National League Of Cities Surveys Local Anti-Poverty Initiatives
Mar 12, 2008
Combating Poverty: Emerging Strategies From The Nation s Cities is a new report from the National League of Cities that examines poverty reduction initiatives in 29 cities. Overall, the most common anti-poverty approaches were community and volunteer supported outreach campaigns to connect low-income residents to federal and state entitlement programs such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, food stamps, and health insurance. The report highlights four common themes in city anti-poverty initiatives:
- Working to create a coordinating entity to monitor and sustain progress over time, which entails assigning planning, coordinating, and in some cases oversight of anti-poverty programs to a single group or agency in order to improve efficiency and accountability.
- Selecting specific targets for community-wide action or concentrating anti-poverty efforts on a single or small set of issues to enable officials to devote resources in a more manageable fashion and generate more measurable progress in tackling poverty.
- Targeting vulnerable populations or neighborhoods for immediate attention.
- Redefining the issues and addressing often overlooked burdens confronting impoverished individuals and families. Including efforts such as placing grocery stores in high poverty neighborhoods to reduce transportation needs, working with life insurance companies to provide free life insurance, and enhancing low-income residents access to mainstream financial institutions and services.
For some local efforts, child care is a critical component of fighting poverty. For instance, New York City includes a proposed tax credit to help low-income residents pay for child care. The Providence, Rhode Island, Poverty Work and Opportunity Task Force recommended that city officials engage in efforts to help residents receive adequate child care subsidies and other social service benefits.