Center for Community Futures
Phone: 510-339-3801
Fax: 510-339-3803
E-mail:
jmasters@cencomfut.com
Mailing Address:
Center for Community Futures
P.O. Box 5309
Berkeley, CA  94705
Home Assessment Case Management Certificate program Community Assessment Events Executive Oversight System Feedback Head Start Management Institute Onsite Training Opinion Papers by Jim Order Form Our People Parent Surveys Policies On Your Drive The Policy Manager Program Evaluation Workbook Recruitment Review READY! Workbook Strategic Planning Summer Institutes Your Community Assessment Web Site Design HS Salary Survey Report

 


Meeting Records

Office of Community Services

Creating the 21st Century Model to Address Poverty

Community-Based Solutions Working Session 

August 25-26, 2004  
Aspen Wye River Conference Center  
Queenstown, MD

MEETING RECORD

Distributed to participants: November 1, 2004 

This document contains the proceedings of the working session and has been compiled from the small and large group discussions, the associated flipchart records, and from the presentations given by project staff. Reaching consensus during the session itself was not attempted.

Therefore, this document merely reflects the viewpoints as they were expressed in the session and does not imply agreement among participants and/or project staff.

Community-Based Solutions Working Session: Meeting Record 1

PRE-MEETING MATERIALS

Participants received the following materials prior to the working session:

bulletPreliminary Agenda
bulletCore Elements: Mission, Imperatives, Vision, and Principles (Appendix A)
bulletResearch Themes: Community-Based Solutions (Appendix B)

ON-SITE PACKET MATERIALS

Participants were provided a meeting packet containing the following materials:

bulletFinal Agenda
bulletCore Elements: Mission, Imperatives, Vision, and Principles
bulletInitiative Context presentation: Characteristics of Successful Change (Appendix C)
bulletCurrent state presentation: Highlights from the research (Appendix D)
bulletResearch Themes: Community-Based Solutions
bulletParticipant List (Appendix E)
bulletProject Staff List (Appendix F)

MEETING AGENDA

Overarching Goal: The goal of all of the working sessions is to allow people from a variety of backgrounds and sectors to bring their expertise to bear toward creating a fundamentally different model for thinking about and addressing poverty.

Session Objectives: This working session has five objectives:

1)      Share a compelling case for change and articulate a vision and set of principles upon which to build strategies to fundamentally change the way we think about and address poverty as a nation.

2)      Review key themes of current community-based efforts to build capacity of low-income individuals, families, and communities to compare/contrast with the stated vision.

3)      Identify some key elements of a desired future state that describe what it would look like in the ideal for communities to 1) develop local leadership; 2) create community engagement; and 3) successfully implement ‘whole-community’ strategies for addressing poverty.

4)      Identify some of the areas in which work must be undertaken (i.e. change levers) in order to close the gap between existing and the ideal states.

5)      Brainstorm preliminary strategies for filling the gaps.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

3:00 – 4:00 Welcome and Overview by Clarence Carter: The overall case for change and why we are here; the vision of the 21st Century Model to Address Poverty and the underlying principles for the development of the model.

4:00 – 4:45 Session Content and Context: Overview of the overall initiative, an exploration of the current state and key themes regarding community-based solutions to poverty, and large group discussion of how we arrived at the current state from the participants’ perspectives.

4:45 – 5:00 Facilitative Strategy (Facilitator)

5:00 – 6:00 Break

6:00 – 7:30 Dinner

7:30 – 9:00 Small Group Work: Each small group engages in visioning to describe what it would look like in the ideal for communities to 1) develop local leadership; 2) create community engagement; and 3) successfully implement ‘whole community’ strategies for addressing poverty. The goal of the small group work is to bring focus to a desired future—built upon the principles—for community-based solutions to poverty.

9:00 – 9:45 Small Groups Report: Groups present their work to the large group. Large group will not discuss presentation content at this time, but will be asked to post questions and comments on wall for discussion the next day.

9:45 – 10:00 Evening Close Out: Facilitator leads interactive session about the work that’s been done so far, and what remains for tomorrow.

Thursday, August 26, 20 

8:30 – 10:15 Large Group Discussion: Processing Small Group Work from Wednesday

    Using the notes taken by the participants the night before, the group will focus on and discuss each of the focus areas presented. The focus will be on the identification of the key elements of the desired future, not on problems with the current state.

10:15 – 10:30 Break

10:30 – 11:45 Identification of Gap Areas and Change Levers: Identification of what needs to change (i.e. levers for change and related considerations and challenges) that would require work in order to get ‘there’ from ‘here.’

11:45 – 12:45 Lunch

12:45 – 2:15 Identification of Preliminary Change Strategies: Moving from visioning and change levers to ideas for closing the gap.

2:15 – 3:00 Session Close Out and Next Steps: Discussion of how the work that’s been done here will be synthesized to create the pieces of a draft systemic change strategy and about how to begin the work of change.

Community-Based Solutions Working Session: Meeting Record 3

PROCEEDINGS

August 25, 2004: Afternoon

INTRODUCTIONS (facilitated by Barbara Hulburt)

WELCOME AND OVERVIEW BY CLARENCE CARTER

Clarence provided the overall case for change and why we are here; the vision of the 21st Century Model to Address Poverty and previewed the underlying principles for the development of the model. The following is an amalgamation of the opening remarks from all four working sessions.

As America continually strives to form that ‘more perfect union’ envisioned by our founding fathers, one of the key factors we have always struggled with as a society is how to care for those in greatest need. For purposes of our work here, we focus on the segment of our society that exists within the condition we define as poverty.

Every generation or so, our society recalibrates its thinking and approaches for addressing poverty and it is clearly time for another recalibration. It is time for us to change the way we think about and address poverty because:

bulletWe know that as the number of people living in poverty increases, it becomes more and more difficult for any society to sustain itself. None of us wants that for our great nation. As long as many of our citizenry remain under-optimized, our society can never reach its full potential.
bulletThe most recent major recalibration was initiated 40 years ago via the 1964 “War on Poverty.” President Lyndon Johnson believed that turning the power of the federal government loose on the issue that we as a society could eliminate poverty.
bulletWhile there is much progress to celebrate, we clearly have fallen woefully short of the lofty objective of ameliorating poverty. As a result of the “War on Poverty,” scores of programs were created, the U.S. Poverty Index was established, unprecedented public spending was dedicated to the objective, and a massive ‘helping’ industry was created. Though there have been impressive gains in many important indicators of societal well-being, we have not shifted in our approaches as quickly as the conditions have.
bulletThe U.S. Poverty Index, developed in the 1960’s and based on an income/food consumption model, is no longer representative of the conditions of poverty (e.g. cost of living, basic income needs, economic trends, technological advancements, family structure and roles, workforce trends, etc.). As the economic, social, technological—societal conditions change the nature of poverty, we must also change the way our society thinks about it and addresses it in order to remain economically, socially, and morally sustainable as a society.
bulletWe are still using the income/consumption model and the basic formula as designed in the 1960’s under vastly different circumstances. Proposed reforms to the Poverty Index over the last three decades to add other cost elements such as housing and health care and to add other income sources such as the cash value of benefits have not been successful, resulting in the continued use of a formula that has outlived its efficacy as a accurate definition of the conditions of poverty.
bulletWe currently spend hundreds of billions of dollars annually on assisting those in greatest need in America without an acceptable return on investment. Unfortunately, since there is no shared vision guiding and leveraging our investments toward a common objective. Our spending is ad hoc, in categorical programs—with their own rules, regulations, and objectives—which often work at cross purposes with other programs and initiatives. Private initiatives often suffer from not having enough resources to be truly effective. In the aggregate, our fragmented and categorical approach results in the old adage; ‘If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.’
bulletThe issue of poverty is best addressed at the community level. The current construct in which the ways to address poverty is prescribed at the Federal level fails to fully engage and empower communities to develop their own vision for the future and the strategies they need to get there. The uniqueness of America’s communities demands a service strategy unique to each community’s objectives, resources, and obstacles.
bulletThe current construct forces the needs of individuals and families to fit into categorical programs that cannot possibly anticipate or address the whole and interdependent nature of what they need to make their lives work for them. Often the goals and objectives of the various ‘helping programs’ work at cross purposes, making a comprehensive set of services and support that would be effective problematic at best. This approach is another example of not leveraging the resources that are currently being expended on the issue and does not give us a return on our investment.
bulletThe existing construct does not maximize the use of technology that would provide for infinitely more efficient and effective delivery of service and/or to reduce the need for the services in the first place. The current categorical construct requires separate technological infrastructures for each of the programs, which means that precious resources are required to fund the separate infrastructures and resources that could go directly to the individual or family needing assistance. It means that helpers in the different program structures have difficulty sharing vital information that would help serve individuals and families more effectively. Furthermore, technology could be leveraged to allow many decisions to be placed directly in the hands of the individual or family, thus obviating the need for intermediaries.
bulletThe current helping system is financed principally by government and philanthropy, despite the widely-used economic construct of market solutions in most other advancement endeavors. Recognizing that every sector has a role in addressing poverty and that market solutions are encouraged in most facets of American problem-solving, we must acknowledge that market-based strategies are significantly underutilized in America’s helping system.

All of the above leave America with less than the most effective helping system. As the economic, social, technological—societal conditions change the nature of poverty, we must also change the way our society thinks about it and addresses it in order to remain economically, socially, and morally sustainable as a society. We need to create an urgency in society to do the work of this recalibration, such that our society views eliminating poverty as:

bulletan exercise in developing self-sustaining conditions at the individual, family, community, and societal levels,
bulleta win-win exchange between society and individuals, individuals and institutions, and
bulleta way to create the harmonious conditions that allow for continued innovation, economic growth, strong relationships, non-violence, health, etc.

As the Director of the Office of Community Services, I draw on the history and intent of my organization to help communities address issues of poverty—first as the Office of Economic Opportunity, and in its subsequent evolutions as the Community Services Administration, and now as the Office of Community Services—to leverage the power of its mandate toward new constructs for thinking about and addressing poverty.

We have convened this group of the best and brightest thinkers to help begin a social movement toward developing this new construct. Understanding that it will be a long-term, complex endeavor, we recognize that we will not, over the course of the next 24 hours of our initial working session, solve the problem.

Rather, we are simply seeking to start the dialog by putting forward some guiding principles upon which to build a new construct and by creating the “space” in which to begin building it. Welcome, thank you for coming, and let’s get to it.

SESSION CONTEXT AND CONTENT

(Nancy Polend, Ed Strong, Tarryl Clark, and Lisa Cummins)

      Project staff presented context and content material to ground the work of the session: 1) Overview of the overall initiative using the characteristics of successful change as a conceptual framework and a description of the project’s activities as an operational framework; and 2) an exploration of the current state and key themes from the environmental scan of community-based solutions . See Appendixes D and E for staff presentations.

The Characteristics of Successful Change presentation suggested that, since the initiative is at its core the creation of systemic change, it is useful to map its evolving strategies and activities to a framework that represents components of successful change. The change model this initiative is using for this purpose is based on the work of John Kotter and John Corlett. The presentation made connections between the change model and the working session activities in which participants would be engaging. The presentation also made distinctions between what could reasonably be accomplished during the working session and what was long-term, evolving work to be done over the next decade and beyond. Acknowledgment of the uncertain, uncharted territory of this work was made explicit.

The second component of the Characteristics… presentation included the operational flow of the project’s short-term activities, showing what had been done to date, where the working session fit in, and what would come next.

The subject-matter-expert presentation, Community-Based Solutions to Reducing Poverty, provided an environmental scan of the way community-based solutions have been thought about, planned for, and implemented up to the present time. The presentation was based on research into what we know today about community building and some of the major challenges facing communities as they try to sustain growth initiatives.

Two approaches to community building are coming together. There have been traditional “place-based” strategies emphasizing changing physical structures in a community and “people-based” strategies which have emphasized developing human capital. Both appear to be necessary for sustainable community building.

We have learned that effective community building can only come from within the community itself; it cannot be imposed from outside. Indigenous community leadership is an essential element that must be intentionally, systematically, and continuously developed.

Most community building efforts today look at limited aspects of a community such as housing, crime, education, or job preparation. Few efforts take a holistic view of all aspects of a community. We do have some good examples of indicators of community health but they too typically have a specific focus such as the health and safety of children or economic competitiveness. The body of research on what works and what can be sustained over time is typically not incorporated into today’s initiatives – they are looked at often as projects with short durations and limited expectations. The reality is that community building is a long-term, evolutionary effort that grows as it produces positive results.

Effective communities involve all stakeholders, including commercial enterprises, in planning for its future. They have developed means of communicating with and involving all stakeholders in and of the community across sector, age, gender, income, and racial lines to come together toward a shared vision. Effective communities have established coalitions of organizations with a common purpose. All members of the community have and understand the roles they play and a shared ownership of the future.

In effective communities, resources that come into the community have been mapped and the community’s strengths have been identified as the building blocks for the future (as opposed to deficit identification). The resources that exist are leveraged so that there is much greater return on the dollar and service delivery is more integrated and person-focused.

FACILITATIVE STRATEGY

The facilitator set up the evening’s small group visioning activities by restating the idea that “if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” She also announced the rosters of each of the three small groups and addressed various housekeeping and logistical items 

Participants took an evening break to check in to their rooms and convened in the dining room at 6:15 for dinner. They were asked to dine with their small groups so that they could get acquainted before beginning their work later in the evening.

August 25, 2004: Evening

SMALL GROUP WORK: VISIONING THE IDEAL (DETERMINING DESIRED FUTURE STATE)

After dinner, each of the three small groups convened in their break-out rooms to begin their task of envisioning the ideal conditions for communities to 1) develop local leadership; 2) create community engagement; and 3) successfully implement ‘whole-community’ strategies for addressing poverty. The goal of the small group work was to bring focus to a desired future— built upon the guiding principles of the 21st Century Model to Address Poverty—for community-based solutions to poverty.


Visioning the Ideal: Local Leadership and Leadership Development

    Participants: Jeannie Chaffin, Sue Christie, Larry Lloyd, Gary Stokes, Debbi Speck, and Tarryl Clark
   
Facilitator: Nancy Polend

The group began its visioning task with the following question: What does it look like in the ideal if we have the leadership we need at the local level to address poverty? The following lists represent the results of their brainstorming.

bulletOrganized neighborhood “clubs”
bulletSelf-managed, convened, bottom-up
bulletPositive influencers (i.e. Education, business, social sciences)
bulletAbility to make systems respond (make things happen)
bulletSkill set to do this ( skills set to do the above point: emphasis on “respond”)
bulletChange agent (e.g. outcome/solution-based, asset-based, connected, open to new thinking) bulletVariety of leaders in everyday person-to-person interactions (poor people too)
bulletWho stand up and take responsibility
bulletBusiness community and coming together to help solve problems re: poverty [formal] bulletConscious knowledge of “my” responsibility to community in addressing poverty
bulletAll the way throughout community
bullet“Space” for community members to have “voice” -- i.e. leaders/ leaders emerge bulletPower structures where whole is greater than parts   social capital (e.g. voting, assembly) [formal power structures] bulletInformal power structure shared for critical issues for the community’s many leadership “jobs” bulletFormal power structure opens up the space for the informal power structure bulletMechanisms for residents to come together to identify issues
bullet …and for having formal leadership come to THEM
bulletFuture leaders/resilient young folks – generations (multiple generations as leaders) STAY (avoiding “bright flight”);
bulletGenerational vibrancy/engagement in its own business
bulletTraditional power structure actively pursues community engagement in its own governance…pursues development of a shared community vision
bulletAn understanding that there are a lot of leadership “jobs”
bulletLeads to sustainability
bulletTraditional power structure is RESPONSIVE to community shared vision -- they are stewards -- they LISTEN -- not interested in “my” agenda but the community’s
bulletLeads to sustainability.
bulletCreativity/risk taking by the “small p” and “capital p” folks (referring to both the formal and informal leadership) bulletGrowing new leaders on purpose bulletInfluence on meaningful things/tasks bulletLeadership development intentionally and systematically implemented – as a legitimate strategy like many other things (e.g. land use, economic development) bulletTolerance for trial-and-error---reframed to “learning environment” bullet“Disenfranchised” are recruited and grown for leadership   voice to be heard bulletListens to ALL VOICES as a matter of course. bulletCore Issue:
bulletWillingness of folks with power are persuaded to give some up
bulletFacilitating dialogue between those who suffer and those who have the power to change it
bulletHow do you get folks in power:
bulletTo give some power up?
bulletTo find out what poor people are dealing with?
bulletTo have folks shape community?

    Large group additions to small group work: 

bulletTheological and cultural leadership needs recognition
bulletYou don’t lose power when you share it   Power is infinite
bulletLeadership: Intentionality of grooming leaders through education.
bulletThe role of belief in God plays in the restoration of people’s communities faith (Role)
bulletLeadership vs. Power : Empowering all participants
bulletRelationships between power and leadership

 

Visioning the Ideal: Community Engagement

      Participants: Con Hogan, Marc Cherna, Sandra Janoff, Chris Sieber, Bob Woodson, Ona Porter, and Lisa Cummins  
    Facilitator: Ed Strong

      The group took on the task of what the ideal community would look like if it were a fully engaged community, with all members participating. The following list represents the thoughts of the group but does not represent a consensus. These are more brainstormed ideas and pictures.

bulletWe need to view communities as places of capacity – not incapacities and make use of the capabilities identified.
bulletAll communities need vision statements – statements of what they want to be. This is a universal concept that cuts across all communities not just low income communities.
bulletEngaged communities display the following characteristics:
bulletThey engage in planning; they have a reason for coming together; they are action-oriented
bulletThey have common aspirations
bulletThey engage in dialogues that surface multiple sides of an issue
bulletEverybody gets involved
bulletThe planning and dialogue is linked to an effective delivery system – this is an enabling condition; it must be present for ongoing engagement to be effective.
bulletThe delivery system provide effective services – this also is an enabling condition necessary for the engagement process to have staying power
bulletThere is reason for the engagement process to continue. It has sustainability as an enabling condition
bulletThe engagement process uses language that relates to every member of the community bulletReciprocal responsibility is a part of the entire process – everyone has a role to play bulletThe process has in the room authority; resources; expertise; information; and passion

The discussion moved to a more general framing of what is meant by a community and how current community planning efforts in some ways reflect the ideal but in others do not. This list also begins to identify some of the challenges that need to be overcome to have a robust community building process nationwide:

bulletIn today’s world the definition of a community can be very broad. It:
bulletuses technology to communicate
bulletis not always centered on meetings
bulletother venues, particularly electronic means, are employed
bulletThose engaged in the process can see a defined task that’s worth the effort
bulletCharacter changes but not characteristics
bulletThere are places where there are examples of community building focused on selected components or on limited areas; the challenge is how to take it to scale so that all communities can be so defined and community building is pervasive and sustained.
bullet Communities build on the successful techniques of entrepreneurs
bulletThere was a sense that there is a growing process of engagement; it is evolving based on new needs and new techniques
bulletA successful engagement process includes flattening the hierarchy
bulletA community must ask the question - what are we trying to impact - do our actions and structures supports that impact? We have simple tools to use in many different segments of the community
bulletThe boundaries of a community are self defined.
bulletGood community engagement cuts across sectors and uses non-traditional types of engagement
bulletMeasures must be relevant and understandable – can we look ourselves in the mirror and say these things count
bulletAn engaged community would know what’s going on
bulletAn engaged community works from inside resources
bulletNot dependent on outside help
bulletThe community has access to communicate its intentions and expectations at appropriate levels bulletAn engaged community involves cross-generational civic responsibility (at least 3 generations) bulletThere is a sense of participation throughout bulletAn engaged community defines success by the range of people involved not the number involved bulletIn an engaged community everyone has someone who cares for them bulletCommunities can be defined in many ways. Workplaces can be communities – they are often expressions of values bulletWe must broaden our concept of community to look beyond geographical/governmental units, which are often too large. bulletCommunity can have many definitions
bulletPeople who come together around an issue – have commitment – and can’t do it alone
bulletHave fun together
bulletWe must know the history of a community and celebrate it bulletAn engaged community is full of volunteers bulletAn engaged community decides how to decide – how to make decisions

 

Group Additions to Flipchart Information

      After presenting to the group as a whole, there were some additions to the small group’s work including 

bulletIn discussing community engagement, we usually focus on engaging the geographic community. But what about engaging other sub-communities, e.g. the academic community in terms of providing technical assistance?

