Kentucky

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Below is a set of key data indicators related to poverty. For the original sources, click on the data point.

Poverty by demographic

  • Child poverty rate: 27%
  • Senior poverty rate: 14%
  • Women in poverty: 19.2%
  • Percent of single-parent families with related children that are below poverty: 46%
  • Number of Black and Hispanic children below 200% poverty: 100,000

Economic well-being

  • Poverty rate: 19.4%
  • Extreme poverty rate 8.1%
  • Unemployment rate: 8%
  • Food insecurity: 15.6%
  • Low-income families that work: 34.1%
  • Minimum Wage: $7.25
  • Percent of jobs that are low-wage: 22.7%
  • Percent of individuals who are uninsured: 15%
  • Number of Black children living in families where no parent has full-time, year-round employment: 52,000

Family

  • Teen birth rate per 1,000: 46.2
  • Children living in single parent families: 35%
  • Children in foster care: 6,983
  • Percent of children in immigrant families: 6%
  • Number of grandparents raising grandchildren: 86,552

Assets

  • Asset poverty rate: 21.4%
  • Unbanked households: 9.9%
  • Average college graduate debt: $22,384

Education

  • Individuals with a high school degree: 81.9%
  • Individuals with a four year college degree: 21.8%
  • Teens ages 16 to 19 not attending school and not working: 11%
  • Percent of college students with debt: 62%
  • High school graduation rate: 79.9%

Housing

  • Total households: 1,681,085
  • Renters: 31%
  • Households paying more than 30% of income on housing: 234,751
  • Homeless people: 5,230
  • Home foreclosure rate: 2.89%

Justice System

  • Number of youth residing in juvenile justice and correctional facilities: 944
  • Total incarcerated (prison and jail): 22,110

Participation in federal programs

  • Adults and children receiving welfare (TANF): 62,497
  • Children receiving food stamps (SNAP): 318,000
  • EITC recipients: 408,000
  • Households receiving federal rental assistance: 85,639
  • Families receiving child care subsidies: 14,300
  • Participants in all Head Start programs: 20,715
  • Number of children enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP: 568,450
  • Number of women and children receiving WIC (Women, Infants and Children supplemental nutrition program): 129,710
  • Households receiving LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program): 148,630

Below is a list of reports about poverty and opportunity in the state. If you have a state report you’d like featured on this page, please email Tamanna@thehatchergroup.com.


Asset-Building

The Debt Trap in the Commonwealth: The Impact of Payday Lending on Kentucky CountiesKentucky Center for Economic Policy, February 2010

A Cycle of Debt: Kentucky Families Share Their Experiences with Payday Lending and Other High-Cost Financial ServicesKentucky Youth Advocates, June 2009

Families & Children

The State of Poverty and Opportunity in KentuckyHalf in Ten, October 2011

Kentucky's Economy a Long Way from Full RecoveryKentucky Center for Economic Policy, April 2011

Kentucky Will Forego $90 Million for Jobless Workers Unless Unemployment Insurance Updates Made by AugustKentucky Center for Economic Policy, February 2011

Education

New Commitment to Need-Based Financial Aid Critical in Context of Rising TuitionKentucky Center for Economic Policy, February 2014

Improving Reentry in Kentucky through Education and Supports for Inmates and Ex-OffendersKentucky Center for Economic Policy, August 2013

A Stronger Nation through Higher Education: KentuckyLumina Foundation, March 2012

The Washington Post, August 05, 2014: Kentucky State president to share his salary with school’s lowest-paid workers

“Raymond Burse hasn't held a minimum-wage job since his high school and college years, when he worked side jobs on golf courses and paving crews. Yet this summer, the interim president at Kentucky State University made a large gesture to his school's lowest-paid employees. Burse announced that he would take a 25 percent salary cut to boost their wages.”

The Lexington Herald Leader, July 28, 2014: Designate more for low-income in affordable housing efforts

“The Central Kentucky Housing and Homeless Initiative has long been actively involved in the effort to create an Affordable Housing Trust Fund in Lexington. This organization has consistently supported the need for a high degree of operational flexibility in administering such a fund, primarily because a local fund would need that flexibility to access sources of matching funds.”

The Messenger, July 26, 2014: Medicaid expansion showing promise (Subscription Required)

“The expansion of Medicaid eligibility to more poor Kentuckians has shown positive trends in its first six months of implementation, Medicaid Commissioner Lawrence Kissner told a legislative committee Thursday.”

The Lexington Herald-Leader, July 25, 2014: VA and Lexington housing authority team up to expand housing for homeless veterans

“Warner attended a press conference Friday, where Lexington Mayor Jim Gray announced an expansion of rental income vouchers to help homeless veterans. The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Housing Authority will receive 51 Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) vouchers from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The vouchers will be administered in partnership with the Lexington Veterans Affairs Medical Center, providing rental assistance and critical support to help get veterans off the street and into housing.”

The Lexington Herald-Leader, July 22, 2014: Number of Kentucky children living in poverty increasing

“Kentucky children’s economic security is far worse off today than in 1990, according to the National KIDS COUNT Data Book released Tuesday. A news release from the Frankfort-based Kentucky Youth Advocates said the percentage of children living in poverty grew by 13 percent from 1990 to 2012, and Kentucky has now had four consecutive years in which more than one in every four children lives in poverty.”

The Courier-Journal, July 22, 2014: Report: More kids living in poverty in Ky., Ind.

