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Head of the United Way of Henderson Co. Warns of Poverty Crisis


The head of the United Way of Henderson County says her area is facing a poverty crisis.

Melissa Clements told county magistrates she’s noticed an increase of people coming into her office looking for help with basics like food, rent or utilities.

She says while there are numerous jobs in the county that need to be filled, many of those positions don’t provide enough money to get workers out of poverty. “If those jobs are only paying minimum wage, and you’re not even working 40-hours a week, and you’re supporting a family of four—you’re not making it, still. You’re still needing some type of assistance.”

Clements says the United has started a program called “Bank Henderson” that requires people looking for assistance to take a one hour class on what resources are available to them.

Clements says there are between 250 and 300 children in the county school system who are considered homeless. “They’re living in hotels. They’re couch-hopping, so they’re staying with a friend or relative. They don’t have an actual residence with an address they can call their own.”

The group is partnering with the Henderson Justice Coalition to hold a poverty simulation this fall. Volunteers will be given a poverty-level amount of funds and then have to use that money to find their own shelter, food and transportation.

She hopes that leads to a community discussion about what can be done to help those in need find better resources.

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