Poverty Simulation Leads To Survey With Steuben County Community Foundation
By: Beth Swary - Friday, March 22, 2024

Dr. Olivia Lusher, Trine University's Ketner School of Business capstone students, and SCCF's Camryn Hottell // WLKI Beth Swary

ANGOLA - The Steuben County Community Foundation paired with Trine University hosted a Poverty Simulation in the ARC at Trine University in October of 2023.

On Thursday, March 21 at Trine University's Ford Hall a group of Ketner School of Business capstone students, under the supervision of Dr. Olivia Lusher, partnered with the Steuben County Community Foundation to compile and analyze the data that was provided from the Poverty Simulation.

The Steuben County Community Foundation said the October 2023 event, "allowed attendees to gain a comprehensive understanding of how complex poverty can be. The event provided insights and data on a variety of topics such as, priority issues to be addressed, roadblocks that low-income families face, top services to support families, and more..."

The event determined the most import issues in need of being addressed in Steuben County are transportation, housing affordability, and coordination of services.

The community foundation believes the biggest roadblock low-income families face in Steuben County are high cost of living, insufficient access to quality childcare and early childhood education, reliable transportation and safe routes for walking or biking to school and work and a lack of coordination to assist individuals through system of services.

Steuben County's food insecurity rate is at 10.8 percent meaning more than 3,700 community members have difficulty regularly providing enough food for their families.

"That standard is extremely low," said Steuben County Community Foundation's Director of Community Engagement and Leadership, Carmyn Hottell.

Hottell spearheaded the Poverty Simulation in 2023.

She said the Metropolitan of Steuben County's Assistant Superintendent Schauna Relue stated 46 percent of MSD student are on free and reduced lunches.

The average cost of childcare for one child in Steuben County is $641 a month.

The monthly mortgage payment for a home in Steuben County is $1,484 with a median home price of $247,900.

However, the median household income of a household containing at least two working individuals in Steuben County is $68,837.

"In Steuben County, we don't have an emergency homeless shelter," said Hottell.

The foundation suggests more money should be invested into increased childcare and affordability, infrastructure development (transportation, utilities) and mental health and wellness services.

"Thank about what sets your soul on fire..." said Hottell.

"If we don't take care of each other, we don't really have anything."

CLICK HERE for a short survey to help the Steuben County Community Foundation, Ketner School of Business capstone students, and Trine University Student Affairs staff discover the next steps to meet the needs of the community.



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