We often see only what we want to see and hear what we want to hear. We make decisions and judgements on our previous experiences not considering that other people do the same; so people often approach a situation for different perspectives.
One way we can see things differently is go to the “fact collectors” – organizations and agencies that make it their business to collect the demographics of a community. Paul Moore has already graciously collected some of those facts for us in a South Bend Fact Paper which I shall include at the bottom of this post.
What other facts can you or your group expose? In his blog, Brandon Hatmaker says: “Look for statistics that might not be so obvious and that others in your group may not have written down. The goal today is to begin to look deeply into your community for hidden need.” Read more of his blog …
Some South Bend, Indiana Facts
BAREFOOT CHURCH PRIMER
WEEK 5 DAY 4
Homelessness: According to the Center For The Homeless located at 813 S Michigan St, every night 200 people call the center home with at least 50 being children. The center has been open for 25 years and has served 55,000 men, women, and children with programs that include, Emergency Shelter, Personal Development & Education, Job Training and Placement, Transitional Housing, Housing in the community and Home Ownership. The center also operates the Robert L Miller Sr. Veterans Center at 747 S Michigan with 24 bedrooms, baths,kitchenette, a gathering room that opens into a Community garden, a front desk, office and conference area. Veterans are a assigned a therapist and coach the day they check in and have access to individual and group therapy, drug and alcohol treatment, and food and clothing.
The National Law Center for Homeless and Poverty estimate that there are 3.5 million individuals experiencing homelessness each year. 1.35 million are children (National Coalition for the Homeless). Children growing up homeless are less likely to receive a adequate education, due to an inability to meet school residency requirements. These students also lack funds for school supplies and outside projects. All members of the homeless community are at a higher risk of developing mental health problems, particularly depressive disorders. Family separation is too often the result of homelessness. Many shelters are gender specific and exclude fathers and older brothers staying with the family.
Indiana’s most vulnerable population are the homeless, and have suffered disproportionately as a result of the economic crisis. Not only has the number of homeless grown exponentially in Indiana, but the makeup of the homeless population has changed. The largest growing segment of the homeless population is families with children.
It is difficult to get an accurate count on the number of homeless because many double up with families or friends and do not go to shelters where counts, called “Point In Time Counts”, are made. Many homeless individuals sleep in places other then shelters unknown to volunteers tasked with the job of getting counts. “Point In Time Counts” are mandated by HUD in order for shelters to get funding from the government.
The leading factors for homelessness are a lack of affordable housing and an increase in the number of individuals living below the poverty level. Many individuals are homeless as a result of foreclosure. 79% of housing and other emergency service providers across the United States report that some of their clients were homeless as a result of foreclosure. Increased unemployment is also a big factor. And, it is not just those individuals who had lower incomes before becoming homeless. Homeless include former executives, service workers, and other professionals.
Hunger: Statistics show that 1 in 7 Indiana children experience “Food Insecurity”. Across Indiana 813,000 people receive SNAP (Food Stamps). There are 41,532 SNAP recipients in St Joseph County, Across the state 432,000 children receive free or reduced lunches, and 174,000 mothers and children receive WIC benefits.
Poverty: 17% of Indiana residents live below the poverty level while the South Bend below poverty level is at 23%. We are blessed in Indiana with an abundance of farmland but 90% of Indiana’s food is grown elsewhere.
Orphans/Foster Care: According to to the Department of Child Services for St Joseph County children are no longer referred to as orphans. Mary Ellen in that office was to have someone call me back with statistics on Foster Care. SO AT THE TIME OF THIS WRITING THAT INFORMATION WAS UNAVAILABLE.
Education: In St Joseph County 87.80% of persons age 25+ have High School Diplomas. 26.5% of persons age 25+ have Bachelor’s degree or higher. Interestingly across the state of Indiana
that rate is only 23% for 25+ persons having a Bachelor’s degree or higher.
Single Parents: St Joseph County has 10,219 Single parents with children under 18 years of age while 8,236 of that number reside in South Bend.
Human Trafficking: No statistics are available for St Joseph County or South Bend but, I was able to find these figures for the state. The DOJ opened 58 cases by Indiana Law Enforcement in 2012. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had 90 Trafficking Investigations with 43 arrests, 151 indictments, and 144 convictions. And, the FBI had 61 cases. Human trafficking is a growing problem in this country with victims who have different reasons for being vulnerable such as: poverty, unemployment, desperation, family problems, and immigration problems. The victims are found in the sex industry, forced labor for the agriculture and construction industry, domestic servitude, beggars, and child soldiers. Most of the recruitment comes through fake employment agencies, newspaper ads, word of mouth, and abduction. Human trafficking in Indiana is a Class C Felony.
Elderly: in St Joseph County 13.8% of the 266,344 population is considered elderly (65 years and older) while 12.5% of the 100,800 people in South Bend are elderly.
Add your own:
Unemployment: St Joseph County 7.5% while South Bend has an unemployment rate of 8.7% and is ranked 4th in the state with the highest unemployment.
Income: In St Joseph County 7.8 of households have an income of less than $10,000. 5.7% have an income of $10,000 to $15,000 and 13.1% have an income of $15,000 to $25,000. The 26.6% of St Joseph households with less than $25,000 annual income is higher than the state average which is 24.3%.
Abortion: In St Joseph County Indiana 554 abortions were performed in 2012. This is a 6% decrease from 2011.