According to welfare.org, more than 70,000 people live below the poverty line in North Dakota. That’s 10% of the population.
When people think of poverty, they sometimes think of a person who lives on the street. But it could simply be someone who struggles to put food on the table or who struggles to pay their bills on a regular basis.
“We see roughly around 2,000 clients a year coming into our agency, and I would have to say about 80-90 percent are in poverty,” said Willy Soderholm.
To be considered for government assistance, a family of four must make below $32,000 a year.
The program director at Community Action Partnership says she knows that feeling all too well.
“When me and my children were in the YWCA shelter, it helped have a roof over our head.
And then I actually received services from different agencies,” said Missy Barnett.
Those services helped her get on her feet, and provide a better life for her two children.
Barnett added, “When I got a job it was a different story.”
After getting a job, and going back to school, Missy said she wanted to commit her life to help families dealing with a similar situation.
“I lived it and I knew it was my life. I knew this is where I wanted to be. This was my career and I want to retire with that,” she adds.
Missy says she thinks poverty will always be an issue, but there are solutions that she thinks would make the crisis better.
“I feel that minimum wages need to be higher. The benefits, you know it all goes with whoever handles that part. They need to, I think the guidelines need to be upped a little bit and that would really help.”
But until then, she’s dedicated to helping people in need.
Barnett says she works closely with other organizations like the YWCA, which helped her and her family when she was in need. To find a list of resources that can help you or someone you know, CLICK HERE.