“The health and education status of children in Kentucky and Indiana has moderately improved in recent years, but their economic situation has worsened, according to the annual KIDS COUNT report released Tuesday.”

The New York Times, June 26, 2014: What’s the Matter With Eastern Kentucky?

“There are many tough places in this country: the ghost cities of Detroit, Camden and Gary, the sunbaked misery of inland California and the isolated reservations where Native American communities were left to struggle. But in its persistent poverty, Eastern Kentucky — land of storybook hills and drawls ­ — just might be the hardest place to live in the United States. Statistically speaking.”

The Lexington Herald-Leader, June 19, 2014: Restoration of cuts to Kentucky's child care assistance program delayed

“State officials said this week that restoration of cuts to a program that helps pay child care for poor parents won't begin until Aug. 15, more than a month after it was originally planned.”

The Telegraph, May 30, 2014: (Op-Ed) Stumbo: It’s time to raise the minimum wage

“Despite a 2014 General Assembly in which the Kentucky State Senate refused to consider an increase in the state’s minimum wage, House Speaker Greg Stumbo made clear on Thursday, May 29 that even Republican-led states - as well as some of the nation’s largest employers - are embracing the idea of offering much needed relief to the lowest paid workers.”

The Lexington Herald-Leader, May 19, 2014: Lexington shelter ordinance, criticized as discriminating against poor, under review

“The city is taking a second look at a controversial ordinance for day services for the homeless that housing advocates and others contend is discriminatory to the poor.”

The Lexington Herald-Leader, April 22, 2014: (Editorial) Good steps on affordable housing; it's easier to get dedicated funds with clear plan

“During the past few weeks, the push in Lexington to address the related issues of homelessness and affordable housing has moved into high gear.”

The Courier-Journal, April 21, 2014: (Editorial) Hunger in Kentucky still a reality

“Percentages vary from affluent urban areas to impoverished counties of Eastern Kentucky, but on the whole, about 15.6 percent of Kentuckians are “food insecure,” meaning they can’t always afford the food they need. That translates into more than 670,000 of Kentucky’s 4.3 million people.”

The News-Enterprise, April 11, 2014: Poverty simulation allows room for compassion

“According to the council, across the Lincoln Trail Area Development District region of Breckinridge, Grayson, Hardin, LaRue, Marion, Meade, Nelson and Washington counties, one of every six individuals live in poverty. In 2011, nearly 26 percent of children in the region lived in poverty.”

The Lexington Herald-Leader, April 02, 2014: (Editorial) Lexington makes progress on affordable housing but ongoing funding still needed

“Lexington has spent years doing a lot of navel-gazing, discussing, studying and arguing about the glaring problems of homelessness and lack of affordable housing in our community. At last, the city has committed real money to begin the process of addressing these issues.”

The Cincinnati Enquirer, March 19, 2014: (Op-Ed) Restore child care assistance in Kentucky

“Eighteen years ago, when the Welfare Reform Act of 1996 was passed, as a nation we believed that low-income working families deserved public support to help them stay in the workforce, make ends meet and provide for the needs of their families. Around the same time, as a nation we were learning more about the early brain development of children and the importance of quality child care to support children's developmental needs so they are well prepared for school.”

The Lexington Herald-Leader, February 26, 2014: (Op-Ed) Apparently affordable housing isn't a priority for Lexington council, mayor

“The latest report, from czb consultants, said we need to invest $3 to $4 million initially to address the city's $36 million affordable housing problem.It's basically the same recommendations offered a year ago by the homelessness task force. Back then, Hensley said the city had a housing crisis.”

The Herald-Dispatch, January 21, 2014: (Editorial) Poverty-stricken areas have an opportunity for extra help

“Significant portions of West Virginia and Kentucky will soon have a new partner in trying to combat poverty in those regions.”

The Cincinnati Enquirer, January 08, 2014: Fight brewing over raising state's minimum wage

“As the General Assembly began its session Tuesday, Republicans and Democrats appeared poised to spar on raising the minimum wage in Kentucky.”

The Augusta Free Press, December 18, 2013: (Blog) Camille Moran: We can’t build a strong economy on a weak minimum wage

“Let’s bring the spirit of Christmas to Congress. The last time the minimum wage went up was in 2009, and, as the owner of a Christmas tree farm and other businesses, I think it’s time for another raise.”

The Washington Post, November 23, 2013: In rural Kentucky, health-care debate takes back seat as the long-uninsured line up

“But in a state where the rollout has gone smoothly, and in a county that is one of the poorest and unhealthiest in the country, Courtney Lively has been busy signing people up: cashiers from the IGA grocery, clerks from the dollar store, workers from the lock factory, call-center agents, laid-off coal miners, KFC cooks, Chinese green-card holders in town to teach Appalachian students.”

The Daily Independent, November 19, 2013: Joint effort focuses on needs of homeless

“Living without a home, whether it be by choice or circumstance, is a reality for many people and families in the Ashland area. Although all homeless people experience the same types of stress and loss, each case requires different types of attention and assistance. That is where The Neighborhood comes in.”

The Bowling Green Daily News, November 10, 2013: Cuts hit home

“With as much as 26 percent of the region's population living below the poverty level, cuts in the nation's food stamp program this month are not good news for families or the food banks that serve them.”

The Courier-Journal, November 08, 2013: (Editorial) Do kids count?

