January is Poverty Awareness Month, and we have chosen to once again highlight one of the communities we serve—Dove Springs in southeast Austin.
For the most part, the Dove Springs neighborhood has not changed significantly when you look at demographics data over the past three years with one key exception: poverty.
According to the most recent data, one in five adults in Dove Springs live in poverty, while more than a third of children in this community also live in poverty. This means about 12,000 in Dove Springs alone are living in poverty. And, unfortunately, these numbers are only increasing each year.
of adults in Dove Springs live in poverty
of children in Dove Springs live in poverty
of seniors in Dove Springs live in poverty
From 2011 to 2013, the Dove Springs population grew by 7%, but the number of residents in this community living in poverty grew by 15%.
According to PovertyUSA, the number of Americans living in poverty today is higher now than in the last 50 years. As Austin continues to become more unaffordable, even for those living above the poverty level, the urgency of intervention and change becomes more crucial.
The first step toward breaking the poverty cycle is promoting the understanding of poverty and its root causes. PovertyUSA produced an informative and interesting video that showcases how families living in poverty in the U.S. spend their money, and how easy it is to quickly fall behind while debt continues to pile up.
The first thing families usually cut from their budget? Food. In fact, one out of every five individuals in Dove Springs rely on SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) to meet their food needs.
United Way for Greater Austin is working to break the cycle of poverty by not only connecting residents to services, such as food pantries and shelters, but also through programs that serve entire families, both parents and children.