HARTFORD, Conn. – James Gatling and Deborah Monahan have been on the frontlines of Lyndon Johnson’s ‘War on Poverty’ for most of its 50 years.
Gatlin and Monahan head up Connecticut Community Action Agencies, which were created 50 years ago to help deliver the services Johnson envisioned in his 1964 State of the Union address to help lift families out of poverty.
How many got out? Nationally, the poverty rate has fallen from 19 percent to 15 percent over the past two generations, but according to a report earlier this year by Pew Charitable Trusts, those rates vary from state to state. Based on U.S. Census data, poverty in Connecticut was around 9.6 percent in 1959. It dropped to 6 percent in 1990, and then went back up to 10.3 percent in 2012.
“One of the things most people don’t realize is people who have a job are still not making it and the elderly on fixed incomes that didn’t keep up with inflation really need the programs we provide,” Gatling said Tuesday in a phone interview.
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