"The news just gets grimmer for Kentucky’s children. The state’s youngest children already are wracked by poverty and poor educational attainment."

The Lexington Herald-Leader, November 08, 2013: Food stamp cuts affect struggling Kentucky residents

“Howard is among the 47 million people who are affected by government cuts to the SNAP, which is said to be the largest wholesale cut in the program since Congress passed the first Food Stamps Act in 1964.”

The Floyd County Times, November 05, 2013: (Op-Ed) Food stamp cuts will hurt

“Starting this month, 875,000 people in Kentucky have less money to feed their families. They are part of the 47 million Americans who saw their SNAP (food stamp) benefits cut on Nov. 1 due to the end of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) that passed four years ago.”

The Courier-Journal, October 24, 2013: (Editorial) Cutting food stamps

“Officials announced yesterday that people who use food stamps will see cuts to their monthly benefits through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), starting Nov. 1. That’s because temporary, extra SNAP money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has run out and there won’t be any more.”

The Courier-Journal, October 23, 2013: Report: Kentucky has toughest income requirements for child care assistance

“Kentucky’s Department of Community Based Services earlier this year cut $58 million from its Child Care Assistance Program, which helps low-income parents pay for care while they go to work.”

The Bowling Green Daily News, October 13, 2013: (Editorial) Minton's right to push for higher wages for workers

“It is unacceptable that so many nonelected employees in the judiciary system fall under federal poverty guidelines for a family of four, and that a larger number qualify for food stamps based on their current salaries.”

The Business First of Louisville, October 04, 2013: Medicaid contracts mean business for Kentucky companies

“Medicaid managed-care contracts awarded by the state of Kentucky last month should mean new business and new hiring for a couple of Kentucky’s biggest insurance providers.”

The Lexington Herald Leader, October 01, 2013: (Op-Ed) Health law a chance to get already-eligible children insured

“Enrollment for Kentucky's health insurance marketplace, Kynect.ky.gov, begins today. That means the news will soon be full of stories about successes and failures, quotes about hopes and fears, and predictions about deliverance and disaster.”

The Times-Tribune, September 27, 2013: (Editorial) Pulling Kentucky out of the River of Poverty and through economic storms

“A new 24/7 Wall St. report reveals that only four states are poorer than Kentucky. Kentucky’s poverty rate of 19.4 percent in 2012 was much higher than the national rate, which is less than 16 percent; median income is under $42,000 a year — more than $9,000 below the national median.”

The Herald-Dispatch, September 19, 2013: (Editorial) States face a challenge in closing health care gap

“Not surprisingly, West Virginia and Kentucky have fared poorly in a new health study released this week, this one focused on how well low-income people are served.”

The Daily Independent, August 07, 2013: (Editorial) Receiving care

“How ironic it would be if the Affordable Health Care Act — aka Obamacare — actually make it more difficult for low-income Kentucky residents to receive health care even though an estimated 300,000 more state residents are expected to qualify for Medicaid under the controversial law.”

The Lexington Herald-Leader, July 31, 2013: Review: Number of Ky. Medicaid providers

“The number of Medicaid providers for the poor, disabled and elderly in Kentucky declined 8 percent after the state moved to a managed care system two years ago, according to a review released Wednesday.”

The Lexington Herald-Leader, July 30, 2013: (Op-Ed) Ky. Republicans should know food stamps feed their young and elderly constituents

“Despite assurances from the Republicans who control the House that they would consider reauthorizing the nutrition program before it runs out in October, a conference committee with the Senate has yet to materialize. While Congress dithers, the food security of millions of Americans and 800,000 Kentuckians is in jeopardy.”

The Tennessean, July 21, 2013: Tennessee, Kentucky are miles apart on Medicaid

“Kentucky has accepted federal funding from the Affordable Care Act to expand the government insurance program for the poor. Tennessee, where political opposition to “Obamacare” runs strong, has not. Kentucky is an anomaly in the South.”

The Courier-Journal, July 19, 2013: Kentucky, Indiana meetings seek suggestions for easing poor’s bridge toll burden

“Construction has begun, and the final legal challenge to the Ohio River Bridges Project has been swept aside, but Kentucky and Indiana still need to resolve how to lessen the sting of bridge tolls on the area’s low-income and minority residents. The federal government requires such a plan, and the states are weighing a number of options that include waiving tolls for buses and allowing low-income commuters to buy only a few trips at a time.”

The Lexington Herald-Leader, July 15, 2013: Displaced Ky. elderly moving to Ohio nursing homes

“A lack of available beds for senior citizens in the Kentucky area neighboring Ohio is increasingly forcing many to move north of the Ohio river, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer. The newspaper's investigation showed that Ohio taxpayers shell out more than $6 million per year for the Kentucky patients covered by Medicaid. Sixty percent of the cost is paid using federal dollars and the rest is picked up by the state.”

The Cincinnati Enquirer, July 14, 2013: (Op-Ed) Beshear did right thing on Medicaid

“Let's consider Gov. Steve Beshear's decision that Kentucky will participate in Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). In Kentucky, effective Oct. 1, people whose annual income is below 138 percent of the federal poverty level ($15,856 per year for a single individual, plus about $5,500 per dependent) may enroll in Medicaid for coverage that will begin Jan. 1, 2014.”

