Census Bureau Ranks Nevada 3rd in Poverty - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Census Bureau Ranks Nevada 3rd in Poverty

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As the nation's economy continues to recover, a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau shows there are actually more poor people in America than the official count showed in 2012.

The Silver State is one of 13 states (ranked 3rd) whose poverty levels were higher than the official rate. That's because of another issue the Bureau considered -- the supplemental poverty measure (SPM). Government officials say it takes into account federal benefits like refundable tax credits and food stamps which would keep people out of poverty.

The Volunteers of America in Reno says 2/3 of Americans who are at the poverty level are working.

"Sometimes you have people who are working one, or maybe even more than one job," said Sandy Isham, Development and Community Relations Officer with the Volunteers of America. "But, they're not making ends meet."

Some are experiencing it for a number of reasons.

"It could be a mental illness and/or addiction," Isham said. "It could be due to a divorce, job loss, medical illness."

In 2012, 46,783,000 people were officially in poverty, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, but the SPM would cause 3 million more Americans to be at the poverty level.

In Nevada, about 434,000 people were shown to be in poverty, but the SPM would have 103,000 more added to the official rate.

Non-profit organizations in northern Nevada have seen an increase in need, and they're trying to keep up with the demand in food pantry use and other services.

"In the past two years, we've seen the services we provide triple," said Lt. Mark Cyr of the Salvation Army in Carson City. "So, there's been a major increase. I know in the 2013 fiscal year, we served over 17,000 people here in Carson City alone."

The Volunteers of America here in Reno say they've seen more people come through the homeless shelters as well, in the past year.

"We come here to gamble," said Jack Wiley of Indiana, who's used the homeless shelter in Reno. "You either win or lose, and when you lose, if they didn't have this place here. It's called the Volunteers of America, everybody would probably freeze to death out here."

"It's just real hard being out here on the streets, and trying to do something for yourself and make something of yourself," said Edith Bowers of Sacramento, California. "So, it's real hard."

Difficult for people like her who's looking to get back on her feet. She says she hopes to get a job working with animals.

"I just like animals a lot," she said. "So, I usually I try to surround myself with them."

If you'd like to help those in need--
Volunteers of America Northern Nevada:

Salvation Army:

Written by Adam Varahachaikol


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