Poverty is a multi-dimensional issue, and tackling it requires a multi-dimensional approach. We have learned—and are beginning to embrace responsibility for—the many ways in which current systems were structured to reinforce racism, disparities, privilege, and oppression across population groups, and to perpetuate the cycle of poverty. And we know that running even the most effective ‘safety net’ services, doing everything right, may serve to mitigate only the very deepest level of poverty, at best. It does not solve the problem.
Los Angeles County leadership is moving in a new direction—one that is proactive toward disrupting poverty and taking actions to stop people from sinking into poverty to begin with, instead of helping them only after they fall.
The Poverty Alleviation Initiative (PAI) will work with County, community, philanthropic, and other partners to address poverty and financial insecurity across the continuum: how to prevent, mitigate, and avoid re-entry into poverty. It will take all of us, including policy makers, County departments, community residents, those with lived expertise, community-based organizations, advocates, and others working together to make truly meaningful improvement.
Our work will focus on three main areas:
- Local, State, and federal policy advocacy
- Improving residents’ access and experiences with obtaining County services
- Building upon existing community assets that should be strengthened and/or expanded
The PAI Action Plan
The Strategic Framework includes key, achievable actions that can be implemented to address the continuum, including policy recommendations, operational efficiencies across County departments, and community supports that reach residents where they are and through partners they trust.
The Poverty Alleviation Initiative concluded a series of “listening sessions” across communities in LA County to hear directly from folks about what they thought should be included in this framework. What emerged were ideas on preventing and mitigating poverty across four strategies:
The actions in this framework are designed to be a starting place for engagement and collaboration, and to provide space for other emerging and unexpected ideas that may help in achieving our goals.