Visioning the Ideal: Implementing Whole-Community Strategies

  Participants: Jack Burch, Obie Clayton, Scott Miller, Ann Peton, Tony Whitehead, Clarence Carter, Marvin Weisbord  
    Facilitator: Jeannine La Prad

      The group began its visioning task with the following question: What does it look like in the ideal for communities to successfully implement whole-community strategies? While the focus was supposed to be future oriented, the discussion began with members of the group each describing their current experiences with communities before shifting to a more future oriented focus. The following lists represent the results of their brainstorming.
 

What Needs to Change Within Communities? 

bulletIdentify/engage sub communities within a community
bulletSupport structures need to be in place to support a shared vision
bulletIncentives need to be available to engage around a shared vision
bulletWork together and find energizers/motivators to engage people
bulletAll the organizations need to see/shape the urgency around specific issues bulletNeed to deal with the issues more holistically bulletBe clear about the stakeholders (authority, expertise, knowledge, experience) bulletMaster plans don’t need to be in place bulletCoordination and control of action can’t be from outside, needs to be more organic bulletOkay for structures to change and to go away bulletCan’t have control freaks in charge of the process bulletSuccess builds confidence; a group can then move to more formal structure bulletMoving from conceptualizing to operationalizing a model is a real challenge bulletGetting politicians to pay attention when the community is at the center bulletAllow neighborhoods to establish budgets/receive the funding bulletCorporate sector needs to be involved in the community bulletDynamic structures/processes are essential when you unleash the community
bullet“Messy”/not neat and tight
bullet“It’s not a program”
bulletSustainability -- “Train-the-Trainer” approach is important to ensure initiatives thrive beyond initial resource investment bulletGet people across socio-economic classes to work together bulletGet rid of institutional factors that cause poverty

What’s Different in the Ideal Future State?

bulletResources would flow to ideas or a shared community vision
bulletTalking occurs through a collective voice; leveraging more resources
bulletPeople/organizations are recognized for their commitments/involvement
bulletRelational energy is kept alive
bulletFollow the energy
bulletOrganic and flexible community
bulletProblem solving model
bulletFree Market ideas are applied to the solutions (i.e., establishing a credit union for low-income people) bulletLeadership, community engagement, and implementation are all part of a continuum for whole community solutions bulletOrganizing the resources around the person or the whole community bulletMonitoring and evaluation mechanism is in place for determining progress and keeping an initiative alive bulletRecognizing and communicating success bulletWhole system is present:
bulletEngage the whole group so that all ideas/views are shared
bulletFocus on the common ground
bulletFocus on the potential future
bulletTake personal responsibility
bulletReconvening people frequently; continuous call to action and renewed commitment bulletEmbracing multiple cultures and language differences bulletBuilding confidence within a community to bring resources to the table bulletDynamic Model of Community Change

  Group additions to Flipchart Information

bulletNeed to communicate flexibility in monitoring/evaluating (performance based)
bulletAgenda built around passionate commitments to equal opportunity and to a minimally decent life
bulletEffective community structures will produce a reaction from established political hierarchy therefore they must have strategies for resisting or co-opting political actors

SMALL GROUP PRESENTATIONS TO LARGE GROUP

Each small group presented their work to the large group. All of the groups used the flipcharts they produced (as transcribed in the previous section of this document) as talking points and generally presented the highlights of their small group discussions. By design, the content of the presentations were not discussed in the large group during this evening session. Participants were instead instructed to write notes, comments, and questions on pieces of paper and attach them to the “facilitation wall” to inform the full group discussion to occur in the morning (see large group additions to flipcharts at bottom of each small group section—above—for written comments).

Leadership and Leadership Development in the Ideal: Talking Points

bulletDistinction between formal and informal leadership
bulletTake responsibility for own community
bulletStaying engaged in community issues
bulletFormal
bulletAbility to have influence/make change/have voice
bulletFreedom for risk taking/creativity
bulletSustainable
bulletPeople have a voice
bulletMany people in the community are doing ‘leadership jobs’
bulletReal leadership vs. management is present
bulletShared community vision

Community Engagement in the Ideal: Talking Points

When the small group reported out its deliberations to the full group, it identified a few key items from the list above to highlight. These included:

bulletThe ideal community engagement is as untidy as this report out
bulletEffective community engagement has a universal quality involving those in authority, those in need, and those with expertise in the process
bulletThe entire process is guided by looking at capabilities not incapacities
bulletThe process includes: developing common aspirations; detailed planning; service strategies; and sustaining activities toward a common vision
bulletThere is a focus on reciprocal responsibility where everyone has someone to care for them and everyone has the opportunity to care for others
bulletThe concept incorporates multiple sub-sets of an area such as workplaces and school as communities within themselves.
bulletThe effective community knows what going on; has access to information; and understands how to use measures of success that relate to the issues and are simple to follow.
bulletThe effective community can communicate its needs and intentions to the appropriate levels of power and has the power to act.
bulletThe effective community has fun together

 

Whole-Community Strategies in the Ideal: Talking Points

bulletDeals with issues more holistically
bulletRelational energy is kept alive – follow the energy
bulletOrganic and flexible community problem solving
bulletRecognizes and communicates success
bulletCorporate sector is involved
bulletSustainable
bulletPeople across socio-economic classes work together
bulletMonitoring and evaluation mechanism for determining progress is in place

 

EVENING CLOSE OUT: CLARENCE CARTER

     Clarence closed out the evening by thanking everyone for their hard work and sharing that he was both energized and exhausted.

August 26, 2004: Morning

The morning began with an opportunity for participants to reflect on the work of the day before and the themes that were common to the “ideals” presented by all of the small groups. The facilitator spent some time preparing participants for their tasks for the day and revisited the definition of success for the meeting.

    Success is walking away with…

bulletA set of components that define a fully empowered community
bulletAn understanding of what needs to change
bulletA start on specific strategies
bulletSome kindred souls in this effort moving forward who can help make real change.

Tasks for the day:

bulletReview and discuss in the large group the principles upon which this effort is based.
bulletDiscuss in the large group reactions to the small group presentations on the ideal future state.
bulletIdentify gaps (what needs to change) and strategies for closing the gaps in small groups.
bulletReport gaps and strategies to the large group.

   
THEMES: COMMON ELEMENTS OF IDEAL COMMUNITY-BASED SOLUTIONS ACROSS ALL PERSPECTIVES
 

bulletShared vision
bulletAll voices heard; dialog across socioeconomic lines (everybody has a role)
bulletCommunity/indigenous leadership is broadly distributed
bulletSustainability (recognizing that change/flexibility is necessary)
bulletEnergy/vibrancy/fun

 

REVIEW AND DISCUSSION OF THE PRINCIPLES

The group was asked to walk around the room to read and internalize the fourteen principles in preparation for the large group discussion. Participants were asked to think about whether and how the principles should be enhanced, whether they were clear (and what clarifications were needed), and about their reactions to them. The discussion is summarized below.

bulletShared vision: Considerable discussion ensued about the merits of using the language of “poverty” with and without its current definition. The following viewpoints were expressed:
bulletThe vision should be stated as bringing people out of poverty; bringing an end to poverty.
bullet“Poverty” is too narrowly defined as an income ‘number’ and that it is arrogant to place a number on someone and tell them they are poor.
bulletTo not talk about “poverty” is a disconnect; we must talk about the struggle and suffering associated with poverty if we are to gather momentum.
bulletAn alternative to “poverty” is to use language about “healthy communities.”
bulletBut, communities must define its own health; we don’t want to be nor can we be prescriptive, since all communities are not the same.
bulletHealthy communities and poverty are linked, since you can’t have a healthy community when poverty is present.
bulletExamples from the UK demonstrate that poverty can be addressed through working toward “healthy communities.”
bulletThe other principle of “poverty is broader than income” plays into this discussion. It is true that people do not want to acknowledge poverty and that it does mean more than income.
bulletWe must break through that denial. Poverty is now denied by the power structures that decide how to set up our systems and structures.
bulletReference to Martin Luther King: “He didn’t stand up and say, ‘we need to take the edge off of racism.’ We can’t say we need to ‘take the edge off poverty,’ either.
bulletIt is more about helping every individual meet their potential. bulletPerhaps “moving from poverty to prosperity” can be used. However, that brings us back to “poverty is an income number.” bulletWe cannot develop a shared vision without involving those that are impoverished. We must hear what they have to say and not patronize them by suggesting that we know what’s best. bulletHowever, we who can do something right now already know that little babies should not have rats chewing on their ears (true story). We know enough about the conditions to DO SOMETHING!
bulletWhile everyone does have a role, the basic structural issues that contribute to the persistence of poverty ARE the government’s responsibility to fix.
bulletLeadership must facilitate that dialog.
bulletOur role is one of servant leadership—we need to be informed by low income individuals. bulletReciprocal responsibility:
bulletThe statement needs to acknowledge the creative tension between the system’s responsibility and the individual and between capacity to uplift and rights/entitlement.
bulletThe ideal community pays attention to people who are suffering. We need to find out who else cares and do “with,” not “for.”
bulletStatement should reflect the notion of “allowing” people to reach their potential versus doing it for them.
bulletBiblical reference to “love thy neighbor” and “there should be no poor among you;” you can’t love thy neighbor and watch them suffer.
bulletEverybody has a role:
bulletNeed a statement about the need for an infrastructure that supports the basics for achievement in society.

IDENTIFICATION OF WHAT NEEDS TO CHANGE TO GET TO THE IDEAL (GAP ANALYSIS/ DEVELOP STRATEGIES)

  Small groups were convened again to identify gaps between the ideals they developed during yesterday’s work and the current state. Group report outs occurred before and after lunch.

Local Leadership and Leadership Development

Overall Leadership Gaps

bulletThere is a critical interdependence between community leadership (informal) and formal leadership
bulletNo one in either “structure” has identified poverty as a priority (holistic vision vs. “Band-Aid” strategies)
bulletNo systematic long-term community investment in leadership development (re: poverty…it is not on “the agenda”)

Gaps: Formal Leadership

bulletLack of data on community issues regarding poverty (formal AND informal leadership)
bulletRelationships that make data meaningful for action
bulletLack of understanding that shared power is more powerful than personal
bulletFocus on management vs. leadership (i.e. lack of vision)
bulletPower structure is closed; very few have opportunity to penetrate access
bulletGoal-setting missing (re: poverty)

Gaps: Community Leadership

bulletOften ill-equipped to represent community to the formal structure.

Gap: Attitudes/Behaviors

bulletMindset that we have a responsibility to DO SOMETHING!
bulletProduce a change strategy
bulletLong-term view
bulletPlan ahead for leadership development
bulletPractical knowledge building in community. (e.g. teach them how voting relates to getting what they want/need

August 26, 2004: Afternoon

Community Engagement Gaps and Strategies

Structure: Gaps Impeding Progress Toward Engaged Communities

bulletThere was a proposal that the lack of Universal Healthcare was a major impediment to building communities. This idea was not supported by the group as a whole but was a powerful issue for one member.
bulletIn the absence of basic security: engaging a community becomes paradoxical and problematic. Those basic issues must be addressed before others can be tackled.
bulletPart of the community building matrix is making choices available to people – allowing residents to self-select for services is a key element.
bulletThe community of helpers is hampered by the reality that certification not synonymous with qualification and there are many who could be good helpers but the rules that govern who can part of the helping system bar them from participating.
bulletDrugs/alcohol and offender issues are prime examples; some of the individuals who have faced these barriers could be most effective community organizers but they are prohibited from being part of the system
bulletThose with criminal records can’t even have a voice (the vote) or have access to services for themselves.
bulletRegulations in general bar employing broad strategies to implement things that work.
bulletStructures for engagement that give incentives for change and support change/new outcomes need to be expanded
bulletExample: increase voting percentages through active efforts
bulletIt is a developmental/incremental process to build community control
bulletExample: creating the concept of a family support center by the government but letting the community decide how it can be shaped and should be organized is a step toward developing the community’s capacity to self-identify it’s needs as a next phase.
bulletThere was a perception by some of the group that an impediment exists in how some programs which have strong community building components are actually run. For example: CSBG appears to be open to political control – it needs a strong community control requirement to make it more effective.
bulletThere is a need for resources that are flexible and general and community directed.
bulletExample: allowing a community to pick the technical assistance providers that come with some projects using vouchers redeemable upon demonstration of community input to maximize choice.
bulletThere is a need for more Federal policies that support community engagement
bulletIn developing policy, those in power should look for solutions through community lens creating incentive systems so that communities benefit from improvements they institute rather lose funds because of those improvements.
bulletA general rule must be to seek, value, and gather shared information from community members.
bulletBusy lives restrict participation potential in the form of coming together for meetings frequently
bulletWe need other means of engagement e.g. using technology
bulletResistance to change is part of any endeavor to overcome it, we need to achieve
bulletNeed critical mass
bulletArticulate successes
bullete.g. the example was used of a study of accidents by the elderly in grocery stores that could be attributed to having untied shoes; training baggers to check and to help by tying shoes proved to reduce the accident rate and improve communication between the generation
bulletProfessional providers need to be on tap NOT on TOP!

  Whole-Community Solutions Gaps and Strategies

bulletCreative tension exists; move to solution finding
bulletStructural challenges in terms of connecting people to jobs
bulletPeople in conversations finding common ground based on their frustrations
bulletNeed methodologies about building community; convening people to allow principles to flourish
bulletLeadership methodologies (i.e., transformational leadership)
bulletTechnologies need to be usable in rural communities
bulletBuild relationships across socioeconomic and class lines; establish dialogue and space for people to understand each others’ unique life circumstances
bulletResources need to be available to do this;
bulletProvide people with a menu of services to pick and choose which services are appropriate for their families bulletNeed more cross agency dialogue about sharing resources bulletSupport communities that are already building resources through better cross agency/coordination programs bulletIntegrated information about services availability at the community level (systems integration) bulletFund and work on higher impact projects and strategies--all activities need to support achieving the mission (stop low impact activities) bulletCommunity pride needs to be a way to engage political and economic leadership bulletResources need to be available to build the capacity of the community to solve their own problems bulletStrategies need to look at building social capital as much as wealth bulletNeed to work with families to address family values/social structures
bulletFully engage in creating healthy family structures
bulletNeed to put a “face” on poverty; make it a humanistic issue (creating scenarios about the conditions) bulletUse multimedia methods to communicate the issue/urgency bulletOrganizing community dialogues – turning energy into action bulletLet people within communities decide what they need to do; make methods/approaches available that are appropriate for that community bulletFunding should be provided only if the community can identify both an urban/rural partner community to transfer learning bulletCommunities need to develop sustainable funding strategies beyond government resources bulletNeed to support family formation

 

Strategies Summary

As each of the small groups reported the strategies they identified to the large group, the facilitator captured them in one list. The strategies were:

1)      Whole community dialogues can lead to concrete outcomes. Encourage, support, and facilitate these dialogues.

2)      Have community define its own needs/goals

3)      Divert funding from “programs for conditions” to community capacity building

4)      Expose communities to methodologies that work (dialogue, leadership, facilitation) – best practices

5)      Develop and encourage asset-building strategies (i.e. home ownership)

6)      Bring agencies together for dialogue and sharing resources

7)      Create environment in which people can engage in community, not just young people –across generations

a.       (healthy lifestyle, health care, basic survival needs met)

8)      Broaden availability of assistance by broadening definition of qualified helpers

9)       Provide choices/remove barriers

10)   Create incentive opportunities for buy-in/ownership of local service (i.e. family support center “competition”)

a.       Create capacity to make these kinds of decisions

11)   Measure outcomes to determine who should get funding as “helpers”

a.       (Faith-based, people in recovery, etc.)

12)  Look at impact of punitive laws

a.       (i.e. on people with drug & alcohol problems)

13)  Harness contingency at most basic levels

a.       (shoe tying)

14)  Listen to community to determine appropriate interventions

a.       (not hospital; mind-body-spirit wellness)

15)  Transform negative leaders into positive; listens to them to determine what kinds of interventions are useful

16)   Capture and share effective stories of transformation

a.       Make it shiny and have them lead to something (give direction)

b.      Be aware of Frames of listeners (tell story in a manner in which the listener can understand)

17)  Reduce the amount of prescriptive rules coming out of feds

18)  Engage community where the show pinches, not in abstract work on global issues

19)  Have resources available to sustain community efforts over time to allow movement from one issue to the whole community

a.       Inter-dependence of haves and have nots

20)  Look to the wisdom of the whole community, not just the “educated” (or any other single group)

a.       ER data

21)  Create incentives for being ‘in the room’

a.       Community Shares in benefit

                                                               i.      Cost savings return to community

22)  Make sure dialogues go across socioeconomic lines

a.       Make sure business community engages

23)  “Experts” should refer to real stories

24)   Use volunteers’ expertise more strategically toward issue of poverty (e.g. accounting, construction, health care, education skills versus ladling soup)

25)  Make major investment in communication strategies –

a.      Beware of tendency to avoid looking at system change and tendency to avoid looking at personal responsibility

b.      E.g. Groups of leaders doing presentations

c.       Recognize that conversation must go beyond ideological structures/confines

26)  Create formal community commitments/blueprints to address poverty

27)   Be willing to push back against own ideological barriers

28)   Choose language that makes sense to audience

a.       i.e. develop and disseminate appropriate language for business audience, etc. at all levels.

29)  Start where they are-

a.       Understand audience’s issues

30)  Consider strategies for intimate/relational dialogue-

a.       Individual successes facilitated at all levels lead to whole community relationships and recognition of interdependence

31)  Prepare formal and informal leaders to enter into productive dialogue

32)   Use data in intentional ways to keep ideology from driving/controlling the dialogue; make sure appropriate data is available.

33)   Make sure focus is on specifics/ the urgent issues – but within the context of the larger community goals

34)   Provide opportunities and skills for leadership development

a.       Define the “body of work” that makes up leadership

35)  Create long-term, systematic plan for community development of its own leadership.

36)   Give extraordinary level of support to community leaders to allow focus on leadership, not management.

37)   Identify the multitude of leadership roles in community and invite everyone to participate. Create environment in which its possible for them to perform them (building capacity of indigenous leaders).

38)  Begin capacity building at younger age; broad investments in long-term opportunities.

39)   Do community mapping/sociogram of young people to identify potential leaders.

 

PARKING LOT ISSUES

A few “parking lot” issues were put up on the board. The group did not have a chance to discuss them. The issues were:

bulletWith the media faithfully reflecting and choosing not to challenge the boundaries of debate set by political parties, potential answers to major problems cannot find expression.
bullet“Community”—any place that people come together on a regular basis and who share a common set of values, beliefs, and expectations.
bullet Is the distribution of income produced by a free market presumptively moral?

SESSION CLOSE OUT AND NEXT STEPS: CLARENCE CARTER

      Clarence thanked the group for their engagement during the session and provided information about next steps. Next steps included 

bulletThe project team will be compiling the proceedings of the session and distributing it to participants for clarifications and enhancements.
bulletParticipants will be given a set amount of time to submit enhancements
bulletOnce all of the working sessions are completed and all meeting records were revised based on the participants’ review, the development of a “blueprint for change” will begin. bulletThere may be some follow up needed with some of the participants as the blueprint development progresses. bulletHope to set up a web-enabled space for participants to remain connected to the initiative and to each other. bulletBlueprint draft to be completed in early January bullet“Mega-Session” in which participants from all working sessions will be convened in the same space to see and discuss the draft blueprint.


        Clarence spoke of his desire for this initiative and this group of participants to “write an important chapter of history” and his belief that we had gotten a great start with the thoughtful contributions and engagement of the group. He thanked everyone once again and wished them safe travels.

 

APPENDIX A: Core Elements: Mission, Imperatives, Vision, and Principles

CORE ELEMENTS

Mission, Imperatives, Vision, and Principles

August 2004

Mission

This initiative seeks to change the way this country thinks about and addresses poverty.

Imperatives (Why)

Among other reasons, we engage in this work because:

bulletDespite significant investment in addressing poverty, persistent poverty exists.
bulletWe have a moral imperative to take care of one another, as our “brother’s keeper” and as provided in the founding documents of our nation. No one should have to live an impoverished life.
bulletWe have an economic imperative to ensure that the capacity of individuals, communities, and the nation for innovation is encouraged and sustainable.
bulletPoverty is costly to taxpayers, wherever they live, via the costs associated with social services, remedial education, law enforcement, welfare programs, etc.

