Brightpoint study: poverty up, unemployment down

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)- Poverty continues to plague communities nationwide and in Northeast Indiana. Brightpoint, a nonprofit organization, recently updated its Community Needs Assessment.

The report reveals 15.6% of the population is at or below the poverty guideline. That’s compared to 14.7% in last year’s report. All total, 22% of those living in poverty are children. This remains a concern for leaders at Brightpoint who are constantly looking for ways to address the needs of the community.

“That’s not a small percentage,” said Sherry Early-Aden, Vice President of Operations at Brightpoint. “There’s still a lot of people that are suffering and need your help.”

Early-Aden said the number of children living in poverty are particularly concerning.

“We have a lot of households out there that have children who are not getting daily nutritional needs met,” she said. “They don’t have coats. [They] are living in homes that don’t have heat or water.”

The assessment looks at trends in several areas including unemployment, population, education, and poverty. Not all the findings are bad. The unemployment rate dipped slightly to 4.5%. Still, the report highlights areas that need improvement. Which helps leaders at Brightpoint develop plans to address those needs.

“We use it to decide if what we are doing is effective or not,” said Early-Aden. “And is there an area where we could be addressing that we are not currently addressing.”

Click here for the full report.