RICHMOND, Virginia – New data showed staggering trends among central Virginians of those living in poverty.
Blacks and Latinos in Greater Richmond and Petersburg faced significant inequalities in income and poverty levels, according to United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg.
In its latest edition of the Equity Data Series, the nonprofit found that nearly 30% of blacks in the region live below 200% of the poverty line.
“It’s not just a number. It’s a person, it’s a family, it’s our community members and our friends,” said Audrey Trussell, vice president of Community Impact. “Blacks make up about 29% of the population, but they make up half of those in poverty.”
Meanwhile, data showed Latinos made up just 6% of the population but made up 15% of people living in poverty in the region, according to this report.
Compared to white populations, who made up 62 percent of the population, they made up 41 percent of those in poverty, according to the study.
Trussell said the pandemic has not helped these trends.
“We’re starting to see an even bigger gap between people who are already doing well, already financially stable, and those who weren’t,” Trussell said.
She said barriers to accessing banking services could make the problem worse.
“It’s estimated that about $ 40,000, over a lifetime, is spent by households that don’t have standard banking access. It’s because of fees and costs,” Trussell said.
She added that there were several reasons for the unbanked and underbanked populations, such as bad credit history, mistrust of the system or even transportation.
That’s where a Richmond nonprofit called HumanKind comes in. Through a program called “Ways to Work”, the nonprofit was able to not only provide car loans at fair interest rates, but also educate people on how to manage their finances.
“We can give them the keys to the car. And then that person can suddenly go out and be interviewed for jobs that they never thought were possible, can consider moving to neighborhoods, accessing resources,” said Jonathan Gedeon of the Capital Region. Program manager.
“It really starts with helping a person, and then, you know, that person can teach that to their children, and their children can teach that to their children or their family members. And it has a much bigger impact.” , Gedeon added.
United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg was investing over half a million dollars in 15 different programs among 14 different nonprofits like HumanKind to tackle barriers to fair income and close this gap.
“There is still work to be done. And we don’t have to wrap around that when everyone in our community flourishes, the whole community flourishes. And so, we have to be very honest in this conversation that we’re making great strides, but we can’t let go, ”Trussell said.