Vision (Desired Future)

Fewer people will live impoverished lives because:

bulletPoverty is viewed by the mainstream as broader than income.
bulletSociety proactively plans for decreasing the number of people living impoverished lives.
bulletIndividuals proactively plan for a future for themselves that is not impoverished.
bulletThe education sector proactively plans and implements strategies to reduce the number of people living impoverished lives.
bulletThe banking industry proactively plans and implements strategies to reduce the number of people living impoverished lives.
bulletThe health industry. . .
bulletThe justice system. . .
bulletThe philanthropic sector. . .
bulletThe Federal government focuses its programs and policies on the above.

Principles

The desired future will be built upon the following principles:

bulletPerson-centered service delivery structure: Effectively and efficiently serving individuals in need means that the service delivery structure must focus on the needs of the individual or family, not on the needs of the helping system.
bulletConsistency with America’s tenet of free enterprise: As in most facets of the American experience, the helping system should leverage the philosophy of free enterprise. Doing so encourages and supports free market solutions to geometrically expand the helping resources available to serve Americans in need.
bulletReciprocal Responsibility: Full and equal responsibility for maximizing potential lies with the individual to society and with society to the individual.
bullet“Poverty” is broader than income: Income is only a part of an individual’s ability to make life work and to be a productive member of society. Human potential depends on different types of capital -– social, economic, and spiritual.
bullet“Poverty” as we know it is only a starting point: Traditional definitions and mental models about poverty (e.g. models based exclusively on income determinants, which suggest poverty as a population) are starting points only.
bulletShared vision: New ways of thinking about and addressing poverty are aligned with the assumptions built into the founding documents of the nation.
bulletHopeful: Our new construct is built on a foundation of a profound belief in the natural gifts, skills and abilities of every person to achieve when set free.
bulletFundamental right to individual potential: Every individual has the right to achieve their potential, regardless of circumstance, strengths, or weaknesses.
bulletSystemic interdependence: All parts of the system (read: nation) must fulfill their obligations toward maximizing potential in order for all to be successful. No one policy, program, community, strategy can maximize the nation’s collective human potential alone.
bulletLeveraging resources: The ability of an individual or system to align and strategically use the resources they have toward the outcome of success, as they have defined it.
bulletBudget neutral: Spending more Federal and philanthropic money is not the issue. We should strive first to make wiser application of existing resources.
bulletEverybody has a role: Every sector of society (government, private industry, non-profit, communities) has a role in creating a nation of reciprocal responsibility and opportunity. These roles may or may not be consistent with current roles.
bulletGovernment as convener: The government role is one of convener and catalyst for enabling innovation.
bulletChange is necessary: We cannot create a nation of reciprocal responsibility and opportunity using these principles without fundamental change occurring in every sector of society.

 

APPENDIX B  Research Themes: Community-Based Solutions

Community Based Solutions – Key Themes and Questions

Community Based Solutions

Key Themes

Community Based Solutions Related to Poverty

The United States moved from a moral/compassionate view of the role of government in addressing poverty (Social Security Act - 1935 – AFDC) to a personal accountability view (Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act - 1996 – TANF), with major implications for service providers and recipients.

  There have been an array of other federal programs designed to assist people in attaining self-sufficiency, but they have all been limited in their capacity for success by restrictive parameters attached to program delivery. Additionally, the programs have been established, funded, delivered, and measured in silo format, independent from any other effort, which makes it difficult for communities to build comprehensive approaches that address local conditions.

bulletSuccess will not come from a new program, but from flexibility in combining the programs and resources that are already available.
bulletA dichotomy of strategies has been used to fight poverty.
bullet“Place strategists" in the community development field focused on rebuilding neighborhoods through housing, retail development and attempts at job creation.
bullet“People strategists" in the human services arena focused on helping those living in poverty to obtain the skills, personal orientation and support needed to achieve self-sufficiency.

There is a growing realization that both strategies must be integrated to be successful.

bulletChange in the system may occur more rapidly if impoverished individuals and families are seen as customers and if the community applies the principles of customer relationship management and continuous improvement. Members of all socio-economic levels must be included in the change process.
bulletPoverty is manifested differently in urban and rural environments, thus requiring different solutions.
bulletUrban areas are losing a sense of community due to sprawl and multiple hubs of economic activity. Affordable housing is a major workforce related issue.
bulletRural areas are small scale/low density and have difficulty connecting to urban centers of activity. Transportation and lack of markets are major workforce related issues.  

Increasing diversity requires understanding of how different populations relate to both poverty and potential solutions. Solutions require flexibility to address multi-cultural differences. Addressing shared cultural values – family, health, safety, and community - can help frame solutions.

bulletSuccessful communities are those that foster positive relationships among residents. Communities with some level of social capital tend to have lower crime rates and better relationships. Social capital refers to the norms and networks that enable collective action. Social capital can take many varied forms, including congregation-based community organizing; civic environmentalism; participatory school reform; and numerous others.
bulletCommunity building is continuous, collective action aimed at problem solving and enrichment that results in greater equity, strengthened institutions and relationships, and higher expectations for life in the community.
bulletSustainable community building happens when the public is engaged, not persuaded.

Community Assessment, Planning, and Development Models

bulletCommunity building begins by assessing who and what is in the community so those talents and resources can be leveraged. This is called community asset mapping.
bulletAsset mapping can also raise awareness of community issues and promote citizen interest in change.
bulletCommunities may use a variety of indicators to quantify their assets. Indicators are a diagnostic tool leading to vision and action. Different frameworks are used by different organizations. The most common indicators fit into seven categories:  wellness and safety; economic well-being; educational preparedness; community participation; nurturing, inclusive environment; transportation; and demographics.
bulletWhile some frameworks use a strong community or smart neighborhoods framing, a new framework is based on sustainability. Sustainability has as its goal a holistic view of environmental factors on human, environmental, and business success.
bulletEach community approaches planning in its own way, but there are four basic models: managerial, legislative, limited community participation, and community empowerment. Traditional process management models are most likely to fail. Efforts that involve the community, but assign some level of responsibility to a formal structure to monitor progress are more likely to succeed.
bulletIt is debatable whether community development is about place or people or about process or outcome. It also makes it difficult to see potential solutions.
bulletPlace or People: Place-based development has been the predominant model for 40 years. The premise is that the “place” must be improved before the people can benefit. However, significant investments must also be made in people in order to bring about change.
bulletProcess or Product: Certain processes empower people, but sustainability of these processes must ultimately be driven by results. Community development is actually dependent on place AND people AND process AND results.
bulletTwo different approaches to community building are asset-based development, which starts from strengths found in asset mapping, and deficit-driven development, which starts from a delineation of problems. The problem with the latter approach is that it creates a mindset that people in a neighborhood have special needs that can only be met by outsiders.
bulletThe key to community change is having poor neighborhoods define their needs and assets, have a strong say in their own fate, and work toward making communities not only viable but sustainable.

Community Building as a Poverty Reduction Strategy

bullet“Community building” is new terminology that describes a comprehensive approach to addressing interwoven problems such as unemployment, inadequate housing, economic disinvestment, substance abuse, neighborhood violence and educational failure that have traditionally been addressed through categorical programs.  
bulletCommunity building efforts share common principles:
bulletBuilding on assets;
bulletEmphasizing community-based strategic planning;
bulletAddressing sources of deterioration in a comprehensive way;
bulletDeveloping partnerships or collaborations among all stakeholders; and
bulletStressing flexibility of design.
bulletBarriers to successful community building include:
bulletLack of agreement on basic terminology;
bulletLimited consensus on goals and values;
bulletComplex tensions that characterize working relationships; and
bulletChasm between theory and evaluation and actual practice.
bulletMany community building approaches include Community Action Agencies (CAAs), Comprehensive Community Initiatives (CCIs), and Neighborhood Revitalization Initiatives.
bulletCAAs collectively serve 13 million low-income people annually in 96 percent of the nation’s counties. They serve over a quarter of all Americans living in poverty and several million more families with incomes only slightly above the poverty line. Their shared goals include securing and maintaining employment; securing adequate education; securing adequate housing; providing emergency services; improving nutrition; creating linkages among anti-poverty programs; and achieving self-sufficiency.
bulletCCI goals commonly include encouraging community empowerment through the development of leadership and organizational capacity, improving the delivery of human services, expanding beyond housing development, fostering local economies and job creation and retention, and pursuing comprehensive community transformation.
bulletNeighborhood Revitalization Initiatives address quality of life issues including crime and safety and nuisance abatement. Their comprehensive neighborhood framework utilizes crime prevention strategies including “opportunity blocking,” targeting of “hot spots” and addressing both supply side and demand side factors that facilitate criminal activity.

Linking Community, Economic, and Workforce Development Efforts

bulletWorkforce development strategies that connect job seekers to employers are not geared to communities. Rather than being part of a place-based solution, they tend to target hardest-to-serve residents who are isolated from labor markets.
bulletMore effective workforce development efforts have a “dual-customer” perspective, connecting the needs of employers in the larger regional labor market with the needs of low-income job and skill seekers, while providing the necessary linkages to poor communities and community-based institutions.
bulletEconomic development efforts are primarily locally funded and governed, while workforce development efforts are primarily responsive to federal leadership and dependent on federal funds. Local government can help align economic development and workforce development for community building.
bulletEconomic development policies to alleviate poverty include enterprise zones, microenterprise programs, and community development financial institutions (CDFIs).
bulletEnterprise zone programs share the basic concept that the revival of significant industrial or commercial areas is a promising approach to revitalizing adjacent residential area. Limited data about outcomes suggest that these zones have not been effective in their purpose.
bulletMicro-enterprise programs typically provide business development services to people who are currently operating or are interested in starting a microenterprise. A micro-enterprise is defined as a business with five or fewer employees that is small enough to require initial capital of $35,000 or less. Microenterprise programs produce businesses with high survival rates.
bulletCDFIs focus on serving low-income or otherwise disadvantaged persons from distressed areas by providing lending activities and other services. CDFIs are effective in targeting their services to people with restricted access to capital, but are currently too small and offer too limited a range of services to fill the credit gaps left by mainstream financial institutions.
bulletCommunity Development Corporations (CDCs) came out of the Great Society programs to bring about social, economic, and physical revitalization in their communities. Many focus on the production and rehabilitation of low-income housing. Other activities include housing counseling and related services; commercial real estate development; employment counseling and placement; rehabilitation of industrial property; and neighborhood planning.
bulletEconomic and community development program models can be broken down into four types: (1) urban education linked to workforce development; (2) programs and services supporting successful transition to work; (3) successful urban entrepreneurial strategies and resources; and (4) effective tax incentives and finance tools to promote inner city development. Characteristics in common among all four program models are:
bulletLinked to a market need and strategy;
bulletEntrepreneurial, opportunity-driven approach;
bulletVisionary and pragmatic leadership;
bulletEndorsed by high level corporate, philanthropic, or governmental leaders;
bulletFocused mission with clear goals and customers; and
bulletComprehensive, customer focused program design.
bulletResidency in an extremely disadvantaged neighborhood increases the likelihood of negative behaviors. The effect is much smaller than family effects, but it is still believed that peoples’ life chances can be improved by living in better neighborhoods.
bulletTenant-based housing assistance (i.e. vouchers and certificates) can help diminish the financial constraints preventing low-income families from relocating to better neighborhoods. The premise works less well for black families because of persisting racial issues, although this can be overcome through counseling and employer outreach.
bulletLow income families’ average income, adjusted for inflation, is less then it was 30 years ago. The major cause of this negative trend is the decline in their rates of pay.  The economic gap between the haves and have-nots currently stands at its highest level in the post-WW II era.
bulletThe living wage movement posits that no one who works for a living should be poor. Wages paid for full time work to even the lowest wage workers should lift them out of poverty. Outcome data is small, but suggests that living wage ordinances produce positive impacts.
bulletTipping points for bringing about community change include: individual leaders; responding to opportunity or challenge; rising awareness of community issues; and shared vision.

 

Creating, Maintaining, and Sustaining Community-Based Solutions

bulletThe methods for improving communities that have been most successful are those where:
bulletNon-profits, business, local government, and citizens have made a commitment and an investment to make their particular situation better;
bulletResidents are invested and encouraged/empowered to affect their own lives;
bulletHolistic approaches and structures are used;
bulletStable community-based organizations and development corporations are in place;
bulletDiverse coalitions exist that involve the stakeholders in and out of the affected area;
bulletLeadership is developed at all levels; and
bulletCommunities address race and ethnicity issues.
bulletSuccessful initiatives:
bulletAre “responsive” (outcome) rather than just “comprehensive (process);
bulletHave a “champion” to mobilize resources and implement the vision;
bulletDevelop partnerships, coalitions, and collaboration; and
bulletLeverage and bundle resources.
bulletImportant elements for leading social change include:
bulletVisioning;
bulletPlanning;
bulletImplementation
bulletEvaluation; and
bulletSustainability.
bulletEvaluating the success of community change presents many issues for presenting and disseminating data. Strategies for maximizing impact include:
bulletProduce frequent public reports and fact sheets;
bulletConduct face-to-face briefings with multiple audiences;
bulletRelease findings to intermediate organizations that can distribute them;
bulletMake data available to community stakeholders on computer diskettes, accompanied by training sessions; and
bulletUse the news media, the Internet, and research papers.
bulletSuccessful comprehensive community initiatives have learned to use data not only to validate strategies or raise funds but also to inform positions, strengthen programs, and build capacity for change among community members and groups.
bulletSustainable community change initiatives commonly:
bulletTook advantage of a catalytic event early in their development;
bulletTended to expand organically as needs arose and related opportunities were identified or developed;
bulletHad a visible signature development or effort;
bulletHad charismatic leaders with either an entrepreneurial bent or willingness to hire such individuals;
bulletHad a solid working-class population base in the community; and
bulletHad adequate, stable, and flexible financing.

Questions to Consider

bulletHow well have service providers and recipients adjusted to the personal responsibility model for alleviating poverty? What change has the personal responsibility model had on the public’s perception of people receiving public assistance? What changes have come about in other poverty related programs as a result?
bulletHow do we engage people in a healthy discussion of place vs. people strategies in alleviating poverty? What are the barriers to that kind of discussion? What does it really “look like” when the strategies are integrated?
bulletHow would you recognize a program that sees poor families as customers with whom customer relationship management techniques must be applied? What would be the characteristics of such programs? How can those characteristics be incorporated in new initiatives?
bulletHow do we quantify social capital in such a way that we can tell if it is growing or diminishing? How do we engage both residents and service providers in strategically enhancing social capital? What other kinds of capital are important, and how do we quantify those resources?
bulletHow should community asset mapping be launched? Who are likely candidates to lead a successful launch? What should be done if key stakeholders don’t participate? What templates or examples exist for asset mapping? How do you know when you are “done?” What does the map look like? How can the effort be sustained over time? What should be done with the results?
bulletCan you think of examples of community efforts that started from an asset-based approach and those that started from a deficit-based approach? What was the community reaction? What do you see as the pros and cons of the approaches?
bulletHow can we use what we have learned about successful models to affect the impact of community action agencies, comprehensive community initiatives, and neighborhood revitalization initiatives? What are the implications for future grantmaking and grant solicitation?
bulletIn your experience, how do you think workforce development professionals perceive their role in poverty reduction? How do economic development professionals perceive their role? How do community builders interact with both this groups?
bulletHow can we foster more interaction among workforce, economic, and community building groups? What is an effective venue?
bulletWhat has been your experience with enterprise zones, micro-enterprise zones, community development financial institutions, and community development corporations? What has been effective or not effective? Why?
bulletHow do we address some of the tensions surrounding the “living wage” debates? What has that language come to mean in some quarters?
bullet“Leadership” is a key factor in all successful initiatives. How do we recognize existing leaders at all levels, including among the impoverished population? How do we cultivate leadership when none is apparent?

--------

APPENDIX D  Current state presentation: Highlights from the research

Community Based Solutions to Reducing Poverty

Where We Are Today

bulletDichotomy of “place” strategies and “people” strategies
bulletImpoverished individuals viewed as cases, as “recipients”
bulletOne-size-fits-all approaches
bulletPoverty reduction paradigms based on cultural / racial environment of the 60’s

Where We Are Today

bullet“Data driven decisions” not put into practice
bulletLimited “Out of the box”, innovative thinking
bulletDisjointed efforts, missed synergy
bulletThe Great Disconnect
bulletFunder-driven strategies
bulletPeople are not the focus
bullet“Community-based strategic planning” has limited relevancy
bulletDisconnect between social theory, practice, and results

Where We Are Today: Community Economic Development

bulletNew Roofs aren’t enough
bulletIncreasing focus on downtown revitalization
bulletGentrification of Neighborhoods
bulletLimited effectiveness of Economic Development Efforts
bulletFocus on lower-impact strategies

Characteristics of Highly Effective Communities

bulletNon-profits, business, local government, citizens and other stakeholders have made a commitment and investment to make their situation better
bulletPeople are invested and encouraged/empowered to affect their own lives
bulletCharismatic, entrepreneurial leadership is developed at all levels
bulletCatalytic, organic efforts to mobilize people, interests, and passions are seized upon
bulletCommunities address race and ethnicity issues
bulletHad visible signature effort or development that reflects work
bulletHolistic approaches and structures are used
bulletStable community-based organizations and development corporations in place
bulletDiverse coalitions exist that involve the stakeholders in and out of the affected area

Challenges to move into 21st Century Solutions

bulletAre all resources being leveraged? Non-traditional service sectors?
bulletHow can shared vision for communities be realized (locally, regionally, nationally)?
bulletHow does the emergence of class affect strategies?
bulletDoes the right leadership exist in communities to affect change?
bulletAre all sectors of the community aware of their issues, opportunities and challenges to affect change?

----------------------------------------------

Office of Community Services

Creating the 21st Century Model to Address Poverty

Family Economic Security

September 7-8, 2004
Aspen Wye River Conference Center  
Queenstown, MD
 

MEETING RECORD

Distributed to participants: December 8, 2004

This document contains the proceedings of the working session and has been compiled from the small and large group discussions, the associated flipchart records, and from the presentations given by project staff. Reaching consensus during the session itself was not attempted.

Therefore, this document merely reflects the viewpoints as they were expressed in the session and does not imply agreement among participants and/or project staff.

PRE-MEETING MATERIALS

Participants received the following materials prior to the working session:

bulletPreliminary Agenda
bulletCore Elements: Mission, Imperatives, Vision, and Principles (Appendix A)
bulletResearch Themes: Family Economic Security (Appendix B)

ON-SITE PACKET MATERIALS

Participants were provided a meeting packet containing the following materials:

bulletFinal Agenda
bulletCore Elements: Mission, Imperatives, Vision, and Principles
bulletInitiative Context presentation: Characteristics of Successful Change (Appendix C)
bulletCurrent state presentation: Highlights from the research (Appendix D)
bulletResearch Themes: Family Economic Security
bulletParticipant List (Appendix E)
bulletProject Staff List (Appendix F)

MEETING AGENDA

      Overarching Goal: The goal of all of the working sessions is to allow people from a variety of backgrounds and sectors to bring their expertise to bear toward creating a fundamentally different model for thinking about and addressing poverty.

      Session Objectives: This working session has five objectives:

1)      Share a compelling case for change and articulate a vision and set of principles upon which to build strategies to fundamentally change the way we think about and address poverty as a nation.

2)      Review the current state relative to four key areas that impact family economic security—basic income (including work supports), acquisition and growth of assets, mainstream goods and services, and public policy and compare/contrast with the stated vision.

3)      Identify some key elements of a desired future state for each of the four areas (i.e., what it would look like in the ideal) from the perspectives of the individual and the community.

4)      Identify some of the areas in which work must be undertaken (i.e., change levers) to close the gap between existing and ideal states.

5)      Brainstorm preliminary strategies for filling the gaps.

 

Tuesday, September 7, 2004

2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Registration

3:00 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. Welcome and Overview by Clarence H. Carter: The overall case for change and why we are here; the vision of the 21st Century Model to Address Poverty.

Session Context: Conceptual framework for the overall initiative and facilitative strategy for the session.

3:45 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. Session Content—Starting Points: A guided tour of the current state and key themes/issues that impact family economic security.

4:15 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Review of Principles: Exploration of the principles that will guide the development of a new model for thinking about and addressing poverty.

5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Break

6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Dinner

7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Small Group Work (Lenses—Basic Income, Acquisition and Growth of Assets, Mainstream Goods and Services): Each small group engages in visioning to describe what it ‘looks like’ in the ideal in each of the topic areas from two perspectives—the individual and the community. The goal of the small group work is to bring focus to a desired future—built upon the principles — relative to their topic.

9:00 p.m. – 9:45 p.m. Small Groups Report: Groups present their work to the large group. Large group will not discuss presentation content at this time, but will be asked to post questions and comments on wall for discussion the next day.

