BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – An eye-opening report is shedding new light on the poverty rate in Buffalo. The latest numbers show Buffalo is the fourth poorest city in the country.
At the Food Bank of Western New York on Thursday, 43,000 pounds of pasta was dropped off, which will provide 192,000 meals. It may sound like a lot, but when you take into account the 99,000 people the Food Bank sees each month, 43,000 of those being kids, it won’t take long before it’s eaten.
“It’s certainly a statistic we’re not happy about here in Buffalo, but we’re considered the fourth poorest city in America,” said Mike Billoni with the Food Bank of Western New York.
The latest statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau show over 58,000 families live in Buffalo. Of those, more than 15,000 are living in poverty – that mean 26.4 percent of families in Buffalo live in poverty.
“We need more jobs so people can make more money so they can circulate that through the community,” said Billoni.
The top four cities on the list are all in the Great Lakes. Detroit takes the top spot, followed by Cleveland, Rochester, and Buffalo.
“It certainly says an awful lot about this part of the country and hopefully the federal government can do something to help that, but we certainly need more jobs in this area because people want to work,” said Billoni.
Johnnie Holt runs the Durham Memorial Central City Cafe Soup Kitchen on the city’s east side. She sees first-hand some of the poorest Buffalonians.
“If you come by our facilities you’ll see them sitting outside, waiting to come in, and when we open the doors they’re lined up to get their plates. So there is evidence that there’s an increased need in our area,” said Holt. “So I do what I can with what resources that I have and hope for the best.”
Billoni says the situation has been further complicated since there were cuts to food stamps last November.