The Bowling Green Daily News, July 13, 2013: (Editorial) Jumping on Obamacare’s Medicaid bandwagon while tumbling over the fiscal cliff

“While the constitutionality of Gov. Steve Beshear’s decision to heave Kentucky onto Obamacare’s Medicaid wagon – the one that rolled through the hills of the Bluegrass State last May – is being challenged in court, there also are plenty of concerns about whether adding hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians to the government health-care dole is worth the cost.”

The Evening News and Tribune, July 10, 2013: (Op-Ed) Anderson: Kicking out complacency in ending homelessness

“Homelessness in Southern Indiana is real, but it is different from homelessness in Louisville. How? Very simply put: money. It is easy to point fingers and say the folks in Jeffersonville are not as enlightened as Louisvillians. After all for 30 years Louisville has had a Coalition for the Homeless. Also, Louisville has several million dollars to address homelessness because it is an entitlement community. It is much easier to address an issue when you have the resources to do so.”

The Courier-Journal, July 04, 2013: Reading program helps Louisville homeless children keep pace

“This summer, instead of hanging out poolside or playing outside all day, about 100 Jefferson County Public Schools students will be working on reading comprehension as part of the district’s Summer Reading Institute. The program, which is in its first year, is JCPS’ way of reaching its homeless students, who number more than many people realize, said John David Marshall, JCPS assistant superintendent of diversity, equity and poverty.”

The Courier-Journal, June 24, 2013: (Editorial) The future for kids

“In Kentucky and Indiana, poverty is worsening for children, according to the latest Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Kids Count report, which serves as an annual update on the welfare of children, state by state. And with poverty come a host of poor outcomes for children — including educational attainment, living conditions, abuse, neglect, health and hunger. If you doubt the last item, please read the letter on this page about child hunger in Kentucky and the nation.”

The Lexington Herald-Leader, May 12, 2013: Settled in its new home, Berea's New Opportunity School for Women gears up for a new session

“The school focuses on low-income middle-age women from Appalachia, many of whom married young, became young mothers, and lack the skills and education needed to raise themselves from poverty. It takes 14 women at a time for a three-week session that teaches them everything from self-esteem to literature, taking care of themselves medically to visiting the state Capitol. It also gives them clothing and accessories to wear to job interviews.”

The Courier-Journal, May 12, 2013: (Editorial) Huge step toward better health

“Under the expansion, which takes effect in 2014, about 308,000 Kentuckians will become eligible for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, which changes the government health plan from one that serves only the very poor and disabled to one based on income. The expansion allows anyone at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level to sign up.”

The Courier-Journal, May 10, 2013: Medicaid health insurance to expand under Obamacare in Kentucky

“More than 300,000 uninsured Kentuckians will become eligible for Medicaid after Gov. Steve Beshear announced Thursday that the state will expand the health insurance program - taking advantage of President Barack Obama's controversial Affordable Care Act.”

The Courier-Journal, May 09, 2013: (Editorial) Dental decay a public health crisis

“Better access to care is critical. If low-income families are lucky enough to have dental coverage, it often is through Medicaid, which limits services to adults. And the number of dentists across the state who accept Medicaid is shrinking, largely because low reimbursement doesn't cover expenses.”

The Courier-Journal, May 05, 2013: Poor Kentuckians lose teeth, endure pain when few care options are available

“More than a quarter of Kentucky seniors - 27 percent, federal figures show - have had all their natural teeth extracted, ahead of only West Virginia and Tennessee. And 53 percent of Kentucky adults have had at least one permanent tooth pulled. A shrinking number of dentists across the state take Medicaid, and more than half of Kentucky adults have no dental insurance. Waits at some safety-net clinics can stretch to half a year, and a mobile dental service run by Louisville's health department recently stopped when its dentist left.”

The Lexington Herald-Leader, April 18, 2013: (Editorial) Homeless office a sound investement; it could save lives, city funds

“The ER costs borne by either taxpayers or paying patients and their insurers are drastically lower. So are the number of times police and ambulance time were diverted from other duties to tend to him. The recommendations of the task force Gray appointed to study homelessness and affordable housing in Lexington take into account the wide range of assistance — what are called wrap-around services — required to seriously reduce homelessness, thereby reducing civic costs and human suffering.”

The Courier-Journal, April 15, 2013: Louisville's health disparity a matter of race, income

“The equity report cited research on the links between poverty and health. For example, the report said, lower socioeconomic status is linked to hostility and depression, which are associated with coronary heart disease. It also pointed to research showing that poverty limits access to resources such as good housing, stable health insurance and healthful food.”

The Courier-Journal, April 12, 2013: Indiana groups launch effort to help undereducated adults

“Jenna Keller Berdel, a strategy officer with the Lumina Foundation, an Indianapolis-based private foundation that focuses on getting more low-income students to enroll and complete college, said she hopes groups working to boost education focus on low-income students.”

The Lexington Herald Leader, April 01, 2013: (Op-Ed) Higher tobacco tax wouldn't solve any of Ky's problems

“Unfortunately, cigarette tax hikes would ultimately harm consumers, retailers and the economy, all while likely failing to meet revenue estimates. Picking an easy target in "sin taxes" is an obvious cover for reckless fiscal management, and Kentuckians should see right through such a politically motivated gambit. For one, low-income earners are more likely to smoke, and thus a 67 percent tobacco tax hike would hit Kentuckians suffering most during the continued economic uncertainty.”

