Struggling to make ends meet

Cost of Poverty Experience offered to county residents

Cost of poverty

Jill Hatcher gives her reaction to the Cost of Poverty Experience Tuesday at the conclusion of the event hosted by the United Way of Logan County and facilitated by Think Tank at the Bellefontaine Regional Airport, 3100 State Route 47. (EXAMINER PHOTO | MANDY LOEHR)

Heart rates surged a bit and sweat started to form on the brows of participants as the minutes ticked away and bills were piling up Tuesday during a Cost of Poverty Experience at the Bellefontaine Regional Airport.

Each of the individuals participating in the United Way of Logan County-hosted event were cast as players in simulated scenarios facilitated by Think Tank of Springfield to demonstrate what life is like for area families trying to make ends meet while on a limited budget.

Cost of poverty 2a

ABOVE: Questions asked of the participants Tuesday in the Cost of Poverty Experience to see how they fared on a limited budget. ALSO IN WEDNESDAY'S EXAMINER: Cost of Poverty Experience participants stop at the Community Services table Tuesday to check on various benefits while acting out different roles in the simulated game, where some of the individuals were part of multi-member families and others were single parents or single adults. (EXAMINER PHOTO | MANDY LOEHR)

Currently in the U.S., 43 million Americans are living in poverty, and 22 percent of those individuals are children, Think Tank presenter Heather Cunningham reported.

In Logan County, 13.6 percent of residents are at or below the federal poverty level, which is $24,250 for a family of four. An additional 23 percent of county residents fall into a category of asset-limited, income constrained and employed — designated by the acronym ALICE — because their household incomes are below the basic cost of living calculated for the county.

“When you add those figures together, that’s about 36 percent of Logan County residents who are struggling to meet their household needs, such as housing, childcare, transportation and health care, and many of these people are employed,” United Way of Logan County Director Dave Bezusko said.

“More than one in three people facing poverty in our county is too many, and that’s why we’re offering this simulation today. We wanted to show the many roadblocks that are faced by people in poverty and have a conversation in the community about what we can do to help.”

Read complete story in Wednesday's Examiner
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