Experts to Discuss Regional Poverty, Mayor Saffo to Make Proclamation at UNCW Conference March 27-28

UNCW's Poverty Conference

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Local issues of poverty and how to address them will be discussed at the Taking the Pulse on Poverty in Our Region conference 7-9 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, March 27-28 in Cameron Hall Auditorium. The two-night event, organized by the University of North Carolina Wilmington, is the first conference of its kind in Southeastern North Carolina. Regional community leaders and citizens are invited to attend free of charge.

Tuesday, Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo will proclaim March as Poverty Awareness Month in Wilmington at 7:30 p.m., followed by a presentation by Yolanda Burwell, senior fellow with North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center. Burwell will discuss the region's rural areas and individuals who are struggling to survive economically and how closing the gaps between economic disparities can benefit North Carolina as whole.

Leslie Hossfeld, conference co-coordinator and director of the UNC Wilmington public sociology program, said, "Southeastern North Carolina has a longstanding tradition of high, persistent poverty. Finding solutions to poverty in our region is of critical importance as we try to grow and build healthy, vibrant communities that benefit all North Carolinians."

On Wednesday, Anton Gunn, regional director of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, will discuss critical health access issues facing citizens, the economic implications and how  many healthcare challenges can be resolved.

Question and answer sessions will follow all discussions. Numerous regional leaders are expected to be in attendance.

Earl Sheridan, co-coordinator and UNCW public and international affairs department chair, said, "This conference is an attempt to shine a light on the issue of poverty in our area and how it has been affected by the recession. Too often issues of poverty are not a part of public discourse."

UNCW Sociology of Poverty students will present their research findings on food insecurity in Wilmington both nights from 6:30 to 7 p.m. in the lobby prior to the conference.

The conference is co-sponsored by UNCW, the United Way of the Cape Fear Area and the Blue Ribbon Commission on Youth Violence.

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