Respond to these two colleagues in detail by developing a third strategy that could be used to enhance antipoverty efforts in your colleague’s community include one reference and ensure APA standards and grammar.
Student Response One:
While I grew up in Pennsylvania, I currently live in a small farm town called Safford, Arizona. Since I have worked for the local Head Start, the Department of Child Safety, and the Crisis Response Team, I was not surprised to see that the poverty rate was so high within the Safford city limits. According to City Data (2016), 41.40 percent of the population in this area meets or exceeds the poverty guidelines. That means that approximately 128 out of 309 households and 354 out of 854 individuals living in my town are experiencing poverty.
For a small town, there are numerous social welfare programs implemented that address poverty including subsidized housing, job skills training/job search, a homeless shelter where homeless individuals can work towards becoming paid staff, and a peer run substance abuse organization. I believe that if my town didn’t have so many programs and services to address poverty, this percentage would be drastically higher.
One strategy that I believe would enhance my town’s current anti-poverty efforts would be to offer some type of adult education courses that would allow individuals to obtain their GED / High School diploma. According to Turner and Lehning (2007), studies indicate that deficiencies in reading, writing, and general education tend to lead to a lower socioeconomic status. Similarly, the more education an individual possesses, the more jobs that individual is typically qualified for, leading to more chances to obtain a steady income. If general education courses were offered to adults in my town, I believe that this would lower the amount of individuals who were living in poverty.
A second strategy that would enhance my town’s current anti-poverty efforts would be to offer some type of free budgeting programs to individuals who meet the poverty guidelines. Individuals have access to food stamps and cash assistance programs, but are not provided any type of money management training. According to Krumer-Nevo, Monnickendam, and Weiss-Gal (2009), understanding how poverty affects everyday life is an important step in addressing the issue of poverty in general. Individuals who are receiving this type of financial assistance could be taught ways to make the money that they do have/receive last longer such as creating budgets, weekly shopping/meal plans, personal stipends, etc. These individuals could also be taught that if they are able to save money in one area, they can put it towards a different area. For example, if someone can save 20 dollars per week on food, they could put that 20 dollars towards obtaining sufficient housing. I think that individuals in my town are provided financial assistance, but not always provided information on how to make the best use of that money.
Overall, I think that my town does a great job of assisting individuals living in poverty but that improvements can definitely be made.
City Data. (2016). Safford, Arizona (AZ) Poverty Rate Data Information about poor and low income residents. Retrieved December 27, 2016, from http://www.city-data.com/poverty/poverty-Safford-A…
Krumer-Nevo, M., Monnickendam, M., & Weiss-Gal, I. (2009). Poverty-aware social work practice: A conceptual framework for social work education. Journal of Social Work Education, 45(2), 225–243.
Turner, K., & Lehning, A. (2007). Psychological theories of poverty. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 16(1/2), 57–72.
Student Response Two:
Georgia has one of the largest homeless populations in America. In 2012, Lawrenceville, Georgia became the city of the only emergency shelter in Gwinnett County. 60% of the homeless population in Gwinnett are children (Estep, 2012). Gwinnett County had 1,655 homeless children in their school system in 2012 and this number stayed close to the same until 2016. In 2016, the number of homeless children declined to 1,433.
As an employee of the only homeless shelter in this county I get to see first-hand what organizations are doing to combat poverty in my area. Working with homeless families has given me a bird’s eye view of what contributes to homelessness. Becoming homeless is usually a number of circumstances that cumulate until one is without a home.
Ellen Gerstein created the Gwinnett Coalition for Health and Human Services in my area (Estep, 2012). Once a month key members of the social service agencies in the area meet to discuss what is going on in their agencies. We discuss needs and ways we can get resources. We discuss meetings with county and state policy makers. We discuss whatever the members of the coalition deem necessary to assist the families we serve.
One way the Coalition and our social service agencies can be served better is through public awareness. Gwinnett County is a very influential county. Unfortunately, for Gwinnittians who fall on hard times this is not a good thing. The community needs to be more involved with the circumstances surrounding poverty. This can be done through a public awareness campaign. People need to see those who are homeless and having other issues in poverty as ordinary people. I have learned from public speaking engagements, meetings with state and local officials and congregations that people distance themselves from those who are poverty stricken. People who are not homeless of seemingly going through poverty do not avoid othering well. According to Krumer-Nevo, Monnickendam, & Weiss-Gal, othering is when people view those who are homeless or going through poverty as being drastically different in human status from themselves (2009). A public campaign would allow other people to learn that this is not the case.
A second way our community could enhance antipoverty efforts in our community is by offering more programs to assist in preventive evictions. Once a family is evicted from their homes it becomes very difficult to rent or purchase a home right away. Most of the time it takes months for someone’s home to go into foreclosure or go through the full eviction process. Through grant funding organizations could assist with homeless prevention services in the form of education, financial counseling, and monetary support until a family is self-sufficient again. The length of time and commitment of each family will vary depending on the circumstances of that family and their commitment to reestablishing their family and finances.
Estep, T. (2012, January 13). Gwinnett’s first true homeless shelter up and running. Retrieved
December 27, 2016, from http://www.gwinnettdailypost.com/archive/gwinnett-…
Krumer-Nevo, M., Monnickendam, M., & Weiss-Gal, I. (2009). Poverty-aware social work practice: A conceptual framework for social work education. Journal of Social Work Education, 45(2), 225–243. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.