9:45 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Evening Closeout: Facilitator leads interactive session about the work that’s been done so far, and what remains for tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 8, 2004

7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. Breakfast

8:30 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. Large Group Discussion—Processing Small Group Work from Wednesday: Using the notes taken by participants the night before, the group will focus on and discuss each of the focus areas presented. The focus will be on identifying the key elements of the desired future, rather than problems with the current state.

10:15 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Break

10:30 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Identification of Gap Areas and Change Levers: Identification of levers for change (and related considerations and challenges) that would require work in order to get ‘there’ from ‘here.’

11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. Lunch

12:45 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. Identification of Preliminary Change Strategies: Moving from visioning and change levers to ideas for closing the gap.

2:15 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Session Closeout and Next Steps: Discussion of how the work that’s been done here will be synthesized to create the pieces of a draft systemic change strategy and about how to begin the work of change.

 

PROCEEDINGS

September 7, 2004: Afternoon 

INTRODUCTIONS (facilitated by Barbara Hulburt)

WELCOME AND OVERVIEW BY CLARENCE CARTER

Clarence Carter provided the overall case for change and why we are here; the vision of the 21st Century Model to Address Poverty and previewed the underlying principles for the development of the model. Notes from his overview are provided below and contain an amalgamation of his opening remarks from all four of the working sessions.

As America continually strives to form that ‘more perfect union’ envisioned by our founding fathers, one of the key factors we have always struggled with as a society is how to care for those in greatest need. For purposes of our work here, we focus on the segment of our society that exists within the condition we define as poverty.

Every generation or so, our society recalibrates its thinking and approaches for addressing poverty and it is clearly time for another recalibration. It is time for us to change the way we think about and address poverty because:

bulletWe know that as the number of people living in poverty increases, it becomes more and more difficult for any society to sustain itself. None of us wants that for our great nation. As long as many of our citizenry remain under-optimized, our society can never reach its full potential.
bulletThe most recent major recalibration was initiated 40 years ago via the 1964 “War on Poverty.” President Lyndon Johnson believed that turning the power of the federal government loose on the issue that we as a society could eliminate poverty.
bulletWhile there is much progress to celebrate, we clearly have fallen woefully short of the lofty objective of ameliorating poverty. As a result of the “War on Poverty,” scores of programs were created, the U.S. Poverty Index was established, unprecedented public spending was dedicated to the objective, and a massive ‘helping’ industry was created. Though there have been impressive gains in many important indicators of societal well-being, we have not shifted in our approaches as quickly as the conditions have.
bulletThe U.S. Poverty Index, developed in the 1960’s and based on an income/food consumption model, is no longer representative of the conditions of poverty (e.g. cost of living, basic income needs, economic trends, technological advancements, family structure and roles, workforce trends, etc.). As the economic, social, technological—societal conditions change the nature of poverty, we must also change the way our society thinks about it and addresses it in order to remain economically, socially, and morally sustainable as a society.
bulletWe are still using the income/consumption model and the basic formula as designed in the 1960’s under vastly different circumstances. Proposed reforms to the Poverty Index over the last three decades to add other cost elements such as housing and health care and to add other income sources such as the cash value of benefits have not been successful, resulting in the continued use of a formula that has outlived its efficacy as a accurate definition of the conditions of poverty.
bulletWe currently spend hundreds of billions of dollars annually on assisting those in greatest need in America without an acceptable return on investment. Unfortunately, since there is no shared vision guiding and leveraging our investments toward a common objective. Our spending is ad hoc, in categorical programs—with their own rules, regulations, and objectives—which often work at cross purposes with other programs and initiatives. Private initiatives often suffer from not having enough resources to be truly effective. In the aggregate, our fragmented and categorical approach results in the old adage; ‘If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.’
bulletThe issue of poverty is best addressed at the community level. The current construct in which the ways to address poverty is prescribed at the Federal level fails to fully engage and empower communities to develop their own vision for the future and the strategies they need to get there. The uniqueness of America’s communities demands a service strategy unique to each community’s objectives, resources, and obstacles.
bulletThe current construct forces the needs of individuals and families to fit into categorical programs that cannot possibly anticipate or address the whole and interdependent nature of what they need to make their lives work for them. Often the goals and objectives of the various ‘helping programs’ work at cross purposes, making a comprehensive set of services and support that would be effective problematic at best. This approach is another example of not leveraging the resources that are currently being expended on the issue and does not give us a return on our investment.
bulletThe existing construct does not maximize the use of technology that would provide for infinitely more efficient and effective delivery of service and/or to reduce the need for the services in the first place. The current categorical construct requires separate technological infrastructures for each of the programs, which means that precious resources are required to fund the separate infrastructures and resources that could go directly to the individual or family needing assistance. It means that helpers in the different program structures have difficulty sharing vital information that would help serve individuals and families more effectively. Furthermore, technology could be leveraged to allow many decisions to be placed directly in the hands of the individual or family, thus obviating the need for intermediaries.
bulletThe current helping system is financed principally by government and philanthropy, despite the widely-used economic construct of market solutions in most other advancement endeavors. Recognizing that every sector has a role in addressing poverty and that market solutions are encouraged in most facets of American problem-solving, we must acknowledge that market-based strategies are significantly underutilized in America’s helping system.

All of the above leaves America with less than the most effective helping system. As the economic, social, technological—societal conditions change the nature of poverty, we must also change the way our society thinks about it and addresses it in order to remain economically, socially, and morally sustainable as a society. We need to create an urgency in society to do the work of this recalibration, such that our society views eliminating poverty as:

bulletan exercise in developing self-sustaining conditions at the individual, family, community, and societal levels,
bulleta win-win exchange between society and individuals, individuals and institutions, and
bulleta way to create the harmonious conditions that allow for continued innovation, economic growth, strong relationships, non-violence, health, etc.

As the Director of the Office of Community Services, I draw on the history and intent of my organization to help communities address issues of poverty—first as the Office of Economic Opportunity, and in its subsequent evolutions as the Community Services Administration, and now as the Office of Community Services—to leverage the power of its mandate toward new constructs for thinking about and addressing poverty.

We have convened this group of the best and brightest thinkers to help begin a social movement toward developing this new construct. Understanding that it will be a long-term, complex endeavor, we recognize that we will not, over the course of the next 24 hours of our initial working session, solve the problem.

Rather, we are simply seeking to start the dialog by putting forward some guiding principles upon which to build a new construct and by creating the “space” in which to begin building it. Welcome, thank you for coming, and let’s get to it.

SESSION CONTEXT AND CONTENT

 (Nancy Polend, Ed Strong, Tarryl Clark)

Project staff presented context and content material to ground the work of the session: 1) Overview of the overall initiative using the characteristics of successful change as a conceptual framework and a description of the project’s activities as an operational framework; and 2) an exploration of the current state and key themes from the research regarding definitions and measures of poverty. See Appendixes C and D for staff presentations.

The Characteristics of Successful Change presentation suggested that, since the initiative is at its core the creation of systemic change, it is useful to map its evolving strategies and activities to a framework that represents components of successful change. The change model this initiative is using for this purpose is based on the work of John Kotter and John Corlett. The presentation made connections between the change model and the working session activities in which participants would be engaging. The presentation also made distinctions between what could reasonably be accomplished during the working session and what was long-term, evolving work to be done over the next decade and beyond. Acknowledgment of the uncertain, uncharted territory of this work was made explicit.

The second component of the Characteristics… presentation included the operational flow of the project’s short-term activities, showing what had been done to date, where the working session fit in, and what would come next.

The subject-matter-expert presentation provided an environmental scan of the current state in multiple areas of family economic security. A historical view of the economic support landscape was given and a case for change was made from the perspectives of the resources currently used to support family economic security, individual family needs, and the service delivery mechanisms currently being used to support families.

The dynamics of the economy and families themselves have changed over the past several decades. For much of that time, the major public approach to helping poor families with children, often headed by individual females, provided a small cash grant together with supports, such as health care and food stamps. While women entered the workforce in increasing numbers, parents receiving cash assistance for their families who obtained jobs lost key supports soon after they began earning income for their families.

During this period, many other low-income families earned wages insufficient to meet their basic needs, but too high to access supports let alone cash assistance. By the late 1980’s and into the 1990’s, the public approach shifted to eliminating rules that kept parents from earning money for their families and helping parents gain access to entry level jobs. Beginning in 1996, with the enactment of sweeping welfare reform, the expectation for parents who can work is that they do. For those families, cash assistance is time limited, accompanied by work requirements. Some level of supports, such as health care, child care assistance, and job search services are generally available.

The shift from cash assistance programs to assisting people in obtaining entry level jobs modified service delivery systems and families’ lives. Systems that now assist people in securing entry level jobs have been strengthened, but there has not been a corresponding emphasis on strategies for poverty reduction. There are few mechanisms to assist people in planning or accessing pathways that will lead them out of low-wage jobs.

Most low-wage earners struggle to provide for their families’ basic needs and many find their rewards do not necessarily match their efforts. Access to jobs with benefits is limited. Like low-wage workers previously described, they have limited or no access to work supports (e.g. health care, child care) until they earn enough to meet their family’s basic needs.

A large portion of the population experience a financial crisis during some period in their lives, but the support mechanisms in the form of family, savings, possessions, and networks clearly differentiate the general population from low-wage earners who do not have access to such mechanisms.

Asset building is critical for those seeking economic security for their families – including home ownership, savings, and human capital investment. However, there are few public resources devoted to asset building, and low-income families are rarely able to acquire assets.

Low-wage earners do not have full access to their limited resources and have difficulty accessing mainstream services. The most visible example of this is in the area of financial services. Payday lending, rent to own, and other predatory lending services flourish, at a significant cost to low-wage earners in the form of very high interest rates.

In combination, these types of financial services coupled with the other conditions mentioned previously, make obtaining a mortgage or earning interest inaccessible to low-wage workers.

Focusing on the person is often difficult for systems, organizations, and individuals within the larger ‘helping system.’ In addition to the public systems, there are many nonprofits, faith organizations, and other groups which seek to help families in crisis or those seeking to become self-reliant. Services are generally provided via organizational or funding silos, which makes it difficult for the person to figure out where and what s/he can access and just as difficult for the system to have a lasting effect on the ‘whole person’s” capacity to be self-reliant.

The person has the burden of navigating fragmented systems and programs. While Community Action Agencies, Workforce Centers, public human services agencies, and others have made an effort to create a “one stop” experience, they still must refer participants to some other services. Few communities and systems have approaches that focus on assisting the person overcome her/his barriers and maximize her/his potential.

There is some creative experimentation with new leading edge service delivery options and the potential for greater focus on the person is substantial.

The creation of a 21st Century approach to family economic security focuses on generating new opportunities and high-impact strategies in four areas: basic income and work supports; the acquisition and growth of assets; the ability to access mainstream goods and services; and public policy related to these three. These are the areas in which we will focus the small group work, later in the session.

REVIEW OF THE PRINCIPLES AND LARGE GROUP DISCUSSION

At this point, the participants were invited to walk around the room to read, internalize, and react to the core principles proposed for the 21st Century Model to Address Poverty (see Appendix A).

A large group discussion of the principles revealed several useful ideas for enhancements.

bulletBudget neutral: Spending more Federal and philanthropic money is not the issue. We should strive first to make wiser application of existing resources.
bulletDiscussion and Feedback: There was significant and lively discussion that demonstrated a collective misgiving with this principle. The group’s discussion centered on the perception that its wording suggests a preconceived decision that no new funds need to be expended on the issue, when in fact, to be more consistent with the other principles, we really don’t know whether it will require more or less spending. Some participants also pointed out that it could be construed as political posturing. The group acknowledged that the phrase “budget neutral” is known as a politically charged phrase, with multiple potential meanings. Several participants expressed the suggestion to delete it as a principle altogether, and some suggested that the “leveraging resources principle addresses making better use of existing resources.
bulletShared vision: New ways of thinking about and addressing poverty are aligned with the assumptions built into the founding documents of the nation.
bulletDiscussion and Feedback: Some concern was expressed about the well-intended language in the founding documents that now holds new meaning or that have been compromised by the nation’s historical application of “equal rights.”
bulletReciprocal Responsibility: Full and equal responsibility for maximizing potential lies with the individual to society and with society to the individual.
bulletDiscussion and Feedback: This principle was noted as the most useful in bringing together some of the known and opposing worldviews of poverty. It was  noted by the group that reciprocal responsibility includes corporate citizens. This principle was also noted as one of the key ideas that should stand alone (vs. being combined with any other principle, as suggested below) in conveying the key foundational components of a new model for addressing poverty.
bulletEverybody has a role: Every sector of society (government, private industry, non-profit, communities) has a role in creating a nation of reciprocal responsibility and opportunity. These roles may or may not be consistent with current roles.
bulletDiscussion and Feedback: The suggestion was made to include education in the list of sectors). Discussion of this point included the possibility of deleting the list, since the intent of this principle is all-inclusive.
bulletGovernment as convener: The government role is one of convener and catalyst for enabling innovation.
bulletDiscussion and Feedback: A brief discussion of the need for government to use its “bully pulpit” to initiate systemic change. The group discussed the notion that government’s role as a convener is necessary to find long-term leaders in society.

A suggestion was made to combine some of the principles with similar themes so that “the message” was more concise. A few of the themes that could accomplish this were pointed out to project staff. They were:

bulletIndividual potential,
bulletReciprocal responsibility, and
bulletIndependence.

The idea that it will be increasingly important as time goes by to hone the message to a few key ideas was discussed among several participants and the OCS Director. The suggestion of reducing the existing set of 14 to four or five key principles was well-received. The group offered other “messaging” considerations, listed below:

bulletShift from adequacy to opportunity
bulletStart with awareness of greater capacity than opportunity
bulletInvestment in people
bulletReciprocal responsibility
bulletEverybody in it (all sectors)
bulletShared Vision: poverty as a matter of national, social, and economic security
bulletRights of individuals should be limited by the harm that is does to others
bulletNeed to explicitly recognize that the market cannot address needs most of very low-income and government has to step up
bulletReferences to “free enterprise” are as hot as “budget neutral”
bulletA role for government, not the role
bulletIf resources are allocated for a purpose, the entity should be free to use them for inconsistent purposes (Leveraging Resources principle).

    The large group discussion continued with some questions about the future of the initiative and some general observations. A participant asked Clarence what would happen to this initiative after the election. Clarence responded by saying that this effort is not an attempt to create “another government program,” it is about a long-term effort to change the way this country thinks about and addresses poverty. He added that this work will go on, regardless of any administration and that what happens to the effort is largely dependent on what everyone in the room does when they get home. He reiterated that everyone has a role and responsibility in the effort and encouraged participants to think of themselves as a “guiding coalition” to create and embed the changes necessary.

Another question was about how the principles would be used after the session. The response was that they will be used to frame the conversation going forward.

One participant offered that building the capacity of individuals requires the “4 C’s:”

  Confidence

  Competence

  Connections

          Capital

 

FACILITATIVE STRATEGY

As the large group discussion wound down, the facilitator walked through the success factors for the session and led the group in a process of establishing guidelines for participation.

Success is walking away with:

bulletA set of components that describe economically secure individuals and communities
bulletAn understanding of what needs to change
bulletA start on specific strategies.
bulletSome kindred souls in this effort moving forward who can help make real change.

The facilitator then explained the evening’s small group visioning activities and restated the idea that “if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” She also announced the rosters of each of the groups and addressed various housekeeping and logistical items.

The small groups were:

1) Basic income (including work supports)  
    2) Acquisition and growth of assets  
    3) Mainstream goods and services

Participants took an evening break to check in to their rooms and convened in the dining room at 6:15 for dinner with their small group colleagues. After dinner, each of the three small groups convened in their break-out rooms to begin their task of envisioning the ideal future in each of the three small group topic areas.

September 7, 2004: Evening 

SMALL GROUP WORK: VISIONING THE IDEAL (DETERMINING DESIRED FUTURE STATE)

      Each small group was asked to engage in visioning to describe what it ‘looks like’ in the ideal for their topic area from two perspectives—the individual and the community (e.g. what does it look like in the ideal in order for an individual (or community) to acquire and grow assets?). The goal of the small group work is to bring focus to a desired future—built upon the principles—relative to their topic.

The small groups settled into their break-out rooms to envision a desired future state relative to their topic area.

Basic Income: The Idea

While the general group charge was to view the assigned topic from the two aspects of the individual and the community and in fact the group reported out in that framing, the workgroup felt that the issues surrounding income were generic to both the individual and the community and that describing the community conditions that needed to be present would then lead to allowing individuals to determine their own paths. This approach is reflected in the summary statements below.

In order to understand the flow of the discussion, the final group conclusion is presented first. It represents the collective thinking of the group of what would define the ideal state from an income perspective. In reading this, note that there is no dollar figure stated or implied. The group felt that the level an individual or family needs varies with the individual and with the family. What is important to note is the group felt that simple survival was not sufficient – there has to be adequate income to allow the individual or family to move upward – to pursue the American Dream (a self-defined term for each individual and family given the combination of their own abilities, aspirations, and efforts).

    Every individual/family/community has enough resources to meet their basic needs, to thrive, and to pursue the American Dream.

      Note: The group did not feel that the above statement was perfect but it was as close as they could come to a common definition. The statement embodies the concepts of beyond survival to thriving and the ability to move forward. “Pursue the American Dream” was the most difficult concept One iteration said “achieve their aspirations to the American Dream”. That was not fully satisfactory to the group but it encompassed the best description of a self-determined state that differs for each person and family and is related to their talents and how they use them.

A core theme is that the community is supportive of all levels of aspiration and does not present barriers to achievement.

In order to arrive at this collective statement, the group considered many factors that would contribute to a sense of adequate income and how it would feel in various venues. The following are the key elements that the group felt an adequate income should be able to provide – without defining it as a certain level or even a percentage of any average or the like and the conditions that the community must create to maximize individual potential.

bulletThe community provides a sense of physical safety for all.
bulletThe community ensures adequate education and training to meet individual and societal needs and provides a level playing field in access to such education and skills training.
bulletProtection for the assets people have accumulated e.g. freedom from usury, excessive fees, etc.
bulletFair and reasonable options to access goods and services e.g. food shopping within reasonable distances and that is priced similarly across all areas.
bulletInfrastructures to sustain its residents in terms of housing and community resources.
bulletThe community is purposeful in the kinds of jobs it creates through it economic development efforts so that there are opportunities at all levels and the ability to move upward in the local economy.
bulletLadders up to better jobs: defined pathways with supports that allow workers to increase their skills and then move to higher paying jobs that take advantage of those new skills
bulletThe community support opportunities for those in low wage jobs.
bulletThe community makes targeted investments for better jobs through its economic development and community building efforts. Better jobs are defined in terms of higher wages and jobs with benefits.
bulletCommunity systems support flexibility/agility e.g. the ability to adapt to changing economic conditions so that its citizens are given a wide array of opportunities in an ever fast paced world
bulletFuture generations are better off than the last will be one key measure of success.
bulletThe community supports all individuals regardless of circumstances e.g. single people (no dependants) have the same access to support mechanisms and opportunities as do others.
bulletIndividuals and the community abound with hope.
bulletSystems are integrated and acting on behalf of people
bulletGaps in income are filled in some way; the way is purposefully not defined – it happens in the best way for the individual and the family.
bulletEveryone who wants a job has one.
bulletIndividuals have a predictable income and there is general economic security in the community overall.
bulletThe community has an awareness of self-sufficiency (what it takes to meet basic needs in that community without institutional or governmental support) and the community uses that knowledge as tool in making decisions that affect the community’s growth and economic future.
bulletThe community had robust social networks.

      While the group’s report was posted on the wall for consideration by the whole group, individuals from the whole group were offered the opportunity to add their individual thoughts. These are captured below but it should be noted that these were not necessarily discussed and represent individual views:

bulletAccess to education and other opportunities is necessary but not sufficient
bulletDoes the definition of self-sufficiency include government benefits or does self-sufficiency preclude government assistance?
bulletWhy is there no mention of “livable wages” or benefits?
bulletEmployees don’t control wages, employers do. An employer focused initiative would have more impact.
bulletReference was made to the Aspen Institute’s Self-Employment Learning Project and how micro-enterprises can assist low-income workers and low-income communities supplement income from other sources.
bulletSilo problems are barriers – examples of differing eligibility criteria for HUD programs (80% of median area income vs. OCS IDA eligibility criteria of 200% of poverty).
bulletThere is a need to reduce asset/employment penalties and to reduce the effective tax rates on the poor.
bulletBecause people change jobs, job-related assets need to be portable.
bulletAssertion – low-wage jobs are central to the low-income problem: what is the private sector’s role?

