SANTA MARIA - The Snapshot of Poverty in Santa Barbara County study reveals more than 57,000 people in the county are living in poverty, at or below the federal poverty line of about $22,000 a year for a family of four with an even higher "self sufficiency" standard.
"In fact a single parent of a pre-schooler and a child would actually need three minimum wage jobs just to be meet self sufficiency", says Gabriela Sandoval, consultant for the poverty study who presented its findings to the County Board of Supervisors Tuesday afternoon.
The study found the largest concentration of those living in poverty in the county are in West Santa Barbara, Isla Vista, Lompoc and Northwest Santa Maria.
"In those high poverty areas, 20 percent or more of the population in those areas live below the federal poverty thresholds", Sandoval says.
Sandoval says the economic downturn over the past six years is behind the growth in poverty countywide.
"A lot of people thought that we would find that people in poverty aren't working when in fact they are working", Sandoval says about the study that was done last year, "so it definitely has to do with the quality of jobs available, it has to do with the training available to people so that they can access better paying jobs, higher quality jobs, it has to do with a lack of affordable housing."
Santa Barbara County's Department of Social Services plans to use the study to develop new strategies and program to help lift more people out of the poverty but the study's authors say its not something government can do alone.
"We actually looked at stakeholders from non-profits, from funding agencies, from social services", Sandoval says, "so this will require kind of a concerted collective effort."
To read the Snapshot of Poverty in Santa Barbara County study go to:
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