Speakers Wow Crowd with Stunning Stats

The facts won the night and opened eyes. It may be hard to believe that the community is becoming more poor and less white, but you can see it for yourselves when you venture into grocery stores and public schools in DuPage County. And lucky for us, that those of us living in this community have the benefit of that growth and diversity to add flavor and interest to our economy and lives. Because our newer neighbors, though they may need more services now, are the future homeowners and shoppers of the county. It's in all our best interest to support them and help them achieve their full potential.

Candace King, executive director for DuPage Federation on Human Services Reform and Emily Gray, executive director for World Relief DuPage/Aurora, challenged the Glen Ellyn Community to continue welcoming andfallmeeting supporting our low income and immigrant/refugee neighbors, not that the two groups are one and the same. Both King and Gray lamented funding cuts and lack of political will to make needed changes to such basic things as "who to count as poor" and the country's antiquated immigration laws, both developed in the early 1960s without benefit of modern thinking or even basic research.

See supporting MSM articles on the changing demographics (on the DFHSR website) which document what King calls our transformation from vanilla to carmel swirl (which everyone likes better, anyway!).

See World Relief's website for more on that organization's work settling about 44 refugee families per year in DuPage County.

Of note from Emily Gray:

  • Eighteen world relief families have become homeowners in the county in the past 4 years. Remarkable when you consider normally refugess leave their home countries with nothing but the clothes on their backs and often not even that.
  • Average time in a refugee camp is seven years
  • Newest refugees coming to DuPage will be from Bhutan, Burma, Eritrea, Iraq and Iran
  • Affordable housing and transportation are some of the biggest problems World Relief faces in housing refugee families here

Of note from Candace King:

  • The impact of an adverse childhood experience (ACE) affects adults more than any other factor regarding health, wealth and success in life
  • ACE leads to repeat cycles of ACE in the next generation of children
  • All forms of money to non-profits to help stem the cycle of ACE are declining
  • The general public is not aware of the need. They are also not aware of how cost-effective human service programs are to stem long-term, more expensive programs (medical, penal, legal).
  • To live basically in DuPage County as a family of 4, $109,000 is required
  • The federal poverty level is the same across the nation, no matter where you live.
  • Forty-four percent of homeless people work. Forty percent are children.
  • In DuPage County, the poor are scattered...not concentrated in any one area.
  • While racial, religious, ethnic and sexual discrimination for housing and employment is illegal, discrimination based on credit history and criminal records is not. Many poor have poor credit histories so they have trouble securing housing and jobs. Duh.
  • For the poor, their lives go from crisis to crisis, resulting in trauma---which results in ACE (See top of list and repeat).