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Charlottesville Poverty Report Released - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Charlottesville Poverty Report Released

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Tuesday morning, the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce released the Orange Dot Project report, revealing the extent of poverty in Charlottesville.

The findings indicate, of the 7,000 families in the city of Charlottesville, one in five do not make enough money to live on their own. And one in three can't afford child care and transportation costs.

"They're struggling in poverty and one of the reasons is the lack of jobs that fit the skill set within that community," said Tim Hulbert of the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce.

The report recommends new job creation strategies that should target these pockets of poverty.

Mary Carey, a recent retiree is learning how hard it is to pay the bills. "I'm struggling to try to keep things going the way they should go…food, clothes, whatever. Rent, housing, whatever, it's just ridiculous," she said.

Jennifer Johnson works a job and still struggles. "My money goes strictly to bills. I don't have any extra or anything. I have to borrow money to get to work," said Johnson.

The Orange Dot project puts that story from the streets into statistics.

Orange Dot Project Author Ridge Schuyler said, "When you look in the middle of the city of Charlottesville, you see a big orange dot and that's where all the poor people live."

The median income in several neighborhoods, like Rose Hill and 10th and Page, falls below $30,000 a year. But they're surrounded by neighborhoods where the median income reaches nearly $103,000.

The study finds one in three families, doesn't make enough money to pay the basic bills on top of the costs connected with working.

"Now we know the size of the problem and the scope of the problem and now we can develop a solution that is adequate to the problem we face," said Schuyler.

The project outlines a timeline for immediate improvements, like creating a community job hub connecting the city, university, and home-based companies to people who need work.

Schuyler adds, "Our focus needs to be on job creation that is intentionally focused on these families in these communities to help them find decent work so they can provide for their families."

Carey says the people who live it everyday need to be a part of that solution. "If you don't experience it, you do not know how other people feel," she added.

The report pushes the city to start up that job hub by the end of this year. It also suggests the city change its zoning restrictions to allow light manufacturing and commercial uses in some of those low-income neighborhoods.

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