Now. What can we do?
Now. What can we do?
Read & Ponder:
Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed which, while written in in 1999, is still considered a premiere sociological treatise on understanding the realities of remaining poor despite working well beyond full-time.
Why Don't They Just Get a Job? Written by Cincinnati Works president Liane Phillips, the book traces the organization's history in striving to alleviate poverty and joblessness by better understanding, connecting, and dissolving barriers between employers and individuals seeking to work.
Take This Bread, Sara Miles' memoir on beginning a food pantry out of her church in San Francisco, and how from the beginning they struggled both to address the authentic needs in the community and to expand the church beyond its physical walls.
Volunteer at a shelter, food bank, meal pantry, or soup kitchen which includes those receiving services as part of the volunteer staff, hired staff, and even on their board.
If you run, are employed at, or sit on the board of a shelter, food bank, meal pantry, or soup kitchen, intentionally advocate for and invite those receiving services to be a part of the volunteer staff, hired staff, and on the board.
Use programs such as Room In the Inn, which provide trainings to churches and programs on how to better understand, relate to, and connect with individuals in poverty and poverty-related circumstances.
If you and/or your organization are in a position to hire individuals from low-income backgrounds or are homeless, make an intentional effort to do so. This includes committing to learning about barriers that low-income and homeless individuals have to maintaining employment, and actively addressing and working with them. Advocate for partner agencies to do the same. You can find support for this work through programs such as ' Bridges Out of Poverty.
Many "job development" programs are connected to entry-level and/or low-wage jobs that have no opportunity for advancement or greater earning potential. Write to your city council, local legislators, and congresspersons to advocate for greater focus on job development for low-income individuals that centers around educational development and career advancement.
Learn about social enterprises such as FreshBox Catering and Hot Chicken Takeover, and nonprofits such as The King's Kitchen & Bakery, which employ homeless and low-income individuals with missions towards helping them elevate their socioeconomic lives. Find and support the existence and development of similar organizations in your community.