Suburban Poverty Growing in Greater Houston - Houston weather, traffic, news | FOX 26 | MyFoxHouston

Suburban Poverty Growing in Greater Houston

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

Amid perhaps the most economically vibrant major metropolitan area in America, there remains persistent need and personal hardship that's migrated steadily from the inner city to Houston's affluent suburbs.

At Northwest Assistance Ministries more than 20 miles from the city's center an alarming five year surge of the newly needy has yet to subside.

"About half of our clients coming in are children", said Becky Landes of NAM.

Filling food pantry baskets these days are working folks who've fallen off of a payroll and long exhausted what little they were able to set aside.

"They go through their savings. They've exhausted their resources and they are coming to us for assistance really as a last resort," said Landes.

NAM client Darlene Garrido was willing to witness about the hardship.

"It can happen in an instant very, very true. It happened to us and this place really helps," said Garrido.

Xiomara Thomas is seven months pregnant and unable to work.

"Especially when you've lost everything and hoping you can get some assistance. This is what I need. I need help. I need beds and a place for my children to lay their head," said Thomas.

Also falling into this last resort safety net is an increasing number of the suburban elderly who are squeezed by rising costs and taxes that chew away their fixed incomes.

"Those might be seniors who have to make a choice between purchasing medicine or purchasing food," said Landes.

Volunteers here at NAM don't expect the need for aid to shrink.

"We have as many people out of work and using the services here as anywhere in town. I mean all time," said Gayle Witt.

The volunteers are struck at just how quickly once thriving families can fall through the cracks of the world's biggest economy.

"We have people here who are at the lowest point in their lives. They are desperate," said Witt.

"They are devastated to have to come and ask. We don't want them to feel that way. We want to tell them we could be there too," said NAM volunteer Judy Barker.

Bottom-line, according to the Brookings Institute there are now more people in the suburbs contending with economic need than in America's inner cities.

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