AETN addresses poverty, opportunity in Arkansas in 'A Deeper Look' airing June 27
Posted 21 Jun 2016
The Arkansas PBS is working to further the discussion about poverty and opportunity in Arkansas in 'A Deeper Look: The Poverty Divide in Arkansas' airing Monday, June 27, at 9 p.m.
According to the UALR Institute for Economic Advancement, Arkansas currently ranks fourth in the nation with the most people in poverty – of the 2.8 million people in Arkansas, 532,000 (one in five) are in poverty. This program will address the struggles of those living in poverty in the state and the organizations and resources available to help.
Arkansas poverty statistics. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the national poverty rate is 15 percent, and Arkansas is at 19 percent. Research from Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families shows that 183,000 children (one in four) in the state are in poverty, while the U.S. Census Bureau found 21,000 veterans in poverty. In January 2016, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reported 2,560 people were homeless in Arkansas. This segment features Gregory L. Hamilton, Ph.D., senior research economist for the UALR Institute for Economic Advancement.
Poverty in rural and urban areas. Urban and rural areas face unique struggles in poverty. Population and available resources create obstacles. Our House in Little Rock, a program for homeless and nearly homeless people, has access to many more resources than it would in a rural area, but it also gets far more requests than it can handle. Heifer USA, a division of Heifer International, is helping people in rural areas develop small farms in their own communities, but with complicated logistics, it isn't possible to help as many people as a program in an urban area. Those interviewed include: Patrick Tufford, Our House client; Georgia Mjartan, executive director, and Justin Sanders, director of client services, Our House; Ben Wihebrink, director of operations, Heifer USA; Cody Hopkins, general manager, Grass Roots Farmers' Cooperative in Clinton; Kerry Harrington, The Other Side Farm in Marshall.
Veterans in poverty. Housing affordability is the greatest housing problem among veterans, and HUD estimates that approximately 361 Arkansas veterans are homeless. This segment features retired U.S. Army Col. Mike Ross and his organization Veterans Villages of America, which strives to bring services together for veterans in need. Among those the organization is helping is World War II veteran Theoda "Uncle Jack" Butler, who at 90 years old needed assistance with repairs to his home. Also featured is Afghanistan war veteran Taylor LaBue, whose personal story of PTSD caused difficulties when he returned home. LaBue founded Veterans Impact − Central Arkansas Veterans Mental Health Council and shares how his advocacy work with veterans has given him support and purpose.
Families in poverty. Thomas and Louise Bolton, along with their five children, struggle to make ends meet in one of the highest crime areas in Little Rock. Thomas provides their only source of income, working 16 hours a day shuttling Medicaid patients from one appointment to the next. Louise looks for work herself, filling out countless applications, but a felony arrest from her youth plagues her. Unable to find a job, she focuses on furthering her education, recently obtaining an associate degree, as she hopes to put her past behind her. With bills stacking up, including a recent eviction notice, the Boltons hold to one another, more thankful for what they have than what they don't.
Phillip Fletcher, founder/executive director of City of Hope, hosts. Additional information is available at aetn.org/adeeperlook.
'A Deeper Look: The Poverty Divide in Arkansas' is part of the national initiative 'Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America,' which aims to provide a deeper understanding of the impact of poverty on society and solutions to bring people out of poverty.
'Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America' is a multi-platform public media initiative that provides a deeper understanding of the impact of poverty on American society. Major funding for this initiative is provided by The JPB Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Ford Foundation.
The Arkansas PBS is Arkansas's statewide public television network that enhances lives by providing lifelong learning opportunities for people from all walks of life. AETN delivers local, award-winning productions and classic, trusted PBS programs aimed at sharing Arkansas and the world with viewers. AETN depends on the generosity of Arkansans and the State of Arkansas to continue offering quality programming. Additional information is available at aetn.org. AETN is broadcast on KETS (Little Rock), KEMV (Mountain View), KETG (Arkadelphia), KAFT (Fayetteville), KTEJ (Jonesboro) and KETZ (El Dorado).