Growing inequality, lack of economic mobility and persistent poverty in this rich nation are driving the reemerging government interest in strategies to reduce poverty. CLASP offers technical assistance to governments, advocates, and service providers and promotes policies that provide opportunity for all. We also manage Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity: The Source for News, Ideas and Action, a foundation-led initiative intended to ensure poverty reduction is part of the public discourse.
A Nurse, the Safety Net, and National Discourse
By Jodie Levin Epstein
This post originally appeared in "Spotlight on Poverty: The Source for News, Ideas, and Action."
Tears, tissues, and a standing ovation opened a recent briefing on poverty metrics in Washington, D.C. The occasion was the release of Half in Ten's latest numbers on reaching the goal of cutting poverty in half in 10 years. Chelsey Hagy opened the briefing with her personal story of how she persisted in her goal to become a nurse despite significant hardship. She credited her success to government programs that helped her with a range of expenses, including health care for her special needs son, nursing school costs, and rent subsidies that enabled her young family to keep a roof over their heads. As Hagy recounted her path, she choked on words and dabbed at her eyes. So, too, did some in the audience.
In sharing her personal experiences, Hagy gave a face to poverty statistics and proof that with essential supports a person can leave poverty behind.
Can stories like Hagy's, along with the hard data, help move policy solutions across political aisles? After all, poverty strikes families regardless of their party affiliation. Nevertheless, even those who share in common the struggle to make ends meet may well have different ideas about the causes and solutions.
An enormous political divide exists over the role government should play in alleviating poverty and investing in programs that create opportunity. However, recent public statements from self-described conservatives suggests at least the potential for dialogue about the value of safety net programs and human capital investments.
The Politics of Economic Opportunity: Will Growing Poverty Affect Election 2012Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity, an initiative managed by CLASP, hosted the half-day forum, The Politics of Economic Opportunity: Will Growing Poverty Affect Election 2012? This event examined how the struggles facing growing numbers of low-income families will affect the 2012 elections. Watch the full event online. READ MORE »
- Jodie Levin-Epstein | Oct 30, 2013 A Nurse, the Safety Net, and National Discourse
- Jun 11, 2013 Middle Class Families on the Brink Testify in Senate Hearing
- Jun 05, 2013 LGBT Workers Forced to Play By Different Rules; Poverty Rates High
- Aug 23, 2011 At the Forefront: Poverty Impact Projections
- Jul 28, 2011 Poverty and Opportunity: What Difference Can a Task Force Make?
- Olivia Golden | Nov 08, 2013 Recommendations to the Congressional Budget Conference Committee
- CLASP | Sep 18, 2013 Child Poverty in the U.S.: What New Census Data Tell Us About Our Youngest Children
- Jul 31, 2013 CLASP Work Supports Newsletter - July 2013
- Elizabeth Lower-Basch | Jul 31, 2013 Poverty Trends: Declining Wages Require Growing Income Supports
- Jodie Levin-Epstein | Jun 25, 2013 Where You Live Matters: Addressing Concentrated Poverty Neighborhoods