Albany ranked as 4th poorest in the nation

Albany ranked 4th poorest in the nation. / Jessica Fairley

Daily has ranked Albany as the fourth poorest city in the nation. For Albany locals, hearing that the city is among the poorest in the nation is nothing new, however Ausha Jackson, Director of "Strive 2 Thrive", says putting a number on it will open a lot of eyes to the reality.

"A lot of times families that live in poverty don't know that they live in poverty. If it's generational and it's been around in their family, they may just think that this is the way that it's always been," said Strive 2 Thrive Director Ausha Jackson.

A poverty analysis survey conducted in Albany in 2010 lists workforce challenges, welfare dependency and lack of educational training as the top causes for poverty in the area.

Albany Mayor Dr. Willie Adams says he's struggled with these issues throughout his term.

"The one common denominator that keeps people out of poverty is education. As long as you have a problem in that area you're going to have to deal with poverty," said Albany Mayor Dr. Willie Adams.

He says this is why he came into office with hopes of changing the educational system.

"We've tried to encourage people not to drop out of school. When you got over 50 percent drop out. When I first got aboard it was in that area but it's improved. It's nowhere near that now," said Dr. Adams.

For him, it's a step in the right direction that he hopes the next mayor of Albany follows through with. Yet even with that small feat, Albany's poverty problem continues.

"Poverty is a very complex issue and it's not a one step solution that will be able to resolve this problem," said Ausha Jackson.

Jackson says getting to the root of Albany's poverty problem is accepting personal responsibility and moving forward.

"The first step is just saying hey I need your help and admitting that you need that help and coming to us as well as the other organizations out there to help," said Jackson.

She says it's time for civic organizations and churches to band together as one and rally to make Albany the "Good Life City" once again.

In November, "Strive 2 Thrive" will hold a "Bridges Out of Poverty" training course to help guide families out of poverty, while taking participants through the renowned "Circles" process.

Participants who aren't less fortunate will also have an opportunity to go through a poverty simulation session which teaches them what it means to live in poverty. The simulation session is meant to create awareness of the issue.