Poverty Rate – Madison, WI

Despite Madison’s relative affluence, poverty rate growing rapidly, By Mike Ivey, February 24, 2010, Capital Times: “The doors at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul food pantry on Fish Hatchery Road don’t open for another 30 minutes, but a line has already formed. They wait quietly, for the most part, this rainbow coalition of all ages: African-American grandmothers, Latino families, young women with pierced tongues, disabled seniors and working fathers. What they have in common is poverty. Once a month, with a valid photo ID, clients get enough groceries to last a week. ‘As my kids get older, I just keep having to cook more, so every bit helps,’ says Belinda Washington, 44, who has four children at home ages 4 to 17. A Chicago native, Washington moved to Madison 17 years ago and lives in the Lake Point neighborhood off West Broadway on the city’s south side. Her resume includes food service, catering and factory work but she’s been unemployed since her youngest was born. ‘I keep applying but the jobs are hard to come by,’ she says. Danny Pilgrim, 37, has a part-time job at Einstein Brothers Bagels in Madison but had his hours reduced recently. Now, he’s visiting the food pantry with his wife. ‘What can I say? We need the groceries,’ explains the father of three. Being poor, hungry or unemployed is a world far removed for many in Wisconsin’s capital city, where arguments over passenger rail, Badger sports or high-rise hotels can dominate the news. But the reality is Madison’s poverty rate is climbing – rising nine times faster than the rate of other U.S. cities, according to a new report from the liberal-leaning Brookings Institution…”

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