The numbers are overwhelming. One in three people in Jackson are living in poverty, and the annual income for a family of four is less than $29,000 according to recent studies done by the United Way. Now Jackson Mayor Derek Dobies, and a team of community leaders are ready to fight back.
“We have a real structural problem especially in the city, and we need to work on that. That’s why the United Way’s sole mission now is to get 5,000 of those households on a pathway to self sufficiency,” said President, and CEO of the United Way in Jackson, Ken Toll.
Toll grew up here. Jackson is where he learned to walk, and ride a bike at the corner of Jackson Street, and Morrell. Today he’s a member of a new council, with a goal to implement new programs, and policies to help better support people in need. He’s not alone, other people like the CEO of the Community Action Agency are joining in.
“I think it’s exciting, and it’s what we need to do in order to really attack the problem. I think that we all come to the table with a different experience, and a different knowledge,” said CEO of The Community Action Agency in Jackson, Toby Berry.
Together their expertise includes housing, employment, financial management, as well meeting people right where they are with basic needs. For Toll, he knows how complex the issue is, but he’s ready to join the fight.
“We know it’s going to take even more than that, and so I’m really thrilled that the Mayor is bringing this council together to try, and get our heads around this issue,” said Toll.
Mayor Dobies is set to hold his “State of the City” address next Wednesday at 6pm at the Michigan Theater.