EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- New data shows one in every ten Wisconsinites are living in poverty, and compared to the previous year, experts say the numbers aren't improving.
The U.S. Census Bureau shows about 13 percent of Wisconsinites are living in poverty.
Across the state, the 2012 figure isn't statistically different from the previous year. And experts say the same trend is being seen closer to home.
“We really haven't seen an increase or a decrease in the number of clients we serve,” said Dale Karls with Western Dairyland.
The Census Bureau says the poverty threshold in 2012 is income of about $23,500 for a family of four.
“Eau Claire has a large number of people who are food insecure,” said Director of the Eau Claire Community Table Rachel Keniston.
Keniston says Community table serves more than 140 meals daily, and food is not the only thing that families around here can't afford.
“Just today (Thursday) we've received phone calls from people who need transportation, rental assistants, food assistance, who need help with their energy bill,” explained Karls.
Even with seven shelters in the four-county region Karls says they have 30 families on the waiting list for shelter housing right now.
“Often times we don't see people here at the Community Table even if there is a big need. People come at the end of the month when things have run out and they're desperate,” said Keniston.
Karls says being proactive and addressing those issues before it gets really bad is a step in the right direction; another is - putting more money in to educational programs.
“Trying to improve their education and in the end improve their wages, so they can rise above the poverty,” said Karls.
Since 2000, census data shows the state's median income has declined by about 9 percent. Karls says as the number of families in need stays the same funding to help those people is being cut.
“Quite often it comes down to money, if we're not putting money into the programs they're not going to succeed,” added Karls.
The report say about 10 percent of people had no health insurance in 2012, about the same as 2011.
Western Dairyland says as they see one family or individual escape poverty, another one immediately takes their place.