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WAMU 88.5: Demand For Public Assistance Grows In Arlington Print

BY Michael Pope

Created:  Monday, March 14, 2011  4:15AM

Arlington County, Va., is known as a wealthy community. But 10 percent of the county is on public assistance -- and the needs are growing every day.

The rich may finally be getting richer now that the recession is over. But for the poor, it's a different story.

"There are people who are middle-class people who lose their jobs and have trouble paying the rent," says Kurt Larrick, communications manager for Arlington's Department of Human Services. "There are people who are in the lower income levels when the bottom fell out, and they are certainly feeling the pinch now too."

Demand is growing for food stamps, Medicaid, welfare and energy assistance in Arlington. And Del. Patrick Hope (D) says it's going to take longer for the people at the bottom of the economic scale to see relief.

"It's going to take time, and there's some lag in the economy when those at the higher income levels do show progress, people at the lower end tend to lag behind," he says.

Next year, the county is expecting 1,000 new Medicaid patients. When the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act kicks in, the county will have 14,000 new Medicaid patients.


 



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