2010 Numbers Show Idaho's Poverty Concentration Is Rising
Twin Falls, Idaho (KMVT-TV / KSVT-TV) - Idaho's poverty concentration is on the rise.
According to the U.S. Census, the amount of people moving to poverty areas tripled between the years 2000 and 2010.
A poverty area is a place with a poverty rate of 20 percent or more.
Twin falls has a poverty level of 15.4 percent, but the city has still noticed a growing trend.
Between 2000 and 2010 the number of Idahoans living in poverty areas rose from 6.2 percent to 18.6 percent.
"We are seeing families that are coming from the family areas that don't have sustainable employment,” said Sharon Breshears, Executive Director for Valley House. “The rent is higher, everything is higher so its forced them into homelessness."
In the Gem State over 15 percent of the population lives below poverty level, which is higher than the national average. Local homeless shelters are noticing a difference.
"We've always been busy here but I think this summer is the busiest time we've had,” said Breshears. “Valleyhouse is at complete capacity in terms of bed space. We have 11 family units, 6 for single women. We have a lot of families in motels so we have to find resources for all of that."
Between January and June, Valleyhouse served 2,200 people.
The Salvation Army is keeping just as busy.
"Last year we served 19,997 hot lunches and in the past 12 months we've already surpassed 22,000 so there's some growth there," said Nicki Krouse, Business Manager for the Salvation Army.
Funds are limited to aid those in need.
"In the last couple of weeks we've had an outpouring of people coming in and needing help so we're really concerned about this," said Breshears.
For many families, the search for jobs and stability continues. According to a recent report by Annie E. Casey Foundation, the number of Idaho children living in poverty has risen to 21 percent.