 

Acquisition and Growth of Assets: The Ideal

      This group engaged in visioning to describe what it ‘looks like’ in the ideal for individuals and communities to acquire and grow assets. The initial discussion focused on describing the range of assets that would be in the ideal state for either individuals or communities. The following lists start with a general description of assets and then include more specific ideas from the perspectives of the individual and community.

General Descriptors of Assets

bulletFinancial Capital: home equity; business equity
bulletHuman Capital
bulletSocial Capital
bulletPhysical Capital and Ecological Capital
bulletPeople as economic actors and producers; need to change perception that people are only consumers
bulletAn asset is something of value that appreciates and depreciates
bulletAn asset is something to use in the future; something to fall back on
bulletAn asset is something you need for ongoing improvement
bulletAssets will go up in value over time (i.e., appreciating assets)
bullet“Asset” may mean different things, for different people, in difference situations
bulletValue depends on where you start (i.e., a lease on an apartment to a family or homeless person is an asset)

 

Individual Assets

bulletGoal is for the individual to be able to successfully acquire, grow and maintain assets
bulletBasic starting points include: housing; health; education; physical security; civic engagement; economic security
bulletAccess to credit, capital, and basic banking services are also essential in terms of economic security
bulletAffordable, quality housing
bulletAssets are for the next/future generation
bulletEvery child will have a “nest egg”
bulletEvery family would have a minimum of “invest-able” assets
bulletLow and middle income individuals have incentives for accumulating assets
bullet(See CFED Report “Hidden in Plain Sight”)
bulletNeed to see stable, predictable income or “sufficient income,” but this isn’t a prerequisite to asset building bulletIn the future we won’t see statistical differences in asset holding by race, gender, income levels bulletAsset accumulation strategy is unique for each community bulletCommunities strategies based on differences in income; won’t see this in the future bulletSeeing low income individuals as economic actors not just consumers; individuals need the 4 Cs (confidence, competence, connections, and capital) bulletSeeing business ownership at the individual and community level as an important way to pass on wealth bulletIndividuals are protected from usurious lenders bulletIndividuals will be financially savvy through financial education bulletCivic Engagement
bulletReciprocal Relationship between individual and community in terms of asset protection
bulletCommunity/civic involvement in advocating for a range of housing and economic development options bulletMore/Increased access to some level of postsecondary education (completion is increasingly important as well)
bulletPeople need to be at a certain level of competence
bullet“Access is necessary, but not sufficient”

Community Assets

bulletNeed political, economic, and civic institutions to promote and support individual and community asset building (also need information)
bulletSeeing asset building at the institutional level in communities (i.e., ownership of credit unions)
bullet“Institutional sustainability is key” to maintain the capacity to help individuals accumulate assets
bulletUnclear about need for institutions relative to the guiding principle around “person-centered” services
bulletIdentifying and supporting effective intermediaries (i.e., organizations that are focused on the needs of the individuals) bulletEngaging volunteers in the work of leading and running these institutions/organizations bulletSeeing well developed social networks bulletInformation is readily available, organized, and disseminated about individual and community asset building
bullet“Communications infrastructure” is in place
bulletCommunity engagement is important for ensuring the people wanting services are at the table bulletInstitutions that are “owned” by members of the community (ownership could mean a number of things) bullet“Common” assets are essential (i.e., roads, airways, public spaces, etc.) bulletEmployers support asset building and see it as a “Good Business Strategy” bulletHigh incidences of indigenous ownership of businesses bulletOngoing communication, inspiration, motivation about building and maintaining assets within communities bulletEvery individual/sector understands how to connect with and support asset building bulletFrame the message in a way that speaks to asset building
bulletContent is important as is who is doing the communicating
bulletMethods for communication must be appropriate to the needs of individuals

Mainstream Goods and Services: The Ideal

      This group began by discussing the types of goods and services that could be included in their visioning task. The types of goods and services they wanted to consider for this task included financial, educational, health care, job training, and technology goods and services. The following lists contain the brainstormed components of an ideal environment where there is access to and use of mainstream goods and services by everyone—particularly those considered low-income.

The Ideal from the Individual Perspective

bulletCredit Union/Bank presence (non-profit)
bulletAccess to financial institutions that exist to serve people with lower balances/income
bulletATM/Debit cards with multiple outlets bulletAccess to competitive financial services
bulletLocated in every community
bulletFinancial education required in school system bulletFinancial Planning starts early, is maintained and part of lifestyle bulletAll have access to quality public education/early education (including those children between the ages of birth to 5.)
bullet money for schools, good teachers, etc.
bulletAll students would achieve …regardless of income bulletThere is no achievement gap bulletIncentives programs occur to encourage ownership/opportunity (housing) bulletSaving and investment are valued more than consumption (after basic needs are met) “e.g. America Saves” bulletAccess to health care and wellness services bulletLocation, location, location
bulletBank is there, health care is there…
bulletMobility issues are addressed
bulletRelocate to where shills are needed/transportation to jobs
bulletAll children age 0-5 have access to quality early education bulletIndividual plan for access to adult presence bulletIdeas and talent can find capital for entrepreneurial pursuits bulletCommunity colleges play an active role in supporting education of low-income individuals bulletMatching job opportunities with job training to individuals
bulletTax incentives for above statement exist
bulletCommunity development is family-focused bulletSoft-skills/life shills are provided on-the-job (every job/real job) bulletAccess to technology
bulletComputer with internet access (i.e. reduces barriers)

Community Perspective

bulletHealth care is available during all hours/accessible/convenient
bulletRegulate conditions under which pay day lending establishments operate (e.g. database in Florida)
bulletAdvance pay checks and employers –vs.- pay day/ending
bulletEmployers flexible on pay day/frequency (i.e. weekly)
bulletCommunities proactively plan to address poverty (with everyone at the table)
bulletSocial networks that allow linking people from all income levels with each other
bulletCommunities engage/involve consumers of payday lender, check-cashing, emergency room users in developing alternative strategies

SMALL GROUP PRESENTATIONS TO LARGE GROUP

      Each small group presented their work to the large group. All of the groups used the flipcharts they produced (as transcribed in the previous section of this document) as talking points and generally presented the highlights of their small group discussions. By design, the content of the presentations were not discussed in the large group during this evening session. Participants were instead instructed to write notes, comments, and questions on pieces of paper and attach them to the “facilitation wall” to inform the full group discussion to occur in the morning (see large group additions to flipcharts at bottom of each small group section—above—for written comments).  

Basic Income: Talking Poin 

Individual:

bulletEveryone who wants a job has one
bulletStable and predictable income
bulletAwareness of self-sufficiency
bulletAccess to education and skills development
bulletRobust social networks

Community:

bulletSense of physical safety
bulletLevel the playing field in access to education and skills training
bulletConscious of kinds of jobs created
bulletTargeted investment for better jobs and higher wages
bulletSystem that supports flexibility / agility
bulletFuture generations are better off than last
bulletSupports all individuals
bulletIntegrated systems
bulletGaps in income are filled in some way
bulletEvery individual / family / community has enough resources to meet their basic needs to thrive and to achieve their aspirations of the American Dream.

Acquisition and Growth Assets: Talking Points

bulletFinancial, home equity, business equity, human capital, social capital, people as economic actors
bulletTime dimension of assets
bulletAssets may mean different things to different people in different situations
bulletAcquiring and maintaining assets
bulletNeed political / economic and civic intuitions to promote and support individuals
bulletAssets generated for the next generation
bulletEvery child have a nest egg
bulletEvery family has a minimum asset investment
bulletLook at assets differently by community

Individual and Community:

bulletIndividuals protected from usurious lenders
bulletCivic engagement is important
bulletFinancial savvy individuals
bulletStable / predictable income
bulletAccess to post-secondary education
bullet“Access is necessary, but not sufficient”

Community:

bulletPolitical / economic / civic institutions to promote and support individual.
bulletAsset building at institutional level
bulletIdentify and support effective intermediaries
bulletWell developed social networks
bulletInformation is readily available
bulletInstitution is owned by members of community
bulletEmployers who support asset building
bulletNeed to form the message in a way that speaks to asset building
bullet4 “C’s” – Confidence, Competence, Connections, Capital

Mainstream Goods and Services: Talking Points

Individual:

bulletAccess to competitive financial services
bulletFinancial planning starts early in everyone’s lives
bulletFinancial education in schools
bulletAll have access to quality public education and early education
bulletPerformance of teachers is high
bulletThere is no achievement gap for children (K-12)
bulletAccess to healthcare + wellness services

Community:

bulletRegulations for payday lending
bulletHealthcare available during all hours
bulletAdvance paychecks
bulletEngaged consumers

 

EVENING CLOSE OUT: CLARENCE CARTER

  Clarence thanked everyone for hanging in there late into the evening, previewed the day ahead, and wished everyone a good night.

 

September 8, 2004: Morning

The facilitator opened the morning by walking the group through the themes found among all of the groups’ visioning work of the day before and asked the group to identify themes she may have missed.  

THEMES: COMMON ELEMENTS OF THE IDEAL ACROSS PERSPECTIVES

bulletStable and predictable income
bulletProtection of income and assets
bulletLevel playing field in access to :
bulletQuality education 0-5; K-12
bulletSkills development
bulletHealth care
bulletCredit, competitive banking services (located in community), capital (for ideas and talent)
bulletHousing
bulletIncentives
bulletFinancial literacy
bulletTechnology
bulletTransportation
bulletAssets/planning for future generations
bulletHope
bulletPeople as assets and as economic actors/producers  
bulletCommunication
bulletWith consumers
bulletAmong organizations
bulletWithin communities
bulletRobust social network

Group additions to Flipchart information 

bulletNeed to communicate flexibility, into monitoring/ evaluating (personnel based)
bulletAgenda built around passionate commitments to equal opportunity and to a minimally decent life
bulletEffective community structures will produce a reaction from established political hierarchy -- therefore they must have strategies for resisting or co-opting political actors
bulletFree market solutions appropriate for some but not every issue.

Clarence then led a large group discussion on a few of the key principles that were not discussed in detail the previous day. During the large group discussion, the following points were made:

bulletIt is important not to lose context of War on Poverty.
bulletIssues of race / equality / justice need to be counted in
bulletWe need to remember where we come from and where we are headed. We don’t want to get ourselves trapped though.
bulletAcknowledge the difference between 20th and 21st century agendas.
bulletAdequacy vs. Opportunity
bulletWe are talking about investment strategies
bullet21st Century agenda to talk about opportunity; we should strive for opportunity not adequacy.
bulletOpportunity agendas help people rise. Education levels are backwards / regressive. More random in effect. Subsidies discourage ownership of homes.
bulletWe have to talk about opportunity.
bulletWe have to figure out how adequacy turns into opportunity.
bulletWant to aspire for more than adequacy. But if we go get people to adequacy it would be a major step.
bulletIt should not be either/or. There is a notion of justice across the nation. There are basic fundamental beliefs. We can’t divorce adequacy from opportunity.
bulletHope that something great comes of this
bulletSociety must be encouraged. This has to capture imagination of society; we’ve got to craft a communication strategy.
bulletWe need to learn to have a conversation without blame.
bulletIt is imperative that we don’t cast aspersions.
bulletWe need to link arms and hearts in an effort to help ‘Ms. Maimie.’ bulletIt is safe to say that we do not yet have a society we’re working toward. bulletImportant to wage this effort carefully. I want to understand what’s changed when black child poverty is worsening. Budget neutral needs to get off the table. We need to think about all pieces.
bulletThat is wise and accurate. Create environment without casting aspersions. Whether or not people believe conversation is reflective of leaders. The most important issue to poverty is bringing people together to talk about it.

IDENTIFICATION OF WHAT NEEDS TO CHANGE TO GET TO THE IDEAL

Each of the small groups reconvened to identify gaps and brainstorm strategies for closing the gap between the current state and the ideal state that they developed during their first small group activity.

Basic Income: Gaps and Strategies

      The small group re-convened to discuss both gaps and strategies that would help move individuals and communities toward the ideal state identified in the earlier session. The gaps are presented first followed by the strategies. 

Gaps 

bulletThere simply are not enough good paying jobs to allow everyone to achieve one that suits him or her.
bulletThere is insufficient childcare to meet the needs of those who need to work.
bulletThe immigrant population needs are substantial and are not being met in the current system.
bulletSocietal decision making structures impede being able to move forward on many poverty issues.
bulletHousing concerns exist at several levels – promoting ownership; managing debt; rising values put many homes out of reach of low-income families; in many areas the wages of low-income workers combined with high housing costs makes the percent of their income that they have to spend on housing too large - leaving nothing for other essentials and definitely nothing for asset building.
bulletThis item was perceived as both a gap and a strategy. There is an inconsistent message on work supports. As a society we have to have conversations about how to reconcile the messages and come together on the themes.

Strategies 

bulletPromote the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC): it is one of the most effective weapons we have to address poverty for low-wage workers
bulletSimplify the process so that workers can easily get the credit as part of their paychecks (exists to some extent but is not easy to implement)
bulletRevise eligibility to protect workers without children.
bulletPromote Individual Development Account (IDA’s) through such mechanisms as the expansion of community development financial institutions (CDFIs). bulletCreate robust social networks so that communities can share experiences and find ways to use local contacts for work supports, jobs, assistance, etc. bulletRevise Unemployment Insurance rules to expand coverage/eligibility so that UI is a better part of the social safety net. bulletMake the concept of life long learning a real part of our society and recognize that it extends from birth to death. bulletDevelop approaches for supports for those working and those not working. bulletInvest in creating advocacy avenues so that low-income communities can have a voice in what happens to them and for them. bulletCreate buy-in/support from consumers/communities. bulletRe-structure program eligibility determination processes so that there is presumptive eligibility for a variety of supports thus dramatically simplifying applying for programs. bulletIn measuring TANF success assess whether caseload reductions is actually helping to meet needs. bulletDevelop a coherent child support policy/advocacy mechanism/strategy as part of an integrated approach to problem-solving: articulate the goal of creating nurturing environments to support children. bulletTake-up rates for all supports should be increased through a comprehensive strategy to get the message about economic security out to all who are eligible. bulletCreate a strategy to take the message of the 21st Model to Address Poverty across Federal agencies. Healthcare may be a place to start: it cuts across many factors and impacts many agencies’ interests. bulletCreate a coherent and broad-based strategy around job initiatives including a focus on career ladders; employer involvement in messaging on work supports to their low-income workers; addressing the consequences of being uninsured; and recognizing that all levels of jobs are needed – work toward more career pathways. bulletBuild a strategy on expanding financial literacy initiatives. bulletEngage in deliberate efforts to build caring communities with reciprocal responsibility as a core theme. Include in the effort developers; citizens at all levels; and government. bulletCreate more entrepreneurial opportunities using models that have been successful for low-income workers in childcare and food related enterprises.

Group Additions to Flip Chart Information

bulletEmployees don’t control wages, employers do. An employer focused initiative would create more impact.
bulletUnder the individual sector: No mention of “livable wages” or “benefits.”  Huh?
bullet“Patching” use of small business to supplement income from jobs. Aspen Institute self employment learning project
bulletEvery individuals family/community has enough resources to meet basic needs, to thrive and to pursue the American Dream
bulletDefinition of self-sufficiency – Does this include government benefits, or does self-sufficiency preclude government assistance?
bulletAccess to education, and other opportunities is necessary, but not sufficient
bulletBecause people change jobs, job-regulated assets need to be portable
bulletSilo problem; HUD eligibility; 80% median area income; OCS-AFI IDA 200% of poverty
bulletReduce assets/ employment penalties
bulletReduce effective tax rates on poor
bulletAsset development and opportunity – more difficult than minimum consumption
bulletAssertion - Low-wage jobs are central to the low-income problem; Question - What is the role of private sector?

Acquisition and Growth of Assets: Gaps and Strategies

      The group re-convened to discuss both gaps and strategies that would help move individuals and communities toward the ideal state of acquiring and growing assets. The gaps are presented first followed by the strategies.
 

Gaps

bulletStructural aspects of our current economic system ensure we’ll always have poor(er) people (i.e., poverty is more structural as we become a more service-based economy)
bulletUnited States job market has worsened in terms of job quality, lower wages, less security
bulletRole of government needs to be very different
bulletIncreasing economic inequality
bulletRelative poverty (inequality vs. absolute poverty; focus should be on reducing absolute poverty)
bulletNeed a stronger safety net and we need to pay attention to individuals that are ready and able to move forward bulletHelp that’s needed that we’re not talking about
bullet“Deep therapy /change” is needed
bulletSupport for individual change/transformation
bulletTrouble setting priorities; choosing to help some and not others is difficult for many to swallow
bulletNot talking about “values;” espoused values may not be aligned with action in terms of investing resources
bulletNeed to appreciate the effect of asset poverty and how things can change through an asset development strategy
bulletPerception of poverty has changed for a number of Americans.
bulletNot dealing with the public perception of the poor; focus on the American public’s reaction to and understanding of poverty
bulletPerceptions of the homeless and other impoverished people get in the way of solving problems
bulletStill have an ethnic/racial tension underlying individual values/perceptions of poverty
bulletNot enough people in the country have access to asset building strategies/support
bulletFailing on the big picture side in terms of dealing with public perceptions and values

Strategies

bulletPlay off the idea of reciprocal responsibility in terms of promoting tax strategies
bulletBuild from Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) philosophy/strategy
bulletAggressively use EITC to help families accumulate assets (approximately 35% not being used)
bulletLeverage what’s being claimed to establish an “Asset Building Movement”
bulletLook at new ways of framing the success with EITC
bulletCreate the strategic foundation to create big changes
bulletCreate the environment for incremental strategies/change toward those big changes
bulletCreate opportunities for change
bulletFocus on high-return investments and strategies
bulletGive people hope that there can be a return from building assets
bulletBe clear about where we have made progress in raising the floor/baseline in terms of housing
bulletNeed to grow and shift resources, not only talk about using limited finite resources
bulletNeed to connects people to appreciable, long-term financial assets (i.e., investments clubs)
bulletLook at the set of people that have shared economic concerns/issues
bulletBegin talking about assets, reducing poverty from an economic perspective
bulletSpeak more to the private sector to leverage more money to build assets
bulletNeed to not lose a focus on adults or a generation of people that haven’t achieved their full potential
bulletFrame this as a developmental strategy (i.e., ages 0-5, 5-12, 12+)
bulletNeed to help people see the possibilities (i.e., “self-talk”)
bulletBe clear about priorities for investments; be okay with decisions to invest at one level and not others
bulletShort term strategy to ensure adequate safety net; medium term to support families at lower end of the market; and longer term to support advancement through skills development/ education
bulletLook at reallocation money for tax expenditures (taxes not collected); quantify and talk about this as a change lever
bulletIDA needs to move from programs to tax strategy
bulletFocus on our future through our kids; “family an children” are an important part of the message; helping children by building their family’s assets
bulletReframing message in a way that brings focus to building a community’s assets as a way to build a family’s assets

 

Mainstream Goods and Services: Strategies

      The group decided that their previous work in envisioning the ideal also served the purpose of identifying gaps. They used their existing work to brainstorm strategies, as follows:

Access to Financial Services

bulletRefocus CDFI (Community Development Financial Institution) on a priority of bringing financial institution into low-income communities. This is a tool the nation already has.
bulletTap into market forces that are already in place (ATM, EBT) to focus on bringing low-income into mainstream.
bulletEncourage co-location of financial institutions/ banks/ financial services/credit unions into facilities that serve—
bulletHead start
bulletPost offices
bulletCAA
bulletHuman Services Agencies
bulletWorkforce Centers
bulletContinue and expand the “new markets” tax credit program beyond 2007
bullet(encourages private sector investment into low-income communities)
bullet Research into success, expand based on results
bulletContinue/ Expand Community Reinvestment Act (CRA)/ fair lending regulations and enhance enforcement for banks of all sizes
bulletLending: as lending relates to entrepreneurship and home ownership
bulletEncourage employers to be flexible on payday frequency and/or payday advances to provide alternative to pay day loans
bulletEngage broad community stakeholders, including consumers of payday loans, check cashing, etc. developing alternative strategies, and anti-poverty strategies.
bulletHold “opportunity fairs” in communities to highlight financial planning, home ownership, jobs, health … have corporate sponsors
bulletLink financial counseling to other services/programs (e.g. home ownership, IDA)
bulletRegulate conditions under which pay day lending establishments operate to move to more equitable/ competitive transactions
bulletTap into community colleges as a site for financial planning/ education for low-income individuals/families

 

Access to Financial Education

bulletGive small grants to HS students to invest in financial markets (learn by doing)  
bulletPre-requisite curriculum for financial education (K-12)  
bulletEmployers reconfigure retirement plans to be “opt-out” vs. “opt-in”  
bulletEmployers responsible for educating employees on benefit plans   financial focus  
bulletTake advantage of push in banking industry for financial literacy toward “teachable moments” for low-income individuals/families

 

Job Training

bulletTarget job training for non-custodial parents
bulletDevelop incentives for non-custodial parent to engage in child’s life, especially 0-5
bulletTax credits for employers to hire low/moderate income + CAREER LADDER  
bulletConsider expanding targeted job credit to include non-custodial parent  
bulletReduce the number of “eligibility labels” that constrict the participation in existing services (e.g. Head Start, etc…)
bullet …mainstreaming those receiving services
bullet …seamless delivery
bulletIndividual plan for each child -- family centered (education, access to adults)
bulletInvestments in experiments in a few communities where investments in children have been made
bulletFacilitate universal understanding of what quality early childhood education means – emphasis on parent involvement
bulletDisseminate data/information on importance of quality early childhood education in terms of money, innovation, crime, entrepreneurship
bulletDisseminate information on how to get money to pay for quality early childhood education
bulletDemonstrate benefits/incentives for linking employees with quality childcare/education

Mobility/Access

bulletMake housing vouchers truly portable and convertible to equity
bulletMake “national”
bulletChange incentives for local housing authorities

The group was able to brainstorm the strategies above in the time they had. The other “ideals” they had developed previously for which they did not have time to brainstorm strategies are listed below. These represent areas for future consideration.

