JESSICA NUNEZ will take any job, she said, but can't find one.
The 37-year-old North Philadelphia native, a mother of three, has been unable to find substantial work for two years, since a temporary job packaging chocolate ended. She has no income.
"It's not fair and it doesn't seem right," Nunez told the Daily News Wednesday. "You're trying to be here and stay stable here and trying to build a home and it just doesn't seem like it's possible."
Nunez, who stays with a friend in North Philly and collects food stamps, is among about 200,000 Philadelphians who, a new analysis shows, live in "deep poverty."
Those residents - nearly 13 percent of the city - have incomes below half the federal poverty line. The statistics were determined by the analysis - done by the Inquirer and Temple University sociologist David Elesh - of the 2009-11 three-year estimate of the U.S. Census American Community Survey.
The analysis ranks Philly first among the 10 largest U.S. cities for people living in deep poverty.
People are considered to be living in deep poverty if they have, for example, incomes around $5,700 in single-person households or $9,700 for a family of three.
A one-year estimate of the 2011 American Community Survey reported that 28 percent of Philly residents were living below the poverty level - an increase from the estimated 23 percent in 2000.
In January, Mayor Nutter created an Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity to address the issue.
The office's executive director, Eva Gladstein, said it is working on a plan to improve effectiveness of city programs.
"Resources are getting scarcer and scarcer and we just need to have the best impact possible," she said. Pennsylvania's General Assistance welfare program ended last year.
Experts say poverty crosses educational, political and other boundaries.
"We don't have enough jobs, we don't have an adequate safety net and we don't have adequate schools, so it's a pretty deadly cocktail," said John Dodds, director of the Philadelphia Unemployment Project, which advocates for the poor and unemployed.
And there's no one-size-fits-all image of poverty, many say.
"They're your next-door neighbor," said Renault Floyd, 50, of North Philly, "but you don't know what they're eating."
Floyd said he lost a sanitation job before landing a position with the Center City District.
"You pull up your bootstraps and find something else . . . if you're fortunate," he said.