Georgians pessimistic about poverty - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Georgians pessimistic about poverty

June 11, 2007

Albany--  Just how bad is poverty in Georgia? The state's poverty rate has gone up every year since 2002. A new survey shows most of us have a grim outlook on the problem. Many say there's no hope.

Last year, Lois Brodie's life took a turn for the worse. "Ended up homeless," said Brodie.

Brodie and her two kids were homeless, living in a motel for a month. Resources for that temporary home soon ran out.

"Oh it can get hard. I never thought that I would be homeless and all that stuff. That's not planned," said Brodie.

So they ended up at the door of the Faith Community Outreach Center on West Society Avenue.

"Met us at the door. You know how they open the door? Everything was there and it gave us hope," said Brodie.

"Our mission statement is changing destinies through love," said Janice Thompson.

Center Director Janice Thompson first opened the doors in 1998 to offer women like Brodie a new start. Several things lead them here.  Many lost the battle to poverty.

"It's almost as if they're saying this is our last chance and they come saying help us please," said Thompson. But while places like the Faith Community Outreach Center work to provide help, a new study shows many Georgians are pessimistic about poverty.

The Carl Vinson Institute of Government conducted a poll of about 800 people. More than 50 percent said ending poverty couldn't be accomplished even with unlimited government help. 54 percent said they believe current programs to help poverty aren't making a difference.

"I think with that mentality then nothing will be done but where there's a will, there's a way," said Thompson. She does agree with one outcome of the poll.  79 percent said drug abuse is a major cause. Thompson says that and lack of education lead many to knock on Faith's door.

"The drug issues and all that. It messes up their mentality," said Thompson. But she's seen the difference a home, a few meals and some faith can do.

"If you can save one, you've done a miracle," said Thompson.

"Now my family is O.K.," said Brodie.

Lois Brodie is proof. "I can't even describe the feeling I had when I left," said Brodie.

She left the center for a good reason. "Now I have my own home and I thank God for it," said Brodie. She's also thankful for the help that led her to it and offers advice.

"If you really, really want to make it. You can make it," said Brodie.

While others are unsure about poverty, she's sure it can be overcome.

The Faith Outreach Community Center is in need of donations.  If you would like to help out or need help, call 229-436-0807.  They're located at 625 West Society Avenue.  They can also be emailed at www.faithcommunityoutreach@yahoo.com.

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