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Many Clevelanders are having trouble keeping a roof over their heads and food on the table

Posted at 5:43 PM, Aug 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-28 20:44:06-04

Almost half of Americans, 4 in 10, can't pay for their basic needs, according to a new study from the Urban Institute. This is despite an economy near full employment.

The picture isn't much different here in Cleveland.

"We're seeing the highest numbers we've ever seen in our men's facility and also our women and children's facility," said Linda Uveges, the COO of the City Mission, an organization dedicated to helping those in need.

According to the study from the Urban Institute, basic needs include housing, utilities, food and healthcare. Growing numbers of people with fixed incomes are struggling, making it difficult to fulfill these needs.

"They're often choosing between paying the light bill and buying groceries," Westlake Community Services Department's Outreach Coordinator Donna Feorene said.

America's middle class is reporting hardships, too. According to the study, middle-class families are struggling to pay health care bills due to costs that are outpacing salaries and inflation.

In Cleveland, shelter is a basic need that many lack.

"The number of homeless individuals is very high in the city of Cleveland," said Nicole Evans, the shelter director at the Norma Herr Women's Center.

More and more people are seeking help.

"Mom has that choice, do I pay my rent and keep my place, or do I put food on the table for my children?" Uveges said.

Uveges said many people the City Mission helps are doing everything they can to work, keep a roof over their families' heads and put food on the table, but they still can't make ends meet.

"Over 50 percent of their rent is coming out of their income," she said. "Our men and our women work very hard. They do want to work and they are trying desperately to make ends meet. Maybe working one, two jobs, doing whatever they can to provide," Uveges said.