Friday, November 19, 2010

Western metro nonprofit spotlights rising suburban poverty

On the outside, Beth’s life looked like the American dream: She lived in a beautiful house near Lake Minnetonka, and her husband’s career allowed her to stay home to raise her two young sons. It was a comfortable —?even enviable — life for a woman in her late 20s.

But that was the facade. On the inside, Beth had endured emotional abuse from her husband since the beginning of their marriage. And when she tried to leave the marriage for the sake of her sons, the abuse turned physically violent.

Beth, who requested that her last name not be used, left her husband in 2007 and obtained a divorce, but it cost her nearly everything.

Because her husband failed to pay bills, she and her boys lost their home and moved in with Beth’s father. Although Beth, now 35, worked in management and sales prior to her marriage, she didn’t have a college degree, so finding a good job was difficult. When she realized that she had exhausted her own re­sources, she turned to Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners, a nonprofit serving eight western metro suburbs.

Several Catholic parishes are part of the effort.

When people think of poverty, most don’t think of Twin Cities suburbs — especially those around Lake Minnetonka, where big boats and bigger houses reign supreme. Yet, Beth and her sons are among 4,495 individuals from 1,469 households IOCP helped in fiscal year 2009-2010. And, suburban poverty is on the rise. Since 2004, IOCP’s housing assists have increased by 38 percent. . . .

St. Anne in Hamel, Holy Name of Jesus in Medina, St. Bartholomew in Wayzata, and St. George in Long Lake are among 24 area faith congregations that support IOCP. The outreach grew out of St. Bartholomew in the late 1970s. . . . Read more at the Catholic Spirit

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