The Courier-Journal, March 31, 2013: Federal aid offers workers a helping hand

“Designed to build assets, the federal program is designed to ‘give low-income families a hand up out of poverty,’ according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. The savings accounts are for Louisville-area workers who earn an average of $11 per hour or less.”

Messenger-Inquirer, March 16, 2013: Schools prepare for cuts

“A recent estimate by state Education Commissioner Terry Holliday forced a harsh retabulation of school budgets last week. District administrators face up to 9.2 percent in federal, across-the-board budget cuts prompted by the March 1 sequestration. Funding to special education and low-income learners will take the hardest hits, Holliday said. The cuts will slice up to $3 billion nationally in education alone.”

The Lexington Herald Leader, March 02, 2013: (Op-Ed) Program offers free help on taxes

“While our local economy is rebounding, we still have a long way to go before all of our citizens feel financially stable. As we go through tax season, many citizens who may be struggling to make ends meet should be aware of an important service in our community: the Central Kentucky Economic Empowerment Program or CKEEP.”

The Lexington Herald Leader, March 01, 2013: (Op-Ed) Hunger too big a problem to leave just to charities

“While some would like to believe that hunger is a problem better solved by charity, charity can't do it alone. We also need a strong federal safety net. Speaking from the front lines, we are barely able to keep up with existing need, and there is no way we could make up the difference if federal anti-hunger programs are cut, as some in Washington have proposed.”

The Lexington Herald Leader, February 26, 2013: (Op-Ed) Cutting child-care subsidies traps Kentucky in cycle of neglect, poverty

“Reducing the eligibility for child-care assistance will force parents living marginally above the poverty line, whose options are already limited, to make choices that will undoubtedly negatively affect their, and their children's, lives.”

The San Francisco Chronicle, February 22, 2013: Senate OKs bills to give assembly say on Medicaid

“The Senate approved two bills Friday that would give the Legislature more say on the federal health care overhaul's role in Kentucky. The measures would allow lawmakers to vote on whether Kentucky expands the Medicaid program and sets up a state-run marketplace to sell insurance to individuals and small businesses.”

Business First of Louisville, February 20, 2013: Louisville working with national group to engage poor citizens

“Living Cities Inc. has selected Louisville for an initiative to learn new ways to increase and encourage civic engagement with urban millennials living in poverty. The Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization is a national collaborative of 22 of the world's largest foundations and financial institutions that works to improve the lives of low-income citizens.”

The Lexington Herald-Leader, February 17, 2013: 6th Walk for Warmth raised $11,900 for homeless program

“The sixth annual Walk for Warmth drew 170 participants and raised $11,900 for Lexington Rescue Mission’s Homeless Prevention Program, according to Natalie Cunningham of the mission.”

The Lexington Herald Leader, February 11, 2013: (Op-Ed) Decimating child care will destroy Kentucky's future

“The state recently announced an $86 million cut in child-care assistance for low-income working parents. Also included in the cuts are subsidies to relatives raising abused or neglected children. That's quite a statement for a governor who hung his hat on a platform of the importance of early childhood education and created a statewide Early Childhood Advisory Council and a Governor's Office of Early Childhood, none of which has made any comment on the impending collapse of the system that houses most of our children younger than 5.”

Messenger-Inquirer, February 09, 2013: Homeless count lower than expected

“One of the reasons the count was low, Johnson said, was rainy weather probably held down attendance at Owensboro Christian Church, where the count was held. The homeless were informed of the count, encouraged to participate and given bus passes to get to the church where a resource fair was held, along with a meal, shower facilities and other incentives such as haircuts and dental screenings.”

The Lexington Herald Leader, February 03, 2013: (Op-Ed) Focus Lexington economic efforts on ending poverty

“A successful, prosperous future for Lexington is a goal we all share. We will not succeed, however, if fully one quarter of our children are growing up in poverty and lack the economic and social opportunities they need to succeed. Our schools and the early childhood community are making great strides to ensure preschool-age children have a good foundation. But we have done little as a community to ensure pre-teens and teens from households with low-incomes are on a track for success.”

The Lexington Herald Leader, February 01, 2013: Volunteers find 51 people in Lexington's 'unsheltered homeless' count

“When the counting of people on the streets ended late Thursday night, volunteers had found 51 homeless people living under overpasses, surviving in rude campsites, or taking cover anywhere they could find it around Lexington.”

The Courier-Journal, January 25, 2013: Earned income tax credit a bonanza for low-income workers

“An estimated one in 10 Louisville households already benefits by claiming the credit, Yarmuth said. Still, 20 percent of those who are eligible do not apply, he said, possibly because they are unaware they can. ‘The earned income tax credit is proven to be the best way to help individuals and families get out of poverty,’ Yarmuth said, adding that the average resulting tax refund is $2,200.”

The Courier-Journal, January 19, 2013: Louisville Food Stamp Challenge: Eat for $4.50 a day

“Janet Hodes plans to eat next week on a total budget of just $31.50 , equivalent to the average subsidy each food stamp recipient receives. Roughly one in five Jefferson County households get food stamps — and as the number of people who depend on them climbs, Hodes is joining a Jewish Community of Louisville campaign to show people what it’s like to live on the meager stipend of roughly $1.50 per meal .”

