As the average cost of living continues to rise, local resources to help those in need have seen an increase in cases, a Cumberland County official said.
On average, nearly 19% of Cumberland County residents live in poverty, according to US Census Bureau data, 6% higher than the national average. According to the report2, 6% of county residents under the age of 18 and 12% of residents over the age of 65 live in poverty.
People earning less than $13,590, a couple earning less than $18,310, or a family of three earning less than $23,030 a year are considered living in poverty, according to the 2022 poverty guidelines set by the Department of Health and Social Services.
Heather Skeens, director of the Cumberland County Department of Social Services, said by email last week that several DSS resources have seen an increase in cases.
From July 2021 to July 2022, the Temporary Assistance Program for Needy Families saw a 17.2% increase in cases; Work First Employment Services saw a 23.2% increase in cases; Medicaid saw a 7.4% increase in cases; and the Subsidized Child Care program saw a 24.7% increase in cases, Skeens said.
In contrast, the Food and Nutrition Services program, also known as the food stamp program, saw a decline of 5.01%, she said.
The DSS helps residents access health insurance, food and nutrition services, energy and water, domestic violence services, child protection, child protection adults, foster care, adoptions, transportation, childcare assistance, crisis referrals, and coordination and referral services to community partners, she says.
“We are united to strengthen individuals and families and to protect vulnerable children and adults,” Skeens said. “We work with our community partners to provide programs and services that engage our customers to improve their quality of life.”
Health and Education Editor Ariana-Jasmine Castrellon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 910-486-3561.
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