If the stressed food banks and increasing demand for social services weren’t enough proof, Twin Cities residents now have further evidence that poverty is part of the suburban landscape.
A Brookings Institution study released Monday reports that the number of poor in Minneapolis-St. Paul suburbs more than doubled between 2000 and 2011. The 127.9 percent increase in the suburbs was well above the 47.7 percent increase in urban areas.
Click on the PDF to the right of the article to see a summary of the Twin Cities data.
This is a trend providers have been well aware of for some time. Hennepin County's Human Services and Public Health Department is in the process of creating “social services hubs” in the suburbs specifically to create one-stop centers near the areas where residents using the services actually live.
Communities don’t always welcome such efforts, though. Hopkins officials, for example, initially worried that a hub in the city’s downtown could stress the local police force, use up parking and eliminate redevelopment opportunities—although the city eventually came around to the idea.
The Brookings study said the increasing levels of suburban poverty pose unique challenges for existing services. The percentage of suburban students receiving free and reduced-price lunch grew 39 percent in Twin Cities suburbs. And just 28.9 percent of the available jobs are accessible via a 90-minute transit commute.
Patch wants to know how you think Twin Cities suburbs should respond. Is it up to residents to be more generous with their local food shelves? Do communities need news types of infrastructure? Are there key services that are lacking? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.