Report: 70% of Families in Poverty Have At Least One Working Parent

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Wed, September 11 2013 at 5:31 PM, Updated: Wed, September 11 2013 at 6:34 PM

With Walmart's grand re-opening in North Medford on Wednesday, 200 jobs were filled.

However, according to data out of the Oregon Center for Public Policy, even a full time job may not be enough to get by.

About 70%, or 7-out-of-10, Oregon families in poverty have at least one parent working, but are still struggling.

Danny Wilson, a father of seven kids, hasn't been unemployed until yesterday, but even working full time at a $12/hour job with commission, he said his family had to use food banks and food stamps.

"I've had to take extra side jobs on top of full time work," said Wilson.

He said even getting paid $12/hour wasn't sufficient to bump his family off certain types of assistance.

"That average mean to put you at the poverty level, I was below that working full time [...] If you're working a minimum wage job, to support a family on it is ludicrous. It's not going to support even a smaller family than I have," Wilson continued.

The report's findings debunk the myth that families in need are made up of jobless parents draining the system.

"People that think that families on assistance are just all on the take are simply ignorant to the real facts of what it takes to support a family."

Wilson said it's his personal goal to be able to find employment that can provide an income which will make him ineligible for benefits.

"Honestly, nothing would make me happier than to be working at a wage that would raise my family above the poverty level."

The trend food banks in the area are seeing, confirms that having a job doesn't necessarily mean you're in the clear.

"The demand is changing. These are people that have jobs and are getting back to work but they're still not able to meet the need for their families," said Alec Schwimmer, the Nutrition Program Coordinator for Access in an interview on September 6, 2013.

In the meantime Wilson is working toward employment, knowing that even if he gets a job, it's possible his family will still need help.

Staff at the Job Council said even if someone has a job, they can still focus on developing new skills. That way they'll be more marketable and might be able to get a higher paying job.

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About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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