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WRNI: The Face of Poverty

By Flo Jonic, WRNI

Poverty has tens of thousands of faces in Rhode Island. It's the face of 23 year old Maureen George, a resident of the Crossroads homeless shelter. "My mom died when I was 14 and I was living with family members," she says. "I used to be in state care and after state care there was nowhere to go so I came here."

It's the face of Janice Briggs who feeds her family from the Jonnycake food pantry in Peacedale and is on the path to foreclosure. "Very very hard, " she says fighting off tears. "I mean I owe everybody and their brother. It's like I can't even pay my full bills every month.

And it's the face of Tammy Morrison, who with the help of Amos House, has kicked an addiction to heroin and crack cocaine. "Amos House helped me in some moments of real despair," says Morrison. "At the end of my active drug addiction I was suicidal had no hope. I was at the end."

Over the last three years, 28,000 Rhode Islanders have joined the ranks of those living at or below the federal poverty level. That number is now 133,000 or roughly one in eight Rhode Islanders.

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