Ranks of poor grow in N.J., officials say

    Wayne Griffith, the Executive Director of the New Jersey Community Action Association, says the economic downturn has increased the demand for assistance.

    The Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey held its annual conference in Trenton Tuesday to discuss what’s being done to help those in need.

    Listen:
    [audio: 091208pgpoverty.mp3]

    An estimated 2 million people in New Jersey live in poverty.

    Wayne Griffith, the Executive Director of the New Jersey Community Action Association, says the economic downturn has increased the demand for assistance.

    Griffith: The persons that are coming to our agencies are persons that were once in middle class situations who used to give money to our agencies. Now they are coming to our agencies because they need assistance themselves.

    Brick Township resident Rachel Jennings says she was homeless for six months after losing her job as a school security worker.

    Jennings: It was my son and I when we became homeless. So we were going month to month living with different people, people we didn’t even know.

    Officials say they’re worried about funding for anti-poverty programs because of the state’s financial crisis.

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