Memphis poverty level improves

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Shut down and boarded up Raleigh Springs Mall awaits its new future. When it closed, business owner Alan Kuntz had nowhere to reopen and started to seriously shed money.

“I was ready to give up and said I don't know what to do,” said Kuntz.

Donated equipment and a partnership with a church pastor gave him a new start.

“He said I have a lot of space, come and do what you want to do,” he added.

Kuntz is back in business and as part of the deal is training others his trade.

City leaders said it's working.

The city saw nearly a four percent drop in poverty in 2015, our lowest level in 6 years.

We were first but now are America's second poorest city after Tucson, Arizona.

“I think we can turn this city around,” said Memphis Council member Berlin Boyd.

“You have to train those without skills to find jobs, and find opportunities to help them save money,” he said.

Ron Bezon sees change too. He volunteers at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Downtown Memphis. They have been dishing out free meals to the homeless for more than 145 years.

“The past few years our numbers have gone down, not grown, of the numbers we see here,” said Bezon.

Bezon didn't know if the drop was because things are getting better or the city's population is just shrinking, but he sees improvement.