By Kim Glovas
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The latest figures on Philadelphia’s poverty rate show the number going down. But it still accounts for more than one quarter of the city’s population.
The city’s first progress report on its fight against poverty shows the rate was 26 percent in 2013, compared to 28 percent in 2011.
But Eva Gladstein, head of the city’s Office of Community Empowerment, says Philadelphia is the poorest of the nation’s ten biggest cities.
“Right now the single biggest predictor of how a child will do in life is the zip code in which they are born,” she notes. “So there are communities with high need and less opportunity as compared to other neighborhoods.”
As a result, she says, the city has been picked for several federal grant initiatives.
Those programs will provide funding for young, pregnant women to get medical services they need; high-quality pre-kindergarten for poor children; and help for juvenile offenders to find job opportunities.
Gladstein also says it will provide additional help with accessing assistance programs already available.
“We’ve had programs in place for senior citizens and people who are low-income, in terms of paying property taxes and paying water bills,” she tells KYW Newsradio. “But everyone who is eligible for those programs is not taking advantage of them.”
Gladstein says the initiatives will also help eliminate duplication of effort by state, federal, and local agencies.