More work to do…

bulletSaving and investment are valued more than consumption, once basic needs are met. (e.g. “America Saves”)
bulletIdeas and talent can find capital for legal entrepreneurial pursuits
bulletHealth care and wellness is available/ accessible/ convenient during broad times
bulletSocial networks are in place that link people from all income levels with each other

 

Group additions to flip chart

bulletCommunity colleges are natural allies  - the “peoples' college” only access major for poor
bulletAccess OR Access + EQUITY?

 

Strategies Summary

  As each of the small groups reported the strategies they identified to the large group, the facilitator captured them in one list. The strategies were:

1)      Create coherent child support mechanism/strategy as part of comprehensive/integrated approach to problem solving; articulate goal of creating nurturing environment to support children.

2)      Engage people affected as co-creator of strategies.

3)      Change messages, language, to engage and energize discussion. (i.e. with people eligible for certain benefits – focus on finance)

4)      Let society know ultimate impacts of fiscal/budgetary considerations (decision makers, legislations, and others).

5)      Reform unemployment insurance system to address inequities.

6)      Make sure health insurance is reciprocal responsibility between employees & employers as people move to “better” jobs.

bulletBenefits support services not just wages

7)      Revise earned income credit to decrease disparity between singles and families.

8)      Make informed choice available to EITC/EIC recipients re: advance payment vs. lump sum.

9)      Create entrepreneurial opportunities (Asian markets, day care, IDA, CDFI).

10)  As “intervening structures” need to look at how we create nurturing communities and foster reciprocal responsibility.

11)  Look at asset poverty as critical element in system; educate re: importance.

12)  Advance affirmative asset building strategies and protect savings/assets to reduce/eliminate penalties (i.e. for grants).

13)  Take tax incentives re: asset building for “non-poor” and apply to middle class and poor (i.e. bank / financial institution matches first $500 and gets credit).

14)  Leverage additional money from corporate sector by looking at it from economic benefit view.

15)  Frame message to audience (tell corporations the benefits it will receive).

16)  Connect people to appreciating long-term assets (structured savings –groups- programs).

17)  Make sure that financial institutions get and stay engaged in low-income communities.

18)  Continue the conversation of how we look, openly and honestly at poverty in order to change minds and hearts; global change (media, public info).

bulletPublic policy; shaping the message

19)  Look realistically at priority-setting; don’t get lost in “can’t do everything, so can’t do anything;” acknowledge what is possible.

20)  Address disconnect between stated values and society actions; necessary for priority setting and goal setting.

21)  Refocus CDFI – fund to bring financial institutions into communities.

22)  Support market growth in electronic delivery strategies.

23)  One-stop for financial and social cervices (bank, child care, post office).

bulletLink financial counseling to other services

24)  Continue and expand New Markets tax credit beyond 2007.

25)  Continue and expand CRA enforcement for all sizes/types of financial institutions.

26)  Work with employers to reduce dependence on payday lenders.

bulletExpand to small business lending

27)  Support opportunity fairs.

28)  Adult financial education through community colleges

bulletLook at opportunities for distance learning in this area and others

29)  Support individual/family – centered plan for each child regarding education and adult interaction.

bulletInvest in pilots

30)  Develop universal understanding of what quality early childhood education means and what value of quality early childhood care is; communicate value to corporate community.

31)  Provide grants to high school students to invest as mechanism for learning/financial literacy.

32)  Enlist employers in making savings plans opt-out instead of-in (e.g. 401(k)); help with financial education.

33)  Make housing vouchers truly portable and convertible to equity ownership (give local housing authorities incentives to do so).

bulletNote recent changes

34)  Target job-training for non-custodial parents in opportunities with career potential; engage existing network (courts, etc) to facilitate this; look at tax credits as a way to encourage employers to hire this population.

35)   Co-locate financial services/education in institutions where low-income people already are being served (schools, CAP’s, grocery stores, etc.)

bulletAlternate delivery service

36)  Make capital more available to low-income population with talent/ideas.

bulletCDFI new markets

37)  Engage social networks more effectively.

38)  Think carefully about measurement and monitoring—what data is collected reflects cause and drives progress.

39)  Look at other avenues for asset building and anti-poverty work (faith-based, volunteer work, other community resources)

40)  Work with Chambers of Commerce to educate first, and then use their resources—and the resources of their members, to make change.

 
SESSION CLOSE OUT AND NEXT STEPS: CLARENCE CARTER

      Clarence thanked the group for their engagement during the session and provided information about next steps. Next steps included:

bulletThe project team will be compiling the proceedings of the session and distributing it to participants for clarifications and enhancements.
bulletParticipants will be given a set amount of time to submit enhancements
 
bulletOnce all of the working sessions are completed and all meeting records were revised based on the participants’ review, the development of a “blueprint for change” will begin.
bulletThere may be some follow up needed with some of the participants as the blueprint development progresses.
bulletHope to set up a web-enabled space for participants to remain connected to the initiative and to each other.
bulletBlueprint draft to be completed in January
bullet“Mega-Session” in which participants from all working sessions will be convened in the same space to see and discuss the draft blueprint.

      Clarence thanked the project staff for making the working session a reality and Barbara Hulburt for her expert facilitation. He spoke of his desire for this initiative and this group of participants to “write an important chapter of history” and his belief that we had gotten a great start with the thoughtful contributions and engagement of the group. He thanked everyone once again and wished them safe travels.  

  --------------------------

APPENDIX A   Core Elements: Mission, Imperatives, Vision, and Principles

CORE ELEMENTS

Mission, Imperatives, Vision, and Principles

August 2004  

Mission

This initiative seeks to change the way this country thinks about and addresses poverty.

 

Imperatives (Why)

Among other reasons, we engage in this work because:

bulletDespite significant investment in addressing poverty, persistent poverty exists.
bulletWe have a moral imperative to take care of one another, as our “brother’s keeper” and as provided in the founding documents of our nation. No one should have to live an impoverished life.
bulletWe have an economic imperative to ensure that the capacity of individuals, communities, and the nation for innovation is encouraged and sustainable.
bullet Poverty is costly to taxpayers, wherever they live, via the costs associated with social services, remedial education, law enforcement, welfare programs, etc.

Vision (Desired Future)

Fewer people will live impoverished lives because:

bulletPoverty is viewed by the mainstream as broader than income.
bulletSociety proactively plans for decreasing the number of people living impoverished lives.
bulletIndividuals proactively plan for a future for themselves that is not impoverished.
bulletThe education sector proactively plans and implements strategies to reduce the number of people living impoverished lives.
bulletThe banking industry proactively plans and implements strategies to reduce the number of people living impoverished lives.
bulletThe health industry. . .
bulletThe justice system. . .
bulletThe philanthropic sector. . .
bulletThe Federal government focuses its programs and policies on the above.

 

Principles

The desired future will be built upon the following principles:

bulletPerson-centered service delivery structure: Effectively and efficiently serving individuals in need means that the service delivery structure must focus on the needs of the individual or family, not on the needs of the helping system.
bulletConsistency with America’s tenet of free enterprise: As in most facets of the American experience, the helping system should leverage the philosophy of free enterprise. Doing so encourages and supports free market solutions to geometrically expand the helping resources available to serve Americans in need.
bulletReciprocal Responsibility: Full and equal responsibility for maximizing potential lies with the individual to society and with society to the individual.
bullet“Poverty” is broader than income: Income is only a part of an individual’s ability to make life work and to be a productive member of society. Human potential depends on different types of capital – social, economic, and spiritual.
bullet“Poverty” as we know it is only a starting point: Traditional definitions and mental models about poverty (e.g. models based exclusively on income determinants, which suggest poverty as a population) are starting points only.
bulletShared vision: New ways of thinking about and addressing poverty are aligned with the assumptions built into the founding documents of the nation.
bulletHopeful: Our new construct is built on a foundation of a profound belief in the natural gifts, skills and abilities of every person to achieve when set free.
bulletFundamental right to individual potential: Every individual has the right to achieve their potential, regardless of circumstance, strengths, or weaknesses.
bulletSystemic interdependence: All parts of the system (read: nation) must fulfill their obligations toward maximizing potential in order for all to be successful. No one policy, program, community, strategy can maximize the nation’s collective human potential alone.
bulletLeveraging resources: The ability of an individual or system to align and strategically use the resources they have toward the outcome of success, as they have defined it.
bulletBudget neutral: Spending more Federal and philanthropic money is not the issue. We should strive first to make wiser application of existing resources.
bulletEverybody has a role: Every sector of society (government, private industry, non-profit, communities) has a role in creating a nation of reciprocal responsibility and opportunity. These roles may or may not be consistent with current roles.
bulletGovernment as convener: The government role is one of convener and catalyst for enabling innovation.
bulletChange is necessary: We cannot create a nation of reciprocal responsibility and opportunity using these principles without fundamental change occurring in every sector of society.  

  -------------------------------

APPENDIX B   Research Themes: Family Economic Security

Family Economic Security -- Themes and Key Questions

Family Economic Security

Key Themes

Compelling Case for Change

The dynamics of our economy and of families have changed dramatically over the past several decades. Traditional assumptions and approaches are no longer relevant.

For working age individuals breaking out of the poverty cycle means finding a job that pays self-sufficient earnings and help in getting there.

The skill demands of today’s good paying jobs make it increasingly more difficult for low-wage earners to break out of the poverty cycle. There is increasing competition for the diminishing number of good jobs.

Stable, long-term employment is no longer the norm. Flexibility, the ability to learn, and portfolio development are the currency of job success and thus family economic security.

Low-wage earners and others in poverty do not have full access to the limited resources they receive, oftentimes due to predatory practices that make them victims of unscrupulous speculators. They are often disadvantaged by virtue of where they live (and thus have to pay more for basic goods such as groceries), the need to focus on living day to day, and the lack of access to service that are taken for granted by middle class individuals, such as banking and financial services.

Individuals with criminal records have a less than 50% change of being hired in a good paying job than do those without such records and the numbers of people with records is increasing dramatically.

Access to benefits in low-income jobs is often limited and without such benefits, the price of working can be greater than the return. There is a fairly direct correlation between wage levels and turnover. Low-wage workers typically have much higher rates of turnover than other groups, causing them to change jobs frequently as other demands require their attention.

Asset accumulation is crucial to long term family stability. Most individuals in poverty or in low-wage jobs do not have the resources to accrue assets that can help maintain them during periods of unemployment or prevent them from drifting back into poverty.

Government support systems are often disconnected from each other, are cumbersome to navigate, and do not reflect individual needs. Combining them to address specific needs is not part of most delivery systems.

 

Current State

Basic Income (including work supports such as childcare, transportation, etc.)

      Sources of income vary by age group. The working age population is expected to obtain their income from wages earned through employment. Other groups such as the elderly are more likely to be dependent on Social Security (however Social Security assumes at least a minimal work history of 10 years). The focus of our deliberations is mainly on the working age population. 

Sources of income for many very low income parents/adults have changed in recent times due to welfare reform.

While wage earning is the major means of income, it is not the only avenue. Self-employment is a growing factor in today’s economy at all levels of income.

Skills needed to advance in careers, and thus in pay, are ratcheting up as technology and global competition put pressure on this country to compete. The increasing skill needs make it harder for low-wage earners to move out of entry level jobs. They typically cycle through a variety of low skilled jobs with no benefits, no career ladders, and high turnover built in to the employer’s economic model.

Work support from government resources typically takes an individual to the entry level. There are few support mechanisms beyond that level that are widely available.

Acquisition and Growth of Assets

      Asset building is a critical part of the equation to help people move themselves out of poverty but it is not a widely adopted concept and has few resources devoted to it.

While we see a large portion of the population experience a financial crisis during some period in their lives, the support mechanisms in the form of family, savings, possessions, and networks clearly differentiate the general population from those in poverty who do not have access to such mechanisms.

The lack of assets contributes to a spiraling effect that makes it difficult for low-income individuals to move out of poverty e.g. lack of home ownership leads to no fallback assets when times are tough or jobs are disappearing and lack of networks makes finding a new job difficult. Working hard is not equivalent to earning more.

Many low-wage earners work multiple jobs doing hard work but the rewards do not match the input.

Assets are both tangible and intangible. Both kinds are important to moving out of poverty. The obvious tangible assets are savings, home ownership (a crucial piece of the equation in stabilizing families), benefits, etc. Intangible assets include education and skill development, networks and support systems. The most prevalent means of finding a job is by referral from someone who is already working for the employer. To get a referral to a good paying job, you need to know people who are so employed. If your network is limited to others who have no access to good paying jobs, as is the case with most low-income individuals, you can’t find a way in.

Human capital development is a critical intangible asset. Education is the single biggest determinative of whether a person will likely move out of poverty. The development of an individual’s skills is particularly important in today’s economy.  Finding the means to acquire new skills that are valued by employers takes resources not available to most low-income individuals.

For a variety of reasons, including the impact of immigration and the escalating definition of a “skilled worker”, low skilled workers are potentially chasing after a smaller number of low skilled jobs. There are fewer low skilled jobs as technological advances and global competition reduce the need for lower skilled workers in this country. This will lead to the continuation of depressed earning power for low skilled, low income workers.

Mainstream Goods and Services

Access to basic banking services are often not available to those in poverty. As such they are often forced to pay excessive fees to have the minimal money transfer services that are typically available for free to those who have accounts. The end result is low-income individuals do not get full advantage of the small earnings or income they receive.

Predatory practices exist in several areas including home ownership, check cashing, payday loans, tax return loans and other forms of overcharging for services that cause low-wage earners to have to pay exorbitant prices for goods and services –even inflated prices for food because no supermarkets exist in their neighborhoods.

Housing is often problematic for low-income individuals. While there are several programs available to support reduced housing costs and some home purchases, many do not or cannot access these services. Low income individuals are often the target of predatory lenders who take advantage of inexperienced home buyers with low credit and little to no down payments. In many cases home values are artificially inflated and low-income buyers are left with properties that are not worth the purchase price and with payments they cannot afford.

In the United States, work is valued as the path out of poverty and hard work is the axiom for getting ahead. But hard work alone does not guarantee success. The reality is that skill attainment, combined with access to jobs, is the real path to success. Many low-income individuals cannot access skill development services and cannot plan pathways for themselves that will lead them out of low-wage jobs.

Public Policy

In this country public policy emphasis has for the last few decades been focused on welfare rolls reduction and not at all focused on poverty reduction.

Government programs are not driven by individual needs and are not well connected among themselves.

There have been some federally driven efforts to create collaboration among programs such as the One-Stop Career Centers under the Workforce Investment Act, but these efforts have had limited impact and do not go far enough to address the full range of needs of low-income individuals. Locally some community action agencies have led efforts to streamline accessing assistance.

In many cases, states, foundations, and local governments have experimented with new leading edge service delivery options. Some of these options involve better access to the existing tax supports such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, and state tax credits.

At the federal level, policies that support strong families have their base in efforts to reduce spending more than they do in building family structures.

Questions to Consider 

How can existing resources at the federal, state, local, and foundation levels be better designed to meet the specific needs of individuals so that the individual is the driver of the resource use rather than a program policy?

What mechanisms are needed to create better system interdependence?

Who are the key drivers of policy that can influence new ways of thinking about resource allocation?

How can information about existing resources flow to those who qualify for assistance in ways that are more effective than those in place today?

How can tax policies be structured to help low-income individuals maximize their potential?

What entities are in the best position to deliver services in a new, individual focused way and to help people in poverty access mainstream financial and social services?

How can low-income individuals be protected from predatory practices?

How can low-income individuals be helped to create networks and gain access to skills and pathways to careers beyond low-wage, low skilled jobs?

What new policies can help individuals maximize their potential?

How can society be coalesced to provide support to individuals trying to find their way out of poverty?

--------------------------------------------------------

Office of Community Services

Creating the 21st Century Model to Address Poverty

Maximizing Technology

September 14-15, 2004  
Aspen Wye River Conference Center  
Queenstown, MD  

MEETING RECORD 

Distributed to participants: December 3, 2004

This document contains the proceedings of the working session and has been compiled from the small and large group discussions, the associated flipchart records, and from the presentations given by project staff. Reaching consensus during the session itself was not attempted. Therefore, this document merely reflects the viewpoints as they were expressed in the session and does not imply agreement among participants and/or project staff.

PRE-MEETING MATERIALS

    Participants received the following materials prior to the working session:

bulletPreliminary Agenda
bulletCore Elements: Mission, Imperatives, Vision, and Principles (Appendix A)
bulletResearch Themes: Redefining Poverty (Appendix B)

ON-SITE PACKET MATERIALS

    Participants were provided a meeting packet containing the following materials:

bulletFinal Agenda
bulletCore Elements: Mission, Imperatives, Vision, and Principles
bulletInitiative Context presentation: Characteristics of Successful Change (Appendix C)
bulletCurrent state presentation: Highlights from the research (Appendix D)
bulletResearch Themes: Redefining Poverty
bulletParticipant List (Appendix E)
bulletProject Staff List (Appendix F)

MEETING AGENDA

Overarching Goal: The goal of all of the working sessions is to allow people from a variety of backgrounds and sectors to bring their expertise to bear toward creating a fundamentally different model for thinking about and addressing poverty.

Session Objectives: This working session has five objectives:

1)      Share a compelling case for change and articulate a vision and set of principles upon which to build strategies to fundamentally change the way we think about and address poverty as a nation.

2)      Review key areas of the current technological state relative to its impact on individual and community impoverishment in areas such as access to technology, use of technology in providing services to individuals, use of technology for integrating information for community-based strategies, the use of technology for connecting individuals to resources, etc. and compare/contrast with the stated vision.

3)      Identify some key elements of a desired future state relative to technology (i.e. what it would look like in the ideal) from the perspectives of the individual, the community, and service delivery (e.g. access to and availability of technology for individuals in connecting to resources, improving education, and strategic use of information technology in communities).

4)      Identify some of the areas in which work must be undertaken (i.e. change levers) in order to close the gap between existing and the ideal states.

5)      Brainstorm preliminary strategies for filling the gaps.  

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

3:00 – 3:45 Welcome and Overview by Clarence H. Carter: The overall case for change and why we are here; the vision of the 21st Century Model to Address Poverty 

Session Context: Conceptual framework for the overall initiative and facilitative strategy for the session.

3:45 – 4:15 Session Content—Starting Points: A guided tour of the current state and key themes/issues related to the impact and use of technology in addressing issues of poverty.

4:15 – 5:00 Review of Principles: Exploration of the principles that will guide the development of a new model for thinking about and addressing poverty.

5:00 – 6:00 Break

6:00 – 7:30 Dinner

7:30 – 9:00 Small Group Work: Each small group engages in visioning to describe what the technological environment would ‘look like’ in the ideal from three perspectives—the individual, the community, and service delivery. The goal of the small group work is to bring focus to a desired future—built upon the principles—from each of the three perspectives.

9:00 – 9:45 Small Groups Report: Groups present their work to the large group. Large group will not discuss presentation content at this time, but will be asked to post questions and comments on wall for discussion the next day.

