EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Addressing concerns related to poverty and income insecurity in Eau Claire County is the purpose behind the Poverty Summit.
The summit kicked off Thursday at Grace Lutheran Church in Eau Claire.
It's hosted by Clear Vision. During the next six months, it hopes to identify and take action on issues related to poverty in the county.
"Just saw the United Way report that came out, the ALICE report, that basically said almost half of the houses in Eau Claire County are income insecure, you know one paycheck away," said Poverty Summit Co-Chair Mike Huggins.
Monthly meetings are open to community members willing to help tackle the issue of income insecurity.
"We want to work together, build ourselves up, build up the Eau Claire Community to be better," said Poverty Summit Co-Chair Sheng Xiong.
According to Poverty Summit organizersm the per capita poverty rate in Eau Claire County in 1980 was 12.9 percent. In 2015, it was 14.5 percent.
In the City of Eau Claire, the rate in 1980 was 14.8 percent and jumped in 2015 to 17.7 percent.
Additionally, one in five children in Eau Claire County are food insecure, and more than 40 percent of the students enrolled in the Eau Claire Area School District qualify for free or reduced lunch.
Organizers said the issue of poverty won't be solved overnight, but this summit is a place to start.
Poverty Summit Co-Chair Mike Huggins said the next six meetings will be action-oriented.
A main goal from the summit is to have a significant impact on poverty and income insecurity in Eau Claire County during the next five or more years.