Poverty rates are rising in Monroe’s black neighborhoods according to a recent study by 24/7 Wall Street.
Giving Monroe it’s most recent title “The Most Poverty-Stricken City” in Lousiana.
“I would say that’s correct,” said a resident.
24/7 Wall Street says the title goes to the metro area in each state with the largest percentage increase
of those living in extreme poverty–between 2012 and 2016.
Extreme poverty is a family of four with income below $25,000 a year.
“I believe it. I mean everywhere you look you see homeless people,” said a former resident.
The local food bank works year-round to help those in need.
They say while Monroe’s on their list it’s nowhere near the top.
“Out of the 12 parishes that food bank serves. Ouachita Parish is actually 7th. East Carroll Parish in the Lake Providence you are going to see the highest rate of food insecurity,” said Food Bank of NELA spokeswoman Sarah Hoffman.
Lake providence was once named the poorest place in america in 1994.
More than 20 years later native Shawanda Roberson says not much has changed.
“I believe that my hometown is more poverty stricken then Monroe. I am over here today, because I had to go to the doctor,” said Roberson.
She says there are no resources or opportunities for work.
NOVA workforce director Juanita Woods says jobs in the Delta are scarce but available.
“The nursing programs that are in the community college, the construction trades when we start thinking about the diesel mechanics.Those are opportunities that individuals can really go out and try to pursue,” said NOVA director Juanita Woods.
As for Roberson she says the community may be poor but god is still providing.
“All of us are rich with god. And that’s the only thing we have to hang on to the lord, but as far as anything else. We are poor,” said Roberson.
Other cities in the ArkLaMiss include Jackson as the most poverty stricken place in Mississippi and Hot Springs in Arkansas.