- East St. Louis, IL is one of the poorest cities in America; residents are 97% African American;
- 70% of households are headed by women; 45% of residents live below the poverty level. (US Census Quick Facts)
- Most of the ESL parents have not finished high school.
- Population dropped from 82,000 in the 1950’s to about 27,000, leaving a desolate environment of abandoned buildings and crumbling infrastructure. Pervasive poverty, homelessness, violence, drug addiction, and a failing school system create a sense of hopelessness.
- Common for our families are food scarcity, eviction, and utility shut-offs.
- Also common for our families sadly is knowing someone who has died by gun shot. East St. Louis has one of the highest murder rates in the country.