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Meeting the Needs of Those in Need

At FOCUS, part of our mission is to address poverty in Harris County by ministering to the material needs of our clients.

In 2014, the FOCUS Emergency Services office provided 6,056 bags of food over 12 months to feed a total of 3,178 individuals and provided financial assistance to 430 individuals.pieChart_jpg-1 2014 Bags of Food by Family Individual Breakdown 6056 bags

The next chart reflects FOCUS food distribution by month, however in November, we provided an additional 2,625 bags of food through our Thanksgiving Food Program.
2014 food distribution
2013 census records report there are 32,663 people living in Harris County. 4.8% of people reported are under 5 years of age, 22.3% under 18, and 15.9% are over 65. 8% of the total population of Harris County Georgia is reported to be under the poverty level. (i) According to 2012 records from the Kids Count Data Center, 15.9% of all children in Harris County are living below the poverty level. (iv)

This information indicates 2613+/- individuals in Harris County are currently living at or below poverty level. It is important to keep in mind this number does not reflect the additional individuals and families that struggle with changes in employment hours, loss of employment, family status change, changes personal health or the health of a family member, or other potentially devastating circumstances throughout each year, all factors which can severely alter income and need level. Transportation becomes a factor due to the rural nature of Harris County and the lack of publicly provided transportation.

In 2014 FOCUS provided assistance to 1,116 qualifying clients.pieChart_jpg 2014 Office Client Breakdown by Need 1116 total

The US Dept. of Health and Human Services uses the following chart to identify poverty level income;
2015 POVERTY GUIDELINES FOR THE 48 CONTIGUOUS STATES AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Persons in family/household – Poverty income guideline:
1 – $11,770, 2 – 15,930, 3 – 20,090, 4 – 24,250, 5 – 28,410, 6 – 32,570, 7 – 36,730, 8 – 40,890
For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $4,160 for each additional person. (ii)

According to 2013 statistics from Feeding America, 62 percent of food-insecure households participated in at least one of the three major federal food assistance programs –Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP-formerly Food Stamp Program), The National School Lunch Program (NSLP), and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) in 2013. (iii)

In addition, 11% of Harris County residents, approximately 3,500 people, are food insecure, with 39% falling 130% below poverty level, and 15% falling between 130%-185% below poverty level. This indicates nearly 6% of Harris County residents are already using federally funded programs like SNAP, WIC, free or reduced price school meals, CSFP, or TEFAP.

In simple terms, this leaves 46% of our county population at 185% or above the federal guidelines for receiving assistance. These are working families, but the term “working poor” is a reality in today’s economy. Unemployment and underemployment continue to drive increases in demand for food in Georgia, with 27% of people served by partner agencies reporting they are seeking help for the first time in their lives. Many of these families and individuals reach out to local food banks like FOCUS in order to prevent hunger. (v, vi)

FOCUS also stepped in to provide necessary home repairs for 27 families.pieChart_jpg-2 2014 Home Repairs by type 27 total

(i)Data from http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/13/13145.html
(ii)Data from http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/13/13145.html
(iii)Data from http://www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/impact-of-hunger/hunger-and-poverty/hunger-and-poverty-fact-sheet.html?gclid=CjwKEAjw25SoBRCMn7Gc97Knj0ISJAC7vaMrpJeAhIu3sYGdIDP1RjP20MtkPEySA125y3FOnvhCTRoCcULw_wcB
(iv)Data from http://datacenter.kidscount.org/data/tables/694-children-living-in-poverty?loc=12&loct=5#detailed/5/1927-2085/false/868,867,133,38,35/any/8890,8891
(v)Data from http://www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/our-research/map-the-meal-gap/2012/ga_allcountiesmmg_2012.pdf
(vi)Data from http://www.feedingamerica.org/hunger-in-america/our-research/map-the-meal-gap/2012/ga_allcountiesmmg_2012.pdf and http://georgiafoodbankassociation.org/make-a-difference/surprising-facts-about-hunger-in-georgia/