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Mayor's Summit Explores Children in Poverty


Hundreds of people gathered to hear about children in poverty in Springfield Tuesday at the 4th Annual Mayor's Summit on Children.

KSMU's Christy Hendricks talked with some at the meeting about the poverty problem in the area.

Instructors from Missouri State University answered questions about the state of children in poverty in Springfield at the 4th Annual Mayor's Summit on Children.

Missouri State University's Community and Social Issues Institute has put out a report about Springfield's children growing up in poverty.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that nearly 19-percent of kids 18 or younger in Greene County lived in poverty in 2004.

Bev Long teaches in the school of social work at Missouri State University and participated in the panel discussion.

She says some people mistakenly believe that people who live in poverty don't have jobs.

According to 2005 data from U.S. Census Bureau, a typical family of four that earns less than 20-thousand dollars is at the poverty line.

Springfield Mayor Tom Carlson says that more people need to be aware of what if means to live at or below the poverty line.

Carlson says the community needs to take a proactive approach to dealing with poverty in the city.

Dottie Mullikin is the vice-chair for the Mayor's Commission on Children.

She says people need to recognize that poverty is a problem in the area.

Mullikin says several community organizations have come together to raise funds to fight poverty.

Twenty-five local agencies, organizations and people have pledged to raise over seven million dollars for children's programs in five years through the Community Foundation of the Ozarks' "Grant-makers Challenge".

For more information about poverty in Springfield and the surrounding areas, visit www.missouristate.edu/csii/ and click on current projects.