The Lexington Herald Leader, January 11, 2013: (Op-Ed) Move beyond test mania; bring sanity back into schools

“This entire testing mania came about because children from poverty were not succeeding in school as well as middle-class children. So, without research or analysis, politicians decided that the problem was teachers. They decided that if we test the children and publish the scores, it will shame teachers into doing a better job and prompt the public to demand better. For a decade now we have tried it, and it hasn't worked. The gap between kids from poverty and the middle class remains, but the aftermath has been disastrous.”

Messenger-Inquirer, January 10, 2013: Expert Crouch gives GRADD a wealth of data

“One of the greatest misperceptions is that Kentuckians who receive food stamps and other income maintenance benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income, are receiving a major share of the state's budget, Crouch said. However, the Personal Current Transfer Receipts (to individuals from the government) from the Bureau of Economic Analysis shows that the largest percent (40.03) goes for Medicare and public assistance/military medical care benefits.”

The Lexington Herald-Leader, January 04, 2013: New program offers recovering addicts affordable housing

“Nichol and his extended family have long been supporters of the Chrysalis House and also have an interest in providing quality, low-income housing. The two passions came together in a program that allows Chrysalis House graduates like Fox a chance to sublet an apartment through the recovery program until they can support themselves.”

The Courier-Journal, December 28, 2012: One in four Kentucky kids living in poverty, report says

“A quarter of Kentucky children live in poverty - more than 240,000 across the commonwealth. And those numbers are on the rise, according to a report released Friday. They are among the statistics in the Kentucky Kids Count 2012 County Data Book, a joint project of Kentucky Youth Advocates and the Kentucky State Data Center at the University of Louisville.”

The Lexington Herald Reader, December 17, 2012: (Op-Ed) Ky. Voices: Seniors should focus on saving at-risk children

"How can we begin today to create the skilled future work force of tomorrow? Let's start by boosting enrollment eligibility in the Kentucky Preschool Program from 150 percent to 200 percent of the poverty level. This would give almost 4,000 more 4-year-olds and their families access to a quality early education."

The Courier-Journal, November 30, 2012: Louisville-area homeownership lowest in 8 years

“There were about 12,400 homeless students in Jefferson County Public Schools during the 2011-2012 school year. That amounted to about 13 percent of all students and a 21 percent increase from the prior year, according to the housing coalition. The school district's figures show about 100 fewer homeless students, with the difference attributed to students who didn't finish the school year in the system.”

The Lexington Herald Leader, November 21, 2012: Ky. cities need local tax option; tax credit would aid working poor

“The idea behind the EITC is that a family shouldn't be poor if a parent is working full-time. The credit enables eligible workers to reclaim all of the federal income tax that was withheld from their paychecks, plus a refund up to the amount of the credit if the credit is more than the tax liability.”

The Courier-Journal, November 09, 2012: Study points to problems in Medicaid managed care

“A new study funded by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky says the state's Medicaid managed-care program has led to gaps in health care services and appears to lack case management efforts needed to improve care. Gov. Steve Beshear implemented the managed-care system in November 2011 with the goal of saving millions of dollars and improving health care for roughly 560,000 low-income and disabled beneficiaries outside the Jefferson County region.”

Messenger-Inquirer, November 08, 2012: Homes for Hope to break ground Friday (Subscription Required)

“Jagoe Homes will break ground on a Homes for Hope project house Friday, the proceeds from the sale of which will go, in part, to Aid the Homeless in Owensboro, as well as a ministry that helps people escape poverty in Third World countries.”

Business First, November 08, 2012: Poverty in Kentucky ranks high by any measure

“Kentucky has one of the highest poverty rates in the country, according to the latest federal statistics. Depending on which indicator used to measure poverty - the federal poverty level for households, or the percentage of individuals, regardless of family status, who are considered poor - Kentucky ranks as having either the seventh- or fifth-worst poverty rate among all U.S. states and the District of Columbia.”

Messenger-Inquirer, November 06, 2012: Delay prevents LIHEAP availability (Subscription Required)

“Because of a delay in the allocation of Low Income Housing Energy Assistance Program funds at the federal level, Audubon Area Community Services will not be able to help with their clients' utility bills just yet. The application process for LIHEAP funds began on Monday and will continue as usual. However, money is not yet available and AACS can't forward those applications to the utility companies.”

The Courier-Journal, October 26, 2012: Signups starting for low-income residents seeking assistance with heating bills

“The subsidy phase of the annual program that helps low income residents of Metro Louisville with utility bills begins Nov. 5 and will run through Dec. 14. The program, known as LIHEAP, for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, is operated by the Louisville Metro Community Action Partnership.”

The Lexington Herald-Leader, October 11, 2012: Lexington council decides to wait on regulation of homeless shelters

“Lexington's Urban County Council agreed Thursday to delay voting on a proposed regulation that would require any organization wanting to open a homeless shelter in the city to get a permit from the Board of Adjustment.”

The Lexington Herald Leader, October 09, 2012: Use of antipsychotic drugs up sharply among poor children in Kentucky

“Antipsychotic drugs given to poor children under Kentucky's Medicaid program jumped 270 percent from 2000 to 2010, according to a report prepared by the University of Kentucky's Center for Business and Economic Research. Minority children received these drugs at three times the rate of white children, and the incidence of prescribing varies wildly from region to region, county to county.”

The Courier-Journal, October 08, 2012: Homeless can get help at one-stop 'VA Stand Down' Wednesday

“Louisville's homeless population will have access to services, information and assistance in an, all-day one-stop environment at the 2012 Project Homeless Connect/VA Stand Down Wednesday. They will be able to get food, clothing, medical evaluations, help with employment, education and benefit services, and many other forms of assistance.”