9:45 – 10:00 Evening Close Out: Facilitator leads interactive session about the work that’s been done so far, and what remains for tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

8:30 – 10:15 Large Group Discussion: Processing Small Group Work from Tuesday

Using the notes taken by the participants the night before, the group will focus on and discuss each of the focus areas presented. The focus will be on the identification of the key elements of the desired future, not on problems with the current state.

10:15 – 10:30 Break

10:30 – 11:45 Identification of Gap Areas and Change Levers: Identification of levers for change (and related considerations and challenges) that would require work in order to get ‘there’ from ‘here.’’

11:45 – 12:45 Lunch

12:45 – 2:15 Identification of Preliminary Change Strategies: Moving from visioning and change levers to ideas for closing the gap.

2:15 – 3:00 Session Close Out and Next Steps: Discussion of how the work that’s been done here will be synthesized to create the pieces of a draft systemic change strategy and about how to begin the work of change.  

PROCEEDING 

September 14, 2004: Afternoon

INTRODUCTIONS (facilitated by Barbara Hulburt)

WELCOME AND OVERVIEW BY CLARENCE CARTER

      Clarence provided the overall case for change and why we are here; the vision of the 21st Century Model to Address Poverty and previewed the underlying principles for the development of the model. The following is an amalgamation of the opening remarks from all four working sessions.

As America continually strives to form that ‘more perfect union’ envisioned by our founding fathers, one of the key factors we have always struggled with as a society is how to care for those in greatest need. For purposes of our work here, we focus on the segment of our society that exists within the condition we define as poverty.

Every generation or so, our society recalibrates its thinking and approaches for addressing poverty and it is clearly time for another recalibration. It is time for us to change the way we think about and address poverty because:

bulletWe know that as the number of people living in poverty increases, it becomes more and more difficult for any society to sustain itself. None of us wants that for our great nation. As long as many of our citizenry remain under-optimized, our society can never reach its full potential.
bulletThe most recent major recalibration was initiated 40 years ago via the 1964 “War on Poverty.” President Lyndon Johnson believed that turning the power of the federal government loose on the issue that we as a society could eliminate poverty.
bulletWhile there is much progress to celebrate, we clearly have fallen woefully short of the lofty objective of ameliorating poverty. As a result of the “War on Poverty,” scores of programs were created, the U.S. Poverty Index was established, unprecedented public spending was dedicated to the objective, and a massive ‘helping’ industry was created. Though there have been impressive gains in many important indicators of societal well-being, we have not shifted in our approaches as quickly as the conditions have.
bulletThe U.S. Poverty Index, developed in the 1960’s and based on an income/food consumption model, is no longer representative of the conditions of poverty (e.g. cost of living, basic income needs, economic trends, technological advancements, family structure and roles, workforce trends, etc.). As the economic, social, technological—societal conditions change the nature of poverty, we must also change the way our society thinks about it and addresses it in order to remain economically, socially, and morally sustainable as a society.
bulletWe are still using the income/consumption model and the basic formula as designed in the 1960’s under vastly different circumstances. Proposed reforms to the Poverty Index over the last three decades to add other cost elements such as housing and health care and to add other income sources such as the cash value of benefits have not been successful, resulting in the continued use of a formula that has outlived its efficacy as a accurate definition of the conditions of poverty.
bulletWe currently spend hundreds of billions of dollars annually on assisting those in greatest need in America without an acceptable return on investment. Unfortunately, since there is no shared vision guiding and leveraging our investments toward a common objective. Our spending is ad hoc, in categorical programs—with their own rules, regulations, and objectives—which often work at cross purposes with other programs and initiatives. Private initiatives often suffer from not having enough resources to be truly effective. In the aggregate, our fragmented and categorical approach results in the old adage; ‘If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.’
bulletThe issue of poverty is best addressed at the community level. The current construct in which the ways to address poverty is prescribed at the Federal level fails to fully engage and empower communities to develop their own vision for the future and the strategies they need to get there. The uniqueness of America’s communities demands a service strategy unique to each community’s objectives, resources, and obstacles.
bulletThe current construct forces the needs of individuals and families to fit into categorical programs that cannot possibly anticipate or address the whole and interdependent nature of what they need to make their lives work for them. Often the goals and objectives of the various ‘helping programs’ work at cross purposes, making a comprehensive set of services and support that would be effective problematic at best. This approach is another example of not leveraging the resources that are currently being expended on the issue and does not give us a return on our investment.
bulletThe existing construct does not maximize the use of technology that would provide for infinitely more efficient and effective delivery of service and/or to reduce the need for the services in the first place. The current categorical construct requires separate technological infrastructures for each of the programs, which means that precious resources are required to fund the separate infrastructures and resources that could go directly to the individual or family needing assistance. It means that helpers in the different program structures have difficulty sharing vital information that would help serve individuals and families more effectively. Furthermore, technology could be leveraged to allow many decisions to be placed directly in the hands of the individual or family, thus obviating the need for intermediaries.
bulletThe current helping system is financed principally by government and philanthropy, despite the widely-used economic construct of market solutions in most other advancement endeavors. Recognizing that every sector has a role in addressing poverty and that market solutions are encouraged in most facets of American problem-solving, we must acknowledge that market-based strategies are significantly underutilized in America’s helping system.

All of the above leave America with less than the most effective helping system. As the economic, social, technological—societal conditions change the nature of poverty, we must also change the way our society thinks about it and addresses it in order to remain economically, socially, and morally sustainable as a society.

We need to create an urgency in society to do the work of this recalibration, such that our society views eliminating poverty as:

bulletan exercise in developing self-sustaining conditions at the individual, family, community, and societal levels,
bulleta win-win exchange between society and individuals, individuals and institutions, and
bulleta way to create the harmonious conditions that allow for continued innovation, economic growth, strong relationships, non-violence, health, etc.

As the Director of the Office of Community Services, I draw on the history and intent of my organization to help communities address issues of poverty—first as the Office of Economic Opportunity, and in its subsequent evolutions as the Community Services Administration, and now as the Office of Community Services—to leverage the power of its mandate toward new constructs for thinking about and addressing poverty.

We have convened this group of the best and brightest thinkers to help begin a social movement toward developing this new construct. Understanding that it will be a long-term, complex endeavor, we recognize that we will not, over the course of the next 24 hours of our initial working session, solve the problem.

Rather, we are simply seeking to start the dialog by putting forward some guiding principles upon which to build a new construct and by creating the “space” in which to begin building it. Welcome, thank you for coming, and let’s get to it.

SESSION CONTEXT AND CONTENT 

(Nancy Polend, Ed Strong, and Bonita Turner)

Project staff presented context and content material to ground the work of the session: 1) Overview of the overall initiative using the characteristics of successful change as a conceptual framework and a description of the project’s activities as an operational framework; and 2) an exploration of the current state and key themes from the environmental scan of community-based solutions. See Appendixes D and E for staff presentations.

The Characteristics of Successful Change presentation suggested that, since the initiative is at its core the creation of systemic change, it is useful to map its evolving strategies and activities to a framework that represents components of successful change. The change model this initiative is using for this purpose is based on the work of John Kotter and John Corlett. The presentation made connections between the change model and the working session activities in which participants would be engaging. The presentation also made distinctions between what could reasonably be accomplished during the working session and what was long-term, evolving work to be done over the next decade and beyond. Acknowledgment of the uncertain, uncharted territory of this work was made explicit.

The second component of the Characteristics… presentation included the operational flow of the project’s short-term activities, showing what had been done to date, where the working session fit in, and what would come next.

The subject-matter-expert presentation, “Leveraging Technology to Reduce Poverty” provided an overview of the changes that have occurred technologically that might be used to reduce poverty, the state of technology in Human Services, and the state of technology in other industries.

The presentation began with a discussion of emerging technologies that have changed and will continue to change the world that we live in dramatically. Small chips are now available which are capable of storing massive amounts of data on miniature devices. E-commerce, web-based applications, and customer relationship management tools have rearranged the landscape that operates most businesses. The pace at which technological changes are impacting organizations is exponentially greater now than 10 years ago. It took the radio 38 years to reach a market of 50 million; it took TV 13 years to get to a market of 50 million; it took the internet just 4 years to reach a market of 50 million. We discussed that 10 years from now when we reflect back to year 2004, our technology will seem immature compared to the advances that will be present given the rapid roll-out of technological solutions.

The discussion explored advances in technology - “where technology is today”, “how technology has evolved”…”what is on the cutting edge of the technology movement”.  We looked at industries outside human services to ascertain how other industries have leveraged technology to reinvent themselves and to improve business outcomes. For example, we discussed the fact that the banking industry has dramatically changed its business model over the past 10 years. ATM machines and Internet banking have eliminated the need for customers to go into brick and mortar establishments to conduct business. Manufacturing operations are now controlled largely by robots. Everything from inventory management to finished goods tracking is performed electronically through computers and PDA devices.

In our discussion, we looked at a few examples of inefficient processes and asked the question: “ What’s wrong with this picture?” For example…

A woman with a sick child calls a welfare office in a county with a large population, seeking assistance for a Medi-Cal application. She is instructed to come to the welfare office with her sick child to pick up an application and receive a pre-application screening. She is not informed that she can apply by mail as authorized by state statute.  She is informed that the wait in line in the county welfare office to receive the application is estimated to be one to three hours. When she asks if she can come at a time when she will not have to be absent from her 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. job that has no sick leave or vacation benefits, she is informed that the welfare office hours are weekdays 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The woman estimates that it will take her at least two visits to the county welfare office to successfully complete the application. It’s not known while this client is in the office that she is in need of information concerning day care facilities that might enable her to continue working with interruption. She calls next week for information about the process of finding reasonable day care.

      We discussed leveraging technology from three different perspectives – Service Delivery perspective, Community perspective and Individual perspective.
 

Services Delivery Infrastructure

We discussed the current model of delivering services to individuals in need. We looked at how the system operates from the perspective of meeting the requirements of funding sources rather than from the perspective of making the needs of individuals central. We discussed legacy systems, data silos, complex interfaces and other characteristics inherent in the current services delivery infrastructure. We talked about how current technology can be used to invert the existing paradigms such that the customer is the focus. We discussed a few examples of initiatives underway in States to use the Internet and other current technologies to address the weaknesses of the current system.

Communities

We discussed tools available to communities for addressing poverty. We discussed the physical infrastructure as well as the capacity of communities to leverage technology in providing better services to persons in need. We discussed a few community models that leverage technology to empower communities and people such as Community Technology Centers, Computer Training Programs/classes, Resource Based –Educational Systems, Local Electronic Bulletin Boards, Informational Community Websites, and “Issue-based” Solutions.

Individuals

We discussed individual access to computers and how inverting the service delivery model such that individuals would have “self-serve” access to information and services to reduce poverty. We discussed applications and interventions needed in using technology to reduce poverty. We concluded with some key questions that the group should consider.

Physical access. What can we do to make technology available and physically accessible to individuals and communities to lessen the incidences of poverty?

Appropriate technology. What can we do to ensure that the available technology is appropriate to address the needs of individuals and communities? What are the right technological applications for poverty reduction?

Affordability. What can we do to make technology access and use affordable for individuals and communities?

Capacity. What can we do to help individuals and communities understand how they can use technology in their lives, and what can we do to ensure they receive the training they need?

Relevant content. What can we do to ensure that content is developed that is locally relevant to individuals and communities, especially in terms of language, disabilities and culture?

Integration. What can we do to ensure that technology is not just a further burden to the lives individuals and communities; how can we help them integrate technology into their daily routines?

Integration – How do we move from the “stove-pipe” and fragmented applications of the 1990’s to integrated systems that leverage the power of technology?

Infrastructure – How do we simplify the human services infrastructure such that duplicative costly structures are not the central mechanism? How do we address duplicative processes?

Self-Service Applications – How do we leverage the Internet and Self Service Applications to deliver services directly to clients? How do we ensure that Applications serve the clients rather than the infrastructure?

Administrative Challenges – How do we address the administrative challenges inherent with technological changes?

FACILITATIVE STRATEGY

      The facilitator set up the evening’s small group visioning activities by restating the idea that “if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” She also announced the rosters of each of the three small groups and addressed various housekeeping and logistical items.

Participants took an evening break to check in to their rooms and convened in the dining room at 6:15 for dinner. They were asked to dine with their small groups so that they could get acquainted before beginning their work later in the evening.

September 14, 2004: Evening

SMALL GROUP WORK: VISIONING THE IDEAL (DETERMINING DESIRED FUTURE STATE)

      After dinner, each of the three small groups convened in their break-out rooms to begin their task of envisioning what the technological environment would ‘look like’ in the ideal from three perspectives—the individual, the community, and service delivery. The goal of the small group work was to bring focus to a desired future—built upon the guiding principles of the 21st Century Model to Address Poverty—for maximizing technology to address poverty.

Group 1

Individual

bulletIncreased access to seamless services
bulletBetter case coordination through common intake process/tool
bulletDirect access to appropriate technology
bulletClients are benefiting from service provider capacity to use technology
bulletIncreased use of goal planning and outcomes setting – individual or family plans are developed
bulletIncreased access to communication tools/technology through service providers
bulletGreater “IT” literacy and access to “IT” economy jobs
bulletContent is relevant to client’s/resident’s lives (e.g., “Bee-hive”)
bulletIncreased comfort level with using the technology
bulletEnhanced basic literacy to move to “IT” literacy

Communities

bulletTechnology is used to reach out and engage community members
bulletCommunities have access to information about resources that are available through websites
bulletMulti organization/ regional information is available
bulletCommunity relationships are cultivated through use of technology
bulletVolunteers and businesses are linked across the community
bulletDifferent technology is used to communicate and share stories
bulletCommunity has access to technology in terms of the built environment (i.e.; housing, natural resources, law enforcement)
bulletTechnology is used to engage youth and prevent crime and increase learning and skills development
bulletTechnology is used to support early childhood learning

Service Delivery

bulletIntegrated data collection/ client eligibility systems
bulletCommon set of data collections standards and definitions
bulletProtocol for the data that is collected so that it can be imported into a clearinghouse
bulletBroader forum that involves policy makers for connecting data across silos /systems
bulletCommunication between policymakers, funders, practitioners, about data needs/ collection requirements is more open/ up front
bulletAgreements exist to create some standards for data collection with a consortium
bulletCommon client intake process/ tool; increase case coordination from any location
bulletPilot projects are brought to scale
bulletAgencies are capable of accessing information/ resources through technology on behalf of the clients
bulletStaff have the capacity to engage with clients and access information across multiple organizations
bulletPolicies support training for agencies
bulletCommon assessment process/tool that is tied to the available resources in the community
bulletAgency culture is geared toward case management, not program management
bulletProcess is more efficient for clients so staff can spend more time on services
bulletTechnology is being used to cross train staff and shift culture
bulletUsing technology as a communication tool both internally and externally
bulletCommunication tools / technology is better integrated within organizations
bulletTechnology/ planning is occurring
bulletUsing interactive voice recognition to improve/enhance service delivery; make process more make process more efficient for clients and allow for human interaction as needed
bulletSeeing a digital response to poverty
bulletAccess to IT is integrated throughout programs across agencies/ organizations (e.g., Adult Basic Education)
bulletTechnology centers/ sites are inviting, engaging, and fun for clients
bulletStaff training is integrated into standard agency operations and resources are invested.

 
Group 2

bulletAH HAH! – Technology is really only an enabler – what we need are policy options –and the political will to make changes
bulletThe technology solutions are there today
bulletIt is turf and process (political turf and connecting processes) that impede progress. The diagram below shows the level of importance of each barrier with technology itself the least of the barriers to overcome.
bullet
bulletVouchers have potential to optimize customer choice on services and providers
bulletWe must validate that new ways such as vouchers (using technology) are more effective – prove it empirically.
bulletWe must have appropriate metrics to show there is a difference!!!
bulletEnterprise view of the customer (looking at the customer as having control of the resources they need and having the option to choose the best provider for them) will be the norm
bulletCRM/PRM (customer relations management and partner relations management) systems will drive service – the technology exists to serve people better – with the individual as the focal point
bulletThere will be totally revised concepts of learning, schooling, and access to education, characterized by:
bulletAccelerated pace
bulletEarly starts
bulletMultiple “graduations”
bulletContinuing competency development
bulletSchools as community development centers – available more hours
bulletParenting skills developed to supports learning
bulletTeachers use technology as integral part of learning
bulletBlended learning is option

Many of these concepts apply across sectors.

bulletCase management – menu driven, custom tailored service mix for each individual o Supported by a diverse community of support
bulletTechnology links all community services – “211” (United Way model of access to social services similar to “911” for emergency services)
bulletReal time access to services and integrated information systems that allow a full view of availability and impact – current data, supported by an updated content management strategy
bulletTraining has impact that is measured. Training is valued as an investment – a legitimate cost of doing business. Research and Development/Continuous Improvement are part of every organizational culture bullet There are multi-channel strategies for access to information and services that are relevant to individual needs/ capabilities   bulleto Examples. WEB, Kiosks, e-mail, paper, phone centers, interactive TV, bricks and mortar        

bulletTechnology to support and enable life-long learning
bulletPeople are constantly upgrading their skills
bulletThere is appropriate training on using technology for individuals and for service providers bulletWe have created case managers who can use the technology available to them
bulletThe technology is easy to navigate
bulletAny door/portal should give an individual access to all levels of information and services (Federal, state, etc)] – it is a hi-tech and hi-touch world. bulletMaximize use of individual information – only ask for personal data once and allow the technology and sharing agreements to move to other systems who need the same data. bulletWe have moved to a place where an informed customer owns his or her personal data – not an agency bulletThe diagram below shows how a free enterprise model can work in social services, education and other arenas, where an individual, through vouchers, controls the resources available to him or her and can then use those resources to buy the services that are right for them, shopping from a wide array of options.


Group 3

      The group began its work quickly by deciding to envision the ‘ideal’ within specific categories that pertained to the individual, the community, and service delivery, as instructed for this activity. They selected the categories of access and capacity, infrastructure, and appropriate content. Key points of their discussions were captured on flipchart paper and are transcribed below.

Access and Capacity

bulletLinkage in every community at places where people ARE (non-typical places like Wal-Mart, churches)
bulletLinkage = plug-in; connection
bulletFree  
bullet Simple (“amazon.com – like
bulletEvery home has a computer (or IT) and access to simple linkage and “power user”
bulletYouth
bulletNon-typical resources are used for training (e.g. kids as teachers, since they often understand technology better than most adults) bulletFor-profit centers are used for access/capacity building (give advertisers opportunity to underwrite; promotes sustainability)
bulletE.g. entrepreneurs
bulletStrong individual voices through technology as a tool for organizing themselves for action bulletThe traditional “helping system” is retooled for working with changing technology bulletAdministration of services is fundamentally changed/reduced (to focus face-to-face work on the actual service provision vs. administrative tasks) bulletA national framework or tool kit is used for building community-based applications bulletThere is significant private investment from the technology sector, particularly to provide research and development (R&D) money bulletThere are e-places for everyone to connect with services; would not be just for “the poor”
bullet“Amazon.com” model for diagnostic application that points to every service available and where to get them
bulletdatabase via portal with all services loaded to support the diagnostics
bulletWould include an “off-line space” to point individuals to forums, support groups, and other resources.
bulletThere is technology awareness and outreach in education bulletTechnology is used as a tool for democracy and literacy

 

Infrastructure

bullet“Cookie” technology is used to “push” information on services / products/ resources that are needed to individuals
bulletAbility for the infrastructure to process data holistically to make associations between individuals and services; to facilitate the process.
bulletData would come back to the individual and human services agency
bulletProviders, resources all in one database behind interface that could sift through the info to return list of services and related information to the individual.
bulletThe data source for the associations would be based on searches, surveys, and interactions with human services agencies (broadly defined).
bulletSafe, secure, private (no fear) bulletPower of technology is used to raise awareness of and to change laws/rules that reinforce poverty
bulletIntegrating must occur (at all costs) for the benefit of the client
bulletMarket incentives exist to bring e-services/access to those underserved by bricks/mortar businesses. bulletMicro-enterprises are created in communities with e-commerce capabilities bulletHigh-speed access for everyone! (TV, Satellite dish = connected) bulletCase worker/helper capacity is broader than “one or two” programs (e.g. training, software) to access same intelligence/ data
bulletAlso have same diagnostic from “amazon.com” tool
bulletNew data would point to trends that could be more proactively (e.g. because more data available -- aggregate to proactively create programs, jobs, services)
bullet“Cookie technology)
bulletAbility to be more responsive
bulletCommunity decision-making
bulleti.e. using data to keep people out of poverty vs. only getting them out

 –Prevention—

Appropriate Content

bulletVisually rich interface
bulletComplex, comprehensive, but simple to use (e.g. Google)
bulletIntegrated, locally relevant (e.g. what do people in OUR community need)
bulletLocally “owned” and access [sic]‚ better off
bulletApplication, approval, delivery, and/or referral via technology

o Access after “working hours”

bulletRobust data system for evaluation and program improvement (social services)

      The group’s major concept for the ideal future was labeled “help.com” or “you.com” to reflect a technologically enabled future where individuals everywhere would be able to access and use a web-based diagnostic, service, and referral tool to get the person-centered services they need.

