Davis County will always have people living in poverty, and those working with the poor "learn to really believe in miracles," when meeting their needs. A number of programs are in place in Davis County to help people get back on their feet. But it's often difficult for those who most need the help to find out what is available and get enrolled. Mary Ann Nielson, homeless liaison for the Davis School District, said she helped one grandmother she was working with through the school district and discovered that even she had difficulty maneuvering through the bureaucracy.
Still, advocates for the poor do help people through the red tape and into a myriad of programs on the local, state and federal level.
Of course there are food stamps and the state-sponsored ChIPS (Children's Insurance Program) and some subsidized housing, but many programs now are geared toward getting those who are living in poverty back on their feet, educated and into a stable job.
"We're successful about 50 percent of the time," said Ken Adamson, the director of homelessness for the Family Connection Center.
The programs Adamson directs his clients into are designed to make what limited resources there are go farther.
Some programs help those in poverty with their material needs. Organizations like the county's two food pantries, Uniting Neighbors and the Family Connection Center can provide food, clothing, furnishings and the like.
The center is working with Utah Transit Authority in hopes of getting a bus route to the Family Connection Center's food bank in Layton.
Adamson said the Family Connection Center is starting to partner with area churches to provide some of those resources.
Often, he said, individuals and families can see the need, but they're overwhelmed by the seemingly impossible situation. "There's lots of people who would like to help, but they don't know what's best."
One thing he said they can do is to sponsor a family through the center for a certain amount of time, or for a certain product or service. Even providing items such as school supplies or diapers for a designated time can be a life saver to a family that is financially strapped.
Once a family has the basic necessities, the Family Connection Center can work with them in programs such as the transitional housing program. In that, clients are expected to go to school, get a job and take classes offered through the center in parenting skills and financial management.
The ultimate goal is self-sufficiency to the point that the family can purchase a home.
Adamson said clients in the program wind up working with agencies as varied as Workforce Services, banking institutions, schools, law enforcement and social services agencies.
Adamson is adamant that the vast majority of those in poverty in Davis County aren't there because they want to be. "These people are not your typical homeless. They're there because somebody pulled the rug out from underneath them," either through divorce or job loss.