Child poverty has increased since the end of COVID-19 tax relief

Church Response
Church Response(KOTA/KEVN)
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 8:14 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - The poverty rate in the U.S. has skyrocketed in the year following the end of pandemic benefits. Experts say this is hitting children especially hard.

Senator Mike Rounds acknowledged a significant change in poverty levels yesterday in Washington. As the child poverty rate climbed, household income dropped. Families were helped by government COVID assistance, but that is ending, pushing the child poverty rate closer to 17%, which is where it was pre-COVID in 2019.

”When you add that inflation has driven up the costs for them on a household by household basis, over $900 a month. And that even the income going up at two or 3% can’t keep up with the cost increases,” said South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds.

One Rapid City nonprofit organization, Church Response, operates a weekly program providing personal items, toys, and food to individuals and families. According to the organization’s director, during the summer months, some people have access to gardens, either on their own or through their neighbors, to supplement their food supply. However, during the winter, when children typically receive lunch at school, they are likely to be hungry and in need of something to eat when they get home.

“And we’ve had about a 15% increase in the people who are signed up; most of the increase has been people with children. We’ve seen a lot of people with 7-8-9 children coming in. I mean, it’s sad that these kids don’t have enough food to eat,” said Church Response Director Lynda Mentele.

Senator Rounds says the wage increases many Americans get are insufficient to offset the higher cost of essentials, such as food and gas.