KOMU 8 News asks the poor and near poor to share their stories
COLUMBIA - There is a picture of poverty in many people's minds: run down house, dirty children, desperate looking adults. They are something out of the Great Depression.
But poverty can be much more subtle than that. It can be next door. Poverty can be in plain sight.
What does it mean to be poor in mid-Missouri? KOMU 8 News wants you to tell us.
Every individual and family that is poor, or "near poor," has a story. KOMU 8 News wants to share those stories, to help broaden our viewers' understanding of what it's like to struggle, in the worst way, financially.
Please take our survey. You can remain anonymous or share contact information so you can be a part of our coverage.
The U.S. Census Bureau says more than 45 million Americans live in poverty, about 750,000 in Missouri.
Federal guidelines put a dollar amount on poverty, as you can see in the image below.
The "near poor," which live just above the poverty level (represented in the third column above), are "more vulnerable" than most people to the "stress of economic instability caused by job loss, ill health, and fluctuations in housing, food, and transportation costs," according to the Census Bureau.
Those variables - employment, health, access to food and housing and transportation - are what make each person or family's struggle unique.
KOMU 8 News wants to know where the biggest challenges lie and that is why we are asking our viewers to take part in our next Town Square special, focusing on Poverty in Plain Sight. It's an important conversation, and we ask you to take the lead by filling in the form below.