In Theresa Everline's 2010 article for Next American City (now NextCity) titled “Surviving Suburbia,” she discussed “the new suburban poverty, which has been confirmed by a recent report from the Brookings Institute. It’s not just that more people live in the suburbs and so there would be more poor people there, but that poverty rates are increasing more rapidly there. More American cities are finding that their suburban communities cannot keep pace with the demand for social services.”
Carolina Duque has no shortage of clients at her social services agency. As the executive director of Mano a Mano Family Resource Center, she’s seen the number of people served by the agency increase sevenfold in the last eight years, from 500 clients in 2001 to 3,500 in 2009. “We’re a small agency, so there’s only so much we can do,” Duque says. Yet her organization’s dynamism and can-do attitude are apparent from the building’s exterior - the front of the simple beige structure is splashed with a colorful mural of a tree and a sun - as well as from the popularity of what goes on inside: Most of the programs have a waiting list.
Excerpted from “Surviving Suburbia” by Theresa Everline, Next American City, issue 27, Summer 2010. Unfortunately, the article is no longer available online.
(Photographs by Joe Lingeman)