can look at it in order to understand the issue. I mean 17 percent. I think that can sort of operate to force people to encounter this reality,” said Slonecker.

By raising awareness, Slonecker and Johns hope public policy will be changed to fight the contemporary war on poverty.

While the 17 percent statistic from the Iowa Policy Project focuses on the state as a whole, they also mention how in the southern and rural parts of the state, those figures are even higher.

With more than 19 percent of families unable to meet their basic needs.

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