The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Breaking News

Reality Check

June 25, 2008

POOR BUT WORKING

Those low-paying jobs add to county’s poverty

A winter wind blew across the parking lot of the Neighbor to Neighbor Food Pantry next to St. Joseph’s Church in Ashtabula; the six adults lined up at the door turned their faces from the wind, toward the metaphoric concrete wall of the building.

Acustomed to being between the proverbial rock and a hard place, they were downcast and unhappy about having to seek a hand-out. No one was smiling. For some, the Friday morning visit to the food pantry is a monthly appointment. For a 50-some woman wearing a black fleece top and jeans, her graying black hair rising with the wind, it was a new experience. She’d always managed to pay her own way; it wasn’t going to happen this month, however.

“Just because I work and get paid doesn’t mean it pays all my bills,” said the woman, who didn’t want to be identified. “They don’t realize that more goes out than comes in. This winter, I don’t know whether to heat the house or put gas in my car.”

The woman works 40 hours a week, in a chain retail store. She’s been there six years and earns $7.42 an hour after the 20-cent raise she got in 2007.

“Isn’t that a shame,” she says. “Good God, they expect you to live on that.”

Do the math, that’s $296 a week, $15,433 a year, IF she works full-time, which she does not. The woman expected to have her hours cut after the Christmas holiday, returning her to part-time status, which carries no benefits.

“What do they think we are supposed to do? Everything is going up,” she asks.



According the 2006 estimate from the U.S. Census Bureau, 16.7 percent of the individuals, and 11.8 percent of the families, in Ashtabula County were living below the poverty level. Those are the highest rates of any lakeshore county in Ohio, including Cuyahoga County, where the rates are 14.8 and 11.4 percent, respectively.

1
2 3 4 5 6 7
Text Only
Reality Check
  • images_sizedimage_070165730 Why are we hurting so? It’s time for a reality check.: Main story, Day one

    June 25, 2008 1 Photo

  • images_sizedimage_069193501 Beyond wineries and covered bridges … An introduction to reality check

    June 25, 2008 1 Photo

  • What it is, how it’s calculated Determining per capita income is a complex exercise that — at best — is a mathematical expression of a moving target.

    In its simplest terms, per capita income is, according to the Ohio Department of Development, “the income of a given area divided by the resident population of that area.” Sounds simple enough, but arriving at the figure is not.

    June 25, 2008

  • images_sizedimage_069195701 Bad vibes: Lack of opportunities, progress make for sour attitudes Eavesdrop on conversations at the lunch counter, in the aisles of Wal-Mart on a Friday evening or around the sports bar on a Sunday afternoon, and you’re likely to hear some pretty disparaging remarks about the old hometown.

    June 25, 2008 1 Photo

  • Finding work after prison nearly impossible A portion of Ashtabula County’s unemployed can’t find a job because of their prior address – a prison cell.

    June 25, 2008

  • County part of Team NEO marketing efforts Ashtabula County is part of a 16-county alliance aimed at marketing the Northeast Ohio region to employers and business investors, many of have never heard of Ashtabula, let alone Mentor, Akron or Youngstown.

    June 25, 2008

  • Some people just don’t want a job Ashtabula County Commissioner Deborah Newcomb talks to a lot of employers, and they all express the same concern: finding people reliable people with basic skills is a problem.

    June 25, 2008

  • images_sizedimage_070212402 POOR BUT WORKING A winter wind blew across the parking lot of the Neighbor to Neighbor Food Pantry next to St. Joseph’s Church in Ashtabula; the six adults lined up at the door turned their faces from the wind, toward the metaphoric concrete wall of the building.

    June 25, 2008 2 Photos

  • images_sizedimage_071213603 County's largest hospital feels the Medicaid pain Perhaps no one in Ashtabula County feels the pinch of subsidizing unemployed or underemployed individuals more than Philip E. Pawlowski.

    June 25, 2008 1 Photo

  • Crime & Drugs Inc. always hiring Some “unemployed” residents find crime to be their best source of steady income. Judge Richard Stevens of Western County Court says he noticed a 50-percent increase in the number of criminal cases handled by his court between 2005 and last year.

    June 25, 2008

House Ads
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video