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Summit addressing poverty issues

JACKSON — More than 200 low-income advocates from across the state are in Jackson this week to tackle challenges facing Mississippi’s poorest residents. The 2009 Annual Partnership Conference is sponsored by the Mississippi Association of Community Action Agencies and Entergy Mississippi Inc., and runs June 23-25 at the Jackson Marriott.

“Chief among the topics targeted is how can the federal economic stimulus funding change the poverty situation in Mississippi,” said Liz Brister, manager of external affairs for Entergy Mississippi. “The causes of poverty can be defeated when we all get involved and focused on solving the problem. That’s what Entergy and our low-income partners are committed to doing.”

Mississippi has received about half of a $50-million appropriation from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to weatherize low-income housing this year. The state also received a record $43 million in LIHEAP dollars to help Mississippi families pay their utility bills. LIHEAP stands for Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

This is the 10th year of the summit, created by Entergy in 1999 as a forum for low-income experts and advocates to identify options for helping the poor. Almost one-quarter of all households served by Entergy have incomes below the poverty level. Over the past 10 years, Entergy has mounted an intensive campaign to improve the lives of these customers.

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