Focus On The Growing Economic Disparity In Washtenaw County

Sep 13, 2016

H. Luke Schaefer addresses the United Way of Washtenaw County Campaign Kick Off Luncheon.
Credit Lisa Barry

The United Way of Washtenaw County kicked off its annual fundraising campaign Tuesday by addressing the growing local economic disparity.


Community leaders from across Washtenaw County listened as local University of Michigan professor and co-author of "$2.00 a day" H. Luke Shaefer spoke about the growing poverty levels and rising inequalities among residents living in Washtenaw County.

He said transportation problems, unemployment, and a local housing crisis are all to blame for the problems not always seen by many residents who live here.

"People can really go about their lives without believing that they see it and the fact that even within the same communities we often live parallel lives between those with means and those without," Shaefer says.

Schaefer's book "$2.00 A Day."
Credit Lisa Barry

Washtenaw County commissioner Andy Labarre attended the presentation and said it's a problem that needs addressing by the county commission.

"I think it's big, it's huge and I think we don't know what we don't know in terms of what's the potential of a more equitable and economically plugged in community," Labarre says.

Shaefer said his U of M colleagues are looking forward to possible future collaboration with Washtenaw County and sharing their resources to address the problem of poverty.

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Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at lbarryma@emich.edu