NORTH CAROLINA - Child poverty rates in the state of North Carolina are steadily increasing to figures higher than those during the 2007 Great Recession, according to the latest data. The Annie E. Casey Foundation conducts an annual child wellness survey (Kids Count survey) for each state and found in North Carolina, 26 percent of children-one in four or 580,000-are living in poverty.
Action for Children North Carolina contributes data to the Kids Count data center and confirmed since 2005, 130,000 more children have slipped beneath the poverty line. Action for Children NC and the Guilford County school system confirmed in Guilford County, about 30 percent of children are living in poverty. About 57% receive free or reduced meals at school, and 2,632 are identified as homeless.
In Forsyth County, about 24 percent of children are living in poverty. About 56 percent receive free or reduced meals at school, and 507 children are identified as homeless.
A spokesperson for Action for Children North Carolina said there is about a one year lag time between when the survey is conducted and when the data is actually processed and posted. So, these numbers are technically from the year 2011 to 2012. That spokesperson said she did not want to speculate whether the 2012 through 2013 poverty rate will be even higher. But, trends in the data suggest that might be the case.
Brian Ellerby, CEO of Triad Adult and Pediatric Medicine, told WFMY News 2's Good Morning Show Friday that the state's May decision not to expand Medicaid will exacerbate the already prevalent problem of poverty in the Triad. He said the state legislature's budget proposals to change Medicaid eligibility and hospital reimbursement for Medicaid services could be detrimental, as well, to impoverished and homeless people living in the Triad.
Ellerby said data from the local health system suggests the average cost of an emergency room visit is about $7,600. The average cost of visits to a physician's office is about $150. The average cost of a patient's admittance to the hospital for a few days is about $9,600.
Rev. Mike Aiken of Greensboro Urban Ministry also joined the Good Morning Show Friday to discuss the constant need for food and shelter services in the Triad. He said at Greensboro Urban Ministry-operated Pathways and Weaver House, there are about 100 individuals and 16 families who come to the shelter each night.
Greensboro Urban Ministry has served 12,219 men, women and children with emergency assistance. Its Potter's House Community Kitchen operates provided 2,965 breakfasts, 13,280 lunches, and 3,125 dinners.
This Sunday, June 30, there is a Homerun for the Homeless at the Greensboro Grasshoppers game at NewBridge Bank Park. Two dollars of every advanced group ticket sale goes to Partners Ending Homelessness. A minimum order of 10 tickets ($7 to $10 per ticket) must be purchased. An exhibit about homelessness starts at 3. The game starts at 4.