The group discussed the concept in terms of “Maimie.com”, “help.com” and concluded that “you.com” more accurately described what they wanted to create. The “you.com” concept also included resources for the social services organization in helping individuals with face-to-face service interactions. The group felt that technology could allow social services organizations to focus on service activities, rather than on administrative activities.

SMALL GROUP PRESENTATIONS TO THE LARGE GROUP 

Each small group presented their work to the large group. All of the groups used the flipcharts they produced (as transcribed in the previous section of this document) as talking points and generally presented the highlights of their small group discussions. By design, the content of the presentations was not discussed in the large group during this evening session. Participants were instead instructed to write notes, comments, and questions on pieces of paper and attach them to the “facilitation wall” to inform the full group discussion to occur in the morning.

Group 2

This group presented first and highlighted the ‘Hierarchy of Challenges’ (below).

bulletTechnology Solutions are there, it is the process / turf that impedes progress
bulletCitizen based strategies – give vouchers
bulletEnterprise view of the customer - CRM/PRM systems drive service
bulletTech links all community “211” – real time access to services and information
bulletRevised totally concepts of learning, schooling and access to education
bulletMulti-channel approach
bulletMeasures

Group 3

This group presented next and highlighted their “help.com” concept and a few key points.

bulletYou.com, as below.

 

bulletIntegration
bulletSystem used by all
bulletSafe / secure / private
bulletLinkage in every community
bulletEvery home needs computer /informed used
bulletReciprocal process of keeping people out of poverty

Group 1

Group 1 presented last and focused on the ideal in the categories of the task.

bulletService delivery
bulletIntegrated data collection
bulletCommon client intake process /tool – central client intake application
bulletCommon assessment process
bulletCommon set of data collection standards
bulletIndividuals
bulletIncrease access to seamless services
bulletBetter case coordination
bulletClients benefit from service provider use of technology
bulletContent is relevant to clients lives
bulletCommon definition + standards
bulletCommunity
bulletTechnology is used to outreach and engage
bulletCommunity has access to tell us terms of the built environment


EVENING CLOSE OUT: CLARENCE CARTER

Clarence closed out the evening by thanking everyone for their hard work and sharing that he was both energized and exhausted.

September 15, 2004: Morning

The facilitator welcomed everyone back and provided a review of the themes that emerged from the small group presentations and an opportunity for large group discussion.

THEMES OF ‘THE IDEAL’ ACROSS ALL GROUPS

1) Integration

bulletEnterprise case management
bullet360 degree view
bulletPrograms, education, housing, transportation, health care (Also prevention of poverty)
bulletStandard data structure and common assessment tools

2) Two way data sharing

bulletSelf defined needs – referral
bulletPrevention of poverty (skills training in advance of job loss)
bulletNational consistency; local relevance

3) Life long learning (Also prevention of poverty)

bulletLife skills – constantly changing/ upgrading

4) Access + Content + Capacity = Literacy, Democracy, and Capacity

bulletMulti-channel (one-stop shop)
bulletBricks and mortar (one-stop shop)
bulletAt home
bullet “power user”
bullet  reverse – generational teaching/assistance
bulletin the world
bullet Wal-Mart
bullet  Library, post office
bulletSafe, secure, private

5) System constantly improving (measuring and responding) itself

bulletCorporate citizens -> future, vision
bulletEntrepreneurial goals
bulletE-space
bulletFree enterprise / for-profit centers
bulletCitizen-owned duty


LARGE GROUP DISCUSSION

The large group discussion began with the idea of the ‘smart card’ as a way to put the individual in charge of their service delivery needs.

bulletWe have no overreaching plan in terms of smart card.
bulletWe have to imagine new jobs and technology.
bulletManaging who doesn’t get it is key.
bulletIt is important to look at what has and has not worked. Interested in end goals and objectives.
bulletThe objective is putting individual at the center. We have to look at the means we want to employ in terms of that objective.

The group then discussed the broader issues of the challenges and opportunities in using technology to build the capacity of the individual—with the individual in the center.

bulletThere is a policy disconnect. Policy has not embraced technology as a tool. We need to join technology policy with human services policy
bulletAccess is not enough. Entrepreneurial growth is important.
bulletThis represents a paradigm shift – changes how one looks at identical problem.
bulletRisk is coming into play.
bulletWe have done tremendous tinkering with these ideas around the edges. If we were to restate the question to focus on building the capacity of the individual– what the challenge becomes is how to frame the question.
bulletThere is an issue of entitlement / competition of who gets what services.
bulletThere is also the issue of immigration / undocumented workers and cultural relevance.
bulletLanguage is important. “Citizen is not necessarily a good term. We should think of better language.
bulletTerm of “resident” or “community member” is better than client or citizen.

IDENTIFICATION OF WHAT NEEDS TO CHANGE TO GET TO THE IDEAL: GAPS AND STRATEGIES 

The small groups were convened again to identify gaps between the ideals they developed during yesterday’s work and the current state. Group report outs occurred before and after lunch.

Group 1

bulletEngage individuals through multiple doors/ many modes of technology (i.e., phone, computers, centers, human interaction)
bulletUse technology to have individuals do some level of self assessment
bulletLook at “BenefitsCheckUp.org” as a model for using technology
bulletExpand home computer access and create other nodes of access throughout communities
bulletProvide more basic computer skills training and literacy training
bulletChallenge traditional concept of “agency”
bulletProvide case managers with access to information about available services throughout community
bulletChange monitoring and evaluation assumptions/ priorities to focus on what outcomes matter most
bulletCreate a comprehensive statewide web-based interface (clearinghouse) that allows individuals get to appropriate content (e.g., Benefits Check-Up)
bulletDevelop a clearinghouse for individual and corporate volunteers to offer their assistance (e.g., United Way volunteer systems “Virtual Agency”)
bulletCreate community networks and collaboratives to build these virtual systems
bulletUse GIS and other available technology in community assessment of poverty
bulletLevel the geographic/ place-based opportunities through technology
bulletCreate more innovative transportation nodes/ modes to access childcare (i.e., housing, education, healthcare options)
bulletUse technology to engage community members and organizations in a needs assessment process
bulletConduct community asset mapping to inventory assets and resources; should be an ongoing and technology-based process
bulletBuild community consortia to do more integrated/ comprehensive community assessment and planning (e.g., “coalition building”)
bulletWork with academic institutions within communities to do community assessment, planning, and developing training/ education opportunities through technology
bulletLeverage community technology assets; need to accelerate the speed of technology infrastructure development and access
bulletMarket technology savvy individuals and communities to business and industry (consumers and workers)
bulletPush the technology on behalf of serving individuals and communities
bulletInventory what technology already exists and is being used; identify what services are already available/ integrated
bulletIdentify gaps in current use of technology
bulletDevelop strategies for improving use and creating new solutions
bulletLeverage more resources from public and private sectors to maximize access and use of technology (more funding needs to be dedicated at all levels of government)
bulletNeed better policy guidance in terms of using funding for technology solutions
bulletNeed to develop a technology plan for organizations to guide their work/services
bulletCreate more meaningful accountability outcomes and measures tied to the use of technology
bulletCulture shift needs to be encouraged/ facilitated so that silos are busted/ bridged and resources are leveraged

Group 2

bulletThe type of barrier encountered (Process, Turf, or Politics) should guide what strategies to employ.  
bulletThere needs to be a mechanism to identify which of the 3 categories an issue falls in – name it to navigate it.
bulletBarrier: No one is in charge of addressing poverty.  
bulletStrategy: Frame the issue as “empower the consumer”. Create a place for private sector delivery models and let the consumer select what services they need and who will deliver them.
bulletBarrier: There are no cross cutting supports for “individual model” – those models that look at the individual as the focal point for services rather than from a program perspective.  
bulletStrategy: Use demonstrations to show that the individual centric model works better
     o Define outcomes against a control group.  
bulletConnect with foundations – others with like interests and willingness to do things differently.
bulletOCS needs to take the first step – “put skin in the game” to demonstrate credibility.
bulletBring in all stockholders as partners up front.
bulletFocus “small” – look for places where there can be “wins” quickly.
bulletExamine what’s working now including international models.
bulletUse technology to follow individuals through self-directed but facilitated service.
bulletResearch entities to benchmark against including other models/disciplines (e.g. client centered training; medical models; case management models).
bulletAlign politics, process, and technology for demo’s to work: only accept applications from those with alignment; look at smaller government entities as starting point/ keep initial number of demo projects small as well.
bulletUse technology for communications with individuals – reduce face to face, travel.
bulletMine the best existing grantees for leading edge places as potential demonstration sites.
bulletBuild on PRM (Partner Relationship Management) technology to integrate information from various sources – don’t try to change program databases or create new integrated ones.
bulletMust have State buy-in for “integrated”, connected systems at the local level in order for demonstration project applications to be successful.
bulletNeed a Federal team (cross agencies) to support the demonstrations.
bulletPotential for TANF Reauthorization to be a mechanism to get past barriers.
bullet  Super waiver potential
bulletUse Congressional Commission to spearhead effort – create compelling event. bulletEnsure there is a thorough/ solid evaluation component to the demonstration projects.
bulletBarrier: The knowledge level is low in front line workers. Many are still transactional workers (working on process and forms) rather than outcome workers (focusing on the ultimate best for the customer).  
bulletStrategy: Develop knowledge management strategy including assessments for customer service aptitude.
bulletBarrier: Leadership in social services qualitative oriented – not technology oriented.  
bulletStrategy: Find few leaders who cross both sectors and use them as models; they are the translators.
bulletBuild on ROMA mentality that now pushes outcomes
bulletContinue conversation between technology and program “geeks” (create the space for them to dialogue and interact)
bulletLayout from a technology system standpoint what you want; convene policy/process types to figure out how to put it in place


Group 3

Picking up from the ideal the group had envisioned in previous day’s work session, the group’s task was to identify strategies that would help achieve it. The group’s ideal concept was the “you.com” concept and they began by defining and describing the concept in more detail.

What is “you.com”?

bulletWeb based portal that employs “cookie technology” that pulls data from multiple sources, for the purpose of::
bullet Enhancing/integrating service delivery
bulletCalculating benefits
bulletDetermining service eligibility
bulletProviding benefit itself (if possible)
bulletServing as a diagnostic tool for addressing needs
bulletSelf-service for service needed
bulletCommunity and human service decision-making and policy-making (e.g. trends, needs)
bulletEvaluating for outcomes

The group then began to brainstorm strategies that would make the “you.com” concept a reality.

Access Strategies you.com 

bulletI.D. and create multiple access points
bulletDevelop strategy for getting computers in every home – Government strikes deal with tech companies to do this entrepreneurs
bulletDevelop content that allows people to reach potential
bulletServices
bulletEducation/training
bulletResources
bulletIncorporate Assistive technology into access plan bullet“Traditional helpers” and individuals

Infrastructure Strategies

bulletExplore security technology to protect data such as:
bulletBiometrics
bulletAuthentication
bulletSecurity card

Design Strategies

bulletStrategically develop research and development mechanisms/strategies (i.e. medical research and development/ NIH design and research and develop) (seek work done in other countries, seek people who have done this work in other countries.
bulletDevelop strategies with big tech firms/ providers/ developers with focus on poverty.
bulletEvaluate/ assess existing innovative technology approaches for incorporation into “you.com”.
bulletTeam up/ co-invent between technology, community, and helpers to develop useful design.
bulletDevelop design criteria that makes it easy to use for planning and decision-making (e.g. “GIS out-of-the-box”)
bulletInitiate design criteria using individual/ community as center
bulletDevelop comprehensive vision BEFORE design implementation (see point above)

Connectivity Strategies

bulletI.D. data sources: Fed, state, community
bulletEligibility criteria across all “programs” (traditional human services)
bulletAssessment tools (not necessarily program linked; not necessarily poor)
bulletCommunity resources:
bullet  Child care
bullet  Job training
bullet  Voter registration
bulletDevelop data agreements with community resources named above to get data in a timely fashion bulletMine new data sources for continued enhancement (e.g. peer-to-peer) bulletMine community capacities for learning/ sharing information for models for using technology

Urgency Strategies (to generate interest in exploring this idea)

bulletHighlight publicly data around the need for literacy, technically-savvy workforce
bulletIdentify ‘What’s In it For Me (WIFM’s)’ and align strategies to them (e.g. What would a literate, technically-savvy workforce create for them?)
bulletMake the economic argument for the need to address poverty (again…WIFM) (e.g. the cost of poverty) bulletDevelop strategies for creating urgency in low-income families to embrace technology (WIFM). bulletEngage in conversations with power brokers, business interest in addressing poverty in their language.

Implementation/ Testing Strate 

bulletDesign and pilot a “You.com” model in a community(ies)
bulletBring in technologist, community folk, government, business community, program
bulletCo-design
bulletTap “market economy”
bulletAllowing entrepreneurship space (e.g. invite action, invite entrepreneurs into process does not equal research to death)
bulletFED/ Entrepreneurial Partnership
bulletDevelop mechanism for big technology firms, Federal government, and community to continue working on this concept.
bulletDevelop mechanism/ funding for regular work on implementing this concept.

September 15, 2004: Afternoon

    The small groups reported out on their gaps and strategies by early afternoon and the remainder of the session focused on capturing the collective work of the groups. The facilitator offered the observation that technology strategies are key in connecting the individual with multiple aspects of society (e.g. the helping system, opportunities, citizenship, education) and that the intersection of these components mark the “niche area” for technological solutions, represented in the shaded areas in the graphic below.


TECHNOLOGY STRATEGIES

As the groups shared their strategies with the large group, the facilitator captured them (see below). In all, 29 strategies were generated:

1)      Develop integrated web-based portal that draws from existing and new services; adding value to existing networks/ services. (Emphasis on USER; Demonstration in Community).

2)      Emphasize role of community data, leadership, and analysis of local needs and service opportunities.

3)      Engage leadership – business, government, technology – to create and sustain changes in the existing model (Broader, bolder, coalition of thinkers).

4)      Neutralize “walls” created by local “owners” of data and services (develop data agreements; address intellectual property issues).

5)      Ensure that there are person-to-person networks to allow for exchange of data ideas, successful strategies between/among individuals

6)      Make sure that systems, expectations, and paradigms do not profile people in (or near) poverty; this focus needs to be on individual. [“you.com” (Everybody has a role)]

7)      Look at where research and development mechanisms/ strategies are (or are not); look at other disciplines to ensure good ideas don’t die on the vine.

8)      Look at successful models around the country and the world; build on them (look at other disciplines to see where customer services works).

9)      Engage co-invention strategies to make sure correct interface exist in communities to make technology usable and useful; engage community in design.

10)  Tie access to capacity and training

11)  Make content related to all needs (elderly, disabled, assistive technology)

12)   Develop ways to secure data.

13)   Use technology to build urgency

bulletPeople don’t want to be left behind

14)  Use economic argument to bring along people who would otherwise not be involved; tailor to audience

15)   Be at the table (no sacred cows), not on the menu.

bulletDon’t get left behind as technology innovations move forward.

16)  Create virtual agency that serves as clearinghouse (info; benefit calculations; access to services).

17)  Emphasize community role/ integrity of system design.

18)  Make content compelling; offer training to make access possible.

19)  Create multiple nodes of access/ services; use existing consortia where possible (see #21)

20)   Create asset maps for localities; have community links to allow sharing of resources (person-to-person or person-to-program). Bring data silos together to get detailed snapshots or what’s actually going on the community.

21)   Establish multiple nodes: “No wrong door” – web, phone, live assistance  

bulletIntegrated entry to services

22)   Identify the nature of the barriers that prevent delivery of appropriate services to individuals.

23)  Enable self-determination in the identification of needs and appropriate services.

24)  Create partnerships (public and private) to further the models to: (start small)

bulleta: allow research
bulletb: measure outcomes
bulletc. determine effectiveness
bulletd. expand successful programs

25)  Engage government leaders (congress, political leaders) to look at issue and create sense of urgency

26)  Enhance knowledge level of front-line workers/ point of contact for the individual seeking services

27)  Bring together technical people and programs people to (individual-centric aptitude/ attitude/ IT mentors)

bulleta. generate enthusiasm
bulletb. develop common vision
bulletc. develop common language
bulletd. identify translators

28)  Design system with engagement of people using it -- the individuals being served and the front-line workers using it to provide service; enable change at lowest possible level.

29)  Attend to data issues (internal among agencies and with individual).

SESSION CLOSE OUT AND NEXT STEPS: CLARENCE CARTER

        Clarence thanked the group for their engagement during the session and provided information about next steps. Next steps included:

bulletThe project team will be compiling the proceedings of the session and distributing it to participants for clarifications and enhancements.
bulletParticipants will be given a set amount of time to submit enhancements
bulletOnce all of the working sessions are completed and all meeting records were revised based on the participants’ review, the development of a “blueprint for change” will begin. bulletThere may be some follow up needed with some of the participants as the blueprint development progresses. bulletHope to set up a web-enabled space for participants to remain connected to the initiative and to each other. bulletBlueprint draft to be completed in January bullet“Mega-Session” in which participants from all working sessions will be convened in the same space to see and discuss the draft blueprint.

Clarence spoke of his desire for this initiative and this group of participants to “write an important chapter of history” and his belief that we had gotten a great start with the thoughtful contributions and engagement of the group. He thanked everyone once again and wished them safe travels.

---------------------------------------

APPENDIX A  Core Elements: Mission, Imperatives, Vision, and Principles

CORE ELEMENTS

Mission, Imperatives, Vision, and Principles

August 2004

Mission

This initiative seeks to change the way this country thinks about and addresses poverty.

Imperatives (Why)

Among other reasons, we engage in this work because:

bulletDespite significant investment in addressing poverty, persistent poverty exists.
bulletWe have a moral imperative to take care of one another, as our “brother’s keeper” and as provided in the founding documents of our nation. No one should have to live an impoverished life.
bulletWe have an economic imperative to ensure that the capacity of individuals, communities, and the nation for innovation is encouraged and sustainable.
bulletPoverty is costly to taxpayers, wherever they live, via the costs associated with social services, remedial education, law enforcement, welfare programs, etc.

Vision (Desired Future)

Fewer people will live impoverished lives because:

bulletPoverty is viewed by the mainstream as broader than income.
bulletSociety proactively plans for decreasing the number of people living impoverished lives.
bulletIndividuals proactively plan for a future for themselves that is not impoverished.
bulletThe education sector proactively plans and implements strategies to reduce the number of people living impoverished lives.
bulletThe banking industry proactively plans and implements strategies to reduce the number of people living impoverished lives.
bulletThe health industry. . .
bulletThe justice system. . .
bulletThe philanthropic sector. . .
bulletThe Federal government focuses its programs and policies on the above.

Principles

The desired future will be built upon the following principles:

bulletPerson-centered service delivery structure: Effectively and efficiently serving individuals in need means that the service delivery structure must focus on the needs of the individual or family, not on the needs of the helping system.
bulletConsistency with America’s tenet of free enterprise: As in most facets of the American experience, the helping system should leverage the philosophy of free enterprise. Doing so encourages and supports free market solutions to geometrically expand the helping resources available to serve Americans in need.  
bulletReciprocal Responsibility: Full and equal responsibility for maximizing potential lies with the individual to society and with society to the individual.  
bullet“Poverty” is broader than income: Income is only a part of an individual’s ability to make life work and to be a productive member of society. Human potential depends on different types of capital –social, economic, and spiritual.  
bullet“Poverty” as we know it is only a starting point: Traditional definitions and mental models about poverty (e.g. models based exclusively on income determinants, which suggest poverty as a population) are starting points only.  
bulletShared vision: New ways of thinking about and addressing poverty are aligned with the assumptions built into the founding documents of the nation.  
bulletHopeful: Our new construct is built on a foundation of a profound belief in the natural gifts, skills and abilities of every person to achieve when