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2002 News from Mecklenburg County

August 21, 2002  


Charlotte, NC -- Deeming the effort of  "Wiping Out Poverty" in Mecklenburg County one worthy of continued work and attention, the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners voted Tuesday to extend the community goal by another five years. 

The new date unanimously approved by the BOCC -- for a goal first set in 1997-- is now July 2007. Supporters report some progress, but said the ambitious undertaking must extend beyond the original July 2002 deadline. 

"We have not wiped out poverty, but we have made progress," Richard "Jake" W. Jacobsen, Jr., director of Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services, said in his update to the BOCC. "Numerous community partnerships have been developed and enhanced through the Wipe Out Poverty effort. " 

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that 9.2 percent of Mecklenburg County's population lived in poverty in 2000, a 16 percent decline from 1995, Jacobsen said. The County's child poverty rate declined 32 percent to 11.5. The national average is 16.1 percent. 

Several partners in the effort attended the BOCC meeting, and some presented examples of progress and praised the collaborative effort created as the strategy for wiping out poverty. Creating new jobs, improving literacy, making computer technology available and hiring people coming off of public assistance are some of the successes. 

At Tuesday's regular meeting, the BOCC voted in favor of three requested actions:

>Renew the Board's community goal of Wiping Out Poverty

>Direct County staff to continue developing and enhancing community partnerships to reach this goal

>Instruct staff to report to the Board the annual results of Wiping Out Poverty, with the goal of eliminating poverty in Mecklenburg County by July 2007. 

The goal's partners include: Mecklenburg County, The City of Charlotte, Advantage Carolina, Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, Central Piedmont Community College, The Non-Profit Community, Health Care, Charlotte Housing Authority, Faith Community, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and the State of North Carolina.

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