Poverty hits hard at children in Illinois

EAST ST. LOUIS -- One in four children in St. Clair County are living below the poverty line, with about half of those in East St. Louis in the same desperate situation, according to a new statewide report.

The Illinois Kids Count 2010, a report released Thursday by Voices for Illinois Children, looks at how the recession is affecting children living in poverty.

Families who were barely living from paycheck to paycheck in 2008 have been hard hit by the recession, especially as programs funded by the state are cut in an effort to balance state budget shortfalls.

"Enough is enough," said Bill Kreeb, executive director of The Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House in East St. Louis. "We have to have the resources available to meet the needs of the children in our community and in the state of Illinois. We cannot balance the budget on the backs of the children and the poorest people in the community."

Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House is a United Methodist multi-purpose community center whose mission is to provide quality social and human services, social action and advocacy programs and housing and economic development programs to people in East St. Louis and surrounding communities.

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