Poverty was under the microscope at a press conference in the Capitol on Thursday. Framed around a recent study tracking the effects of COVID-19 on the economy, food and housing, the gathering of elected officials and advocates highlighted the worsening struggles of low-income residents of the Badger State
Rep. Lisa Subeck (D-Madison) was joined by other elected officials, representatives from the Wisconsin Community Action Program Association (WISCAP), and people affected by poverty. “Nearly one in eight adults with children in our country reported not having sufficient food in the last week,” said Subeck. “Food hardship peaked in December of 2020, but continues to be widespread. We have not recovered. Our families, our senior citizens have not recovered and are still facing food hardship.” In Wisconsin, she said, data compiled by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities shows 5% of adults report that their household has not had enough to eat. And 6% of adults have reported that children in their households were not eating because they couldn’t afford food. “That’s startling,” said Subeck. “That means — to put some numbers behind that — that means that 70,000 households in Wisconsin have children who did not eat because their family could not afford food.”
The study found that, nationwide, one in four adults have “difficulty covering usual household expenses.” In Wisconsin, between Sept. 15 and Oct. 11, the number was 825,000 people, or about 21% of the population. The report also highlighted that one in six renters nationwide are not caught up on rent payments. In Wisconsin, the estimated average came out to 125,000 people, or about 10% of the renting population. Subeck said her office often hears from constituents who have difficulty keeping up with rent.