Continuing their commitment to work together throughout the year to educate, innovate and act to reduce poverty in communities across the country, leadership from the nation’s largest charitable and advocacy organizations gathered today to highlight major initiatives that have the potential to transform the landscape of social services in the United States during the 3rd Annual National Poverty Summit.
Convened by Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA), leadership from several of the nation’s largest humanitarian organizations, key policymakers, educators and academics joined together to discuss innovative solutions and the best paths forward to reducing poverty in America. Organizations that participated in today’s Summit include: Feeding America, Save the Children, The Salvation Army, National Alliance to End Homelessness, Lutheran Services in America, United Way, The Alliance for Children and Families, Bread of the World, National Council of the United States Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Inc. and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.
“Throughout our history, the Catholic Charities movement has been a leader in bringing about pivotal social change,” said Rev. Larry Snyder, President, CCUSA. “Through events like today, we are proud to work together to make the big ideas we all talk about a reality, and create opportunity for the millions of families in need across the country.”
Panel discussions at the all-day poverty summit covered a range of topics. U.S. Congressman James Clyburn (D-S.C.) provided a historical context of the War on Poverty and reflected on the progress made since the 1960s and the on-going challenges for the nation; while U.S. Representatives Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) and Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) offered their perspectives on paths to reducing poverty in America, especially during the difficult budgeting decisions faced by Congressional leaders. Charged by moderator Major Garrett, Reps. Hudson and McGovern agreed that reducing poverty would be best achieved by working in a bipartisan manner.
“I was honored to speak with Mark Shriver and the good folks at Catholic Charities USA and other partner organizations who do such important work in serving communities of need. As we observe the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty and note the progress we’ve made, we must take action to address the areas of persistent poverty in our country. My 10-20-30 initiative targets 10 percent federal investment in communities where 20 percent of the people have lived in poverty for more than 30 years. The struggle continues,” said Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.).
“The poverty crisis plaguing our country isn’t about numbers, graphs or charts. It’s about real people in our local communities who are living pay-check to pay-check and struggling to make ends meet,” said U.S. Congressman Richard Hudson (R-N.C.). “We need to modernize our government programs to better serve those in need while promoting the dignity of work and equipping our citizens with the necessary tools to become self-sufficient. I look forward to working with my colleagues to revitalize our workforce through stable, high-skilled jobs to help lift our families out of poverty.”
“It has become unfashionable in Washington to talk about poverty and poor people. That has to change,” said U.S. Congressman Jim McGovern (D-Mass.). “Catholic Charities has long been a leader in this effort, and I was honored to participate in the Annual Poverty Summit today.”
In January, leaders from several of the nation’s largest humanitarian organizations announced a new collaboration to fight the War on Poverty. Brought together by CCUSA, leadership from Feeding America, Save the Children, The Salvation Army, National Alliance to End Homelessness, Lutheran Services in America, United Way, The Alliance for Children and Families, Bread of the World, National Council of the United States Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Inc. and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs agreed to work together in 2014 to educate, innovate and act to reduce poverty in communities across the country. Today, representatives from these organizations showcased tangible innovative programs and successful initiatives their organizations have developed to fight poverty. The examples highlight the opportunities for collaboration within communities and also with private and public stakeholders. Examples of successful programs include:
- Salvation Army – Pathway of Hope
Pathway of Hope is designed to be a high-impact approach to assistance by focusing on finding the root causes keeping families from becoming self-sufficient. The program targets families who are repeat emergency assistance applicants, providing long-term case management to help them move beyond crisis to increased stability, while building hope at each step.
- Feeding America – Collaborating for Clients
Through our Collaborating for Clients initiative, Feeding America is exploring ways to support communities to not only meet the immediate food needs of the families they serve, but to also help families achieve long-term stability and self-sufficiency.
- National Alliance to End Homelessness – Rapid Re-Housing
Rapid re-housing is an intervention designed to help people experiencing homelessness quickly reconnect to housing through the provision of housing search assistance, short-term financial or rental assistance and services to promote housing stability. Communities have successfully used rapid re-housing to reduce homelessness among families.
The full list of innovative policies highlighted during the poverty summit is available HERE.
The National Poverty Summit brings together academics, policymakers, and non-profit leaders for a substantive and engaging discussion about ending poverty in the United States. The Summit is a chance to showcase the innovative approaches and passionate commitment that so many individuals and organizations exhibit each and every day to strengthen our nation so that everyone, regardless of their background or socioeconomic status, has the opportunity to achieve their full potential. Previous speakers have included E.J. Dionne, Jr., Melody Barnes, Mark Shriver, John Bridgeland, among others.