The Lexington Herald Leader, October 04, 2012: (Editorial) Don't rush to limit shelters; wait for homeless commission plan

“No one neighborhood should have to shoulder responsibility for Lexington's homeless population. The responsibility is much broader than that, and lasting solutions will require broad community support. Coming up with recommendations that can win that necessary support is one of the challenges facing a commission appointed by Mayor Jim Gray.”

The Lexington Herald Leader, October 03, 2012: (Op-Ed) Groups aim to sign up, educate unregistered voters

“Their targets will be unregistered people using public transportation, as well as college students, busy blue-collar workers, the low-income population and the homeless. ‘During our voter registration efforts, we attempt to go out to the places in the community where we can meet folks who likely aren't registered,’ said Ondine Miranda Quinn, Central Kentucky organizer for the grassroots group.”

The Lexington Herald Leader, October 02, 2012: New homeless shelters would need permits, notification under Lexington proposal

“Anyone wanting to open a homeless shelter in Lexington would have to get a permit from the Board of Adjustment under a new regulation proposed at Tuesday's Urban County Council work session. The regulation would create a new definition for an adult day-care center and require a permit if it is closer than 500 feet to a residential area.”

The Courier-Journal, September 25, 2012: Low-income Bullitt students eligible for free dental care

“Students from low-income families in Bullitt County may now qualify to receive free dental work from two nonprofit agencies. The Bullitt County Public School Board agreed last week to let Arizona-based Big Smiles bring its dental program into schools where at least 35 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced lunch.”

The Lexington Herald Leader, September 10, 2012: (Op-Ed) Demonizing the homeless leads to fear and violence

“The mayor recently established a Commission on Homelessness to address these and other homeless issues in Lexington. Given concerns about increasing violence against homeless people and public policies that seek to criminalize homelessness, it seems far better for our city to approach concerns regarding homelessness in a collaborative and compassionate way as an inclusive community and not slip into the ugly and hostile patterns to which some cities have succumbed.”

The Lexington Herald Leader, September 10, 2012: (Op-Ed) Demonizing the homeless leads to fear and violence

“The National Coalition for the Homeless is seeking to change that. As part of the organization's ongoing effort to highlight this type of crime, it publishes a biannual report detailing its research into hate crimes committed against homeless people. In the most recent edition, ‘Hate Crimes Against the Homeless: Violence Hidden in Plain View,’ they tabulated these crimes from across the country. Kentucky is barely noted in the statistics, with just three incidents in the past 12 years.”

Messenger-Inquirer, August 21, 2012: Wal-Mart gives program $50,000 grant

“The Wal-Mart Foundation awarded the Daniel Pitino Shelter a $50,000 grant Monday to help with the shelter's soup kitchen, life skills program and general fund. The Pitino Shelter houses 65 residents and feeds from 60 to 256 people at lunch every day. The shelter was created in 1993 to create emergency and transitional housing for the growing number of homeless people in Owensboro and Daviess County.”

Messenger-Inquirer, August 21, 2012: Board will help poor with water bills

“The Regional Water Resource Agency pledged up to $10,000 Monday to help needy families pay for higher sewer bills related to this summer's drought.”

The Lexington Herald Leader, July 18, 2012: Ky. balancing budgets on students' backs

“Herald-Leader reporter Linda Blackford on Sunday provided some insight into why the graduation rate of low-income students fell from 46 percent to 35 percent: The legislature routinely raids lottery funds intended for need-based financial aid to balance the state budget.”

The Lexington Herald Leader, July 14, 2012: Expand Medicaid to help Kentucky's poor

"Nearly 15 percent of Kentuckians lack health insurance, including about 290,000 low-income adults who would be eligible for the Medicaid expansion. It may surprise many that about eight out of 10 uninsured Kentuckians are working adults. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Kentucky could benefit greatly as a result of the Medicaid expansion — with about 57 percent of uninsured adults eligible for coverage."

Business First of Louisville, July 6, 2012: Kentucky may benefit most from Medicaid expansion

"Kentucky stands to benefit most from the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, according to a study. The health care law expands Medicaid to nearly all individuals under age 65 with incomes of as much as 133 percent of the federal poverty line, according to the Lexington-based Lane Report."

The Lexington Herald Leader, May 12, 2012: Is Lexington homeless shelter also a church? City says no

"Lexington zoning officials are attempting to force the closing of the Community Inn, an overnight homeless shelter on Winchester Road. They say that a conditional-use permit allows a church at the site, but that the Community Inn is not a church."

Deseret Morning News, April 28, 2012: Obese, hungry and undernourished: the new face of food insecurity

"But it also serves to highlight complicated links between poverty, nutrition, obesity and overall well-being. Insecurity or hunger? 'Those public service announcements come back to haunt me,' said Mark Nord, the USDA sociologist in charge of food insecurity data."

Courier-Post, April 18, 2012: Students put a face to proposed loan cuts

"Navrot and 12 other Rutgers students urged lawmakers to continue supporting Pell Grants for low-income students and to reverse long-standing plans to increase the interest rate on subsidized college loans from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent, an increase Navrot said would be "insurmountable."

