Jason Willis believes there is a general misconception about the severity of poverty in Floyd County, where some may cut the issue down to individuals making “bad choices.” But really poverty is the fact of individuals having “no choices,” he said in the Rome News-Tribune on Saturday.
“We’re here to be a hand up, not a handout,” said Willis, the regional director for the Northwest Region of Action Ministries, a statewide nonprofit. “Poverty is real. People’s perception is a lot of the time wrong.”
According to 2015 statistics compiled by the Floyd County Kids Count Data Center, 21 percent of adults in the county live in severe poverty and one in three kids live in poverty. Also, the center’s data reflects that 60 percent of kids in the county live in low-income households. And with a single parent in the Rome metro area working full time having an average monthly income of $1,256, an income gap of $1,735 presents itself — the average monthly cost of living for a parent with one child in Rome is $2,991.
To solve this “crisis,” Willis said Action Ministries predominately focuses on three areas of need: housing, hunger relief and education.