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Arkansas ranked 3rd Poorest State in the nation

According to a recent study, Arkansas is the third poorest state in the nation. Researchers say this all comes from a lack of employment, education and empathy.

Taking out the trash is no teenage son's dream, but it's one of many daily household chores the Shue family cherishes. It wasn't long ago they didn't need to keep house because they didn't have one.

"It was chaos," said Mary Shue. "Care for the family and family time was the last thing on my mind. It was a bad time."

Now, thanks to help from Our House, a shelter for the working homeless, Shue works two jobs and earns about $18,000 a year without complaint.

"Somehow everything - even if its just by the penny - it works out. It just does."

It's an inspiring story but also a frightening reality. A recent study ranks Arkansas as the third poorest state in the nation behind Mississippi and West Virginia. Almost 20 % of families here live below the poverty line.

"Sometimes I'll work past six, about three days a week, and those days are harder because its hard to cook a meal and eat before nine."

"The thing that we face - each and every one of us - is whether or not we have a job tomorrow," said Larry Cogburn with the Central Arkansas Development Council.

Cogburn is leading the council's conference on poverty to inspire more groups like Our House to work together to help families like the Shues.

"If a layoff occurs, if we have an accident, if we have a medical bill for some reason, that could easily force any of us into poverty," he said.

That's why Shue is so thankful to have household chores to do, because even though washing dishes isn't the ultimate dream, she's working toward it.

"Just peace," she said. "That's my ultimate dream."

To get involved with helping more families get on their feet visit www.cadc.com.

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