The Lexington Herald Leader, March 27, 2012: Wealth redistribution unfair, yet economic insecurity volatile

"This has been a body blow to mid- and low-wage workers, but the highly placed and educated have benefited enormously. When companies replace workers with robots and secretaries with software, the savings are passed on to executives and shareholders. This upward shift in wealth also benefited from significant reductions in the tax rate on upper income since 1980."

The Lexington Herald Leader, March 20, 2012: (Editorial) Retired educator finances scholarships designed to give back

"When Head Start was launched in 1964 as a piece of President Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty, Bill Ferzacca traveled as a national consultant, informing people about how the new federal law would help disadvantaged children get better prepared for kindergarten."

The Lexington Herald Leader, March 18, 2012: Ky Voices: A chance to improve Ky dental health

"With nearly a fourth of Kentucky's 1 million children living in poverty and suffering some of the worst oral health in America, the state Board of Dentistry voted recently to develop regulations to permit hygienists to treat children in a public-health setting, perhaps stemming a near-epidemic of tooth decay in the very young."

The Lexington Herald Leader, February 27, 2012: (Op-Ed) Ky. needs comprehensive early-childhood system

"We know low-income children in particular are likely to enter kindergarten one or two years behind in language and other important skills. We know almost one half of children in many Appalachian counties are living in poverty."

The Lexington Herald Leader, February 11, 2012: Almost half of Fayette students rely on free or reduced-cost school meals

"District figures show that, as of January, 49.4 percent of students enrolled in the Fayette County Public Schools were receiving free or reduced-cost school meals, based on their families' low incomes."

The Courier-Journal, January 27, 2012: City clears way for using school for housing

"The Louisville Metro Council unanimously approved a resolution Thursday that allows the city to buy the old Maupin Elementary School and transfer it to the nonprofit Family Scholar House, which will turn the blighted property into affordable housing for single-parent college students."

Messenger-Inquirer, January 18, 2012: KYA suggests more accountability in child abuse cases (Subscription Required)

"About 250 people attended the session that featured representatives from the executive, legislative and judicial branches of state government, child welfare professionals and advocates, as well as concerned citizens, discussing possible improvements to the child welfare system. The event was sponsored by Kentucky Youth Advocates."

The Lexington Herald Leader, January 3, 2012: Kentucky should recommit to children, restore funding for early care programs

"Kentucky has had a pre-school program in our public schools since the 1990 passage of the Kentucky Education Reform Act. Families with incomes of up to 150 percent of the federal poverty level qualify for the program."

The Courier-Journal, December 21, 2011: Crosby Middle School students are driven to help homeless kids

"Crosby Middle School eighth-grader Breya Jones said she was pretty sure she understood what homeless people looked like, and until a couple of weeks ago, that image didn't look anything like her. She had no idea that at least 28 of her schoolmates are considered to be homeless by the district."

The Courier-Journal, December 20, 2011: 35,000 students will receive free weekend meals

"A program that stuffs thousands of backpacks full of peanut butter, crackers and cereal every Friday so Jefferson County elementary students from low-income homes have something to eat each weekend is about get much bigger."

The Lexington Herald Leader, November 6, 2011: Older teens left behind by Kentucky's foster-care program

"Johnson was recently evicted from her apartment because she could not pay rent and water and electric bills. Since then, Johnson and her 11-month-old daughter, Love Roberts, have been staying with a friend in a quiet apartment community in Lexington."

The Courier-Journal, October 30, 2011: Workers apply for seasonal slots, hoping to get a foot in the door

"Holiday jobs at malls and warehouses have traditionally been taken by teachers, college students and others looking to pick up a little extra spending money. The jobs typically last no longer than a couple of months and pay minimum wage or only slightly more, with no health insurance or retirement benefits."

Chattanooga Times Free Press, October 30, 2011: Vets' use of shelters declines

"Homeless veterans are most likely to be middle-aged white men with a disability. Younger veterans are more than twice as likely to be homeless than nonveterans in the same age group. And California has the most homeless veterans of any state, accounting for about a quarter of the nation's total."

Ventura County Star, October 12, 2011: Life in food desert can be fattening

"The U.S. Agriculture Departmentdefines it as a census district where at least 20 percent of the inhabitants are below the poverty line and 33 percentlive more than a mile from the nearest supermarket."

The Lexington Herald Leader, September 29, 2011: Test scores reveal Ky. educational challenges

"Poverty is assuredly a factor in the achievement gap. But it's not the whole story. Students who receive free or reduced-price school meals, the common measure of poverty, are performing better than black students."

The Courier-Journal, September 28, 2011: Oldham schools fall short of testing goals

"Oldham as a district made 15 of 22 of its goals this year, falling short with math and reading among black students, low-income students and students with disabilities. The district also missed it's math goal among Hispanic students."

The Courier-Journal, September 26, 2011: Less than half of Kentucky schools meeting; No Child Left Behind goals

"For the first time, the majority of Kentucky's public schools have failed to meet federal goals in reading and math on statewide tests, according to state test results released Tuesday."

The Courier-Journal, September 24, 2011: Just the ticket to reduce panhandling in Louisville

"Assistant County Attorney Pamela Rochester, who worked with Hensley, had already received another request and was planning to attend a church service for the homeless this morning to gauge the interest level."

The New York Times, September 9, 2011: Vegetable Gardens Are Booming in a Fallow Economy

"Still, the rates of obesity and diabetes remain high, and a significant improvement in health will be possible only when the joblessness and poverty here ease, locals said. Ms. Fannin said vegetables could be part of this area's economic future. "