UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 8:53am
In many states, the Census Bureau notes little connection between the economy and the number of people on welfare. The McLennan County Welfare Department says, as poverty levels rise, so do the numbers of people on welfare.
Director of State Health Services, Eva Cruz, says, "We've seen quite a few more people come in that have lost their jobs. Especially if they are self employed, if they're contractors, laborers and they lose their jobs and they've never had insurance or maybe their business didn't pay into unemployment."
In Waco, people who receive unemployment benefits are required to take that money instead of opting for welfare. Even if that means they can't afford to pay bills or support their entire family. Experts at the Waco Chamber of Commerce say the key to helping people in these tough economic times is coordination between those in need and the organizations designed to help.
Scott Connell at the Greater Waco Chamber says, "The big next step for Waco is to change the kind of jobs in the market, to develop a professional services industry here that pays better and in turn supports the community better." The Chamber of Commerce says for poverty numbers to go down, existing businesses in Waco are going to have to start hiring again.