On Friday I went to a conference on Chronic Poverty in developing countries. The conference was held by the Chronic Poverty Research Centre and a USAID research center that is run out of my old grad school department.
Papers were presented dealing with many different countries, but I think a take home message is that there are two different type of people who experience Chronic poverty. Those who with a little bit of help (safety nets, small asset transfers, microcredit, or agricultural assistance) can make it out of poverty. But there are still some people whose situation is so dire that these types of policies will not draw them out of the lowest poverty.
A summary report on chronic poverty can be found here. I particularly like the map on page 9, which gives a context for where the poor are.