Fresno Approves Task Force To Address Concentrated Poverty, Including Access to Health Care
The Fresno City Council last month unanimously approved the creation of a "poverty task force" after a Brookings Institution study found that poverty -- with implications for health care -- is more concentrated in Fresno neighborhoods than in other major cities in the U.S., the Washington Post reports (Nieves, Washington Post, 11/21).
The study, based on data from the 2000 census, found that concentrated poverty contributes to poor physical and mental health outcomes, in part because of "the stress of being poor and marginalized" and "living in an environment with dilapidated housing and high crime." The study said that researchers have linked residence in such neighborhoods with increased rates of asthma, depression, diabetes and cardiac conditions.
In addition, residents of such neighborhoods who seek medical treatment find that access to health care is "far inferior to that which most suburban residents take for granted," according to the study (California Healthline, 10/14).
According to the Post, the task force will focus on key issues the Brookings report said were most pressing, including access to quality health care.
Fresno Mayor Alan Autry said one challenge to the poverty problem is undocumented immigration. The Post reports that about 25% of emergency department visits in Fresno are from undocumented immigrants.
Next month. Fresno will hold a summit with mayors from other cities with large numbers of undocumented immigrants to discuss plans to address issues related to such populations (Washington Post, 11/21).