ALICE

Maryland Independent - - Com­mu­nity Fo­rum - Twit­ter: @SykesIndyNews

dic­tions which is was not.”

This makes the out­comes un­clear, Keeth said, had the data been “prop­erly as­sem­bled.” There were also as­sump­tions be­ing used on things like house­hold in­come, child­care, fam­ily size, trans­porta­tion and bud­gets, she said.

Keeth said it was re­ported in the Mary­land Independent that 32 per­cent of the county’s res­i­dents are liv­ing within the ALICE thresh­old and con­sid­ered work­ing poor. How­ever, she said, that num­ber would more ac­cu­rately be de­scribed as 25 per­cent with the other 7 per­cent liv­ing in poverty.

The county will not dis­pute that there are res­i­dents con­sid­ered work­ing poor and some liv­ing in poverty, Keeth said, but mis­used data in the ALICE re­port over­states the is­sue.

Brown said it is the depart­ment’s in­tent to pro­vide the county with in­for­ma­tion that helps the com­mis­sion­ers make pol­icy de­ci­sions con­cern­ing the re­port.

Com­mis­sioner Ken Robinson (D) said it is im­por­tant that, no mat­ter what the data says, any mem­ber of the com­mu­nity liv­ing in poverty or the work­ing poor is “one too many.”

His con­cern with the re­port upon its re­lease was also the method­ol­ogy. The depart­ment’s investigation into the re­port con­firmed some of his sus­pi­cions, Robinson said.

“Un­for­tu­nately, a lot of times, espe­cially with the media, per­cep­tion is re­al­ity,” Robinson said. “And in this par­tic­u­lar case, per­cep­tion could be no fur­ther from re­al­ity.”

Com­mis­sioner De­bra Davis (D) said she knew her col­leagues were un­easy about the re­port when it was pre­sented. But the ques­tion she said still needs to be an­swered is “how dire is our sit­u­a­tion?”

“You did a good job of tear­ing down the re­port that we got, but are we go­ing to move for­ward and in­ves­ti­gate?” Davis said. “What we’ve done is dis­counted this re­port, but there’s noth­ing in place of it. Be­cause it is dire.”

Davis said any­one with “boots on the ground” knows there are se­ri­ous prob­lems with home­less­ness and af­ford­able hous­ing in the county. Peo­ple can­not think about get­ting jobs or go­ing to school with­out ad­e­quate hous­ing, Davis said.

The county has “turned our heads the other way” on ar­eas like Nan­je­moy, Davis said, where res­i­dents are strug­gling with is­sues high­lighted in the ALICE re­port. It will be hard to get busi­nesses to in­vest in the county, she said, with­out tak­ing care of some of those is­sues first.

“We’re go­ing to need to in­vest in our peo­ple,” Davis said. “The sin­gle most im­por­tant thing this board — or any board — could do is to sup­port busi­nesses. Which we’ve done a re­ally poor job of do­ing.”

Com­mis­sion­ers’ Pres­i­dent Peter Mur­phy (D) said no one in the county is turn­ing its back on these com­mu­ni­ties. Davis is right, he said; it is a com­pli­cated is­sue.

But the county is at­tack­ing it in their own way and tr ying to fig­ure out how to make things bet­ter.

“I do think eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment is in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant and we sup­port that,” Mur­phy said. “It brings in the kind of rev­enue we need to sup­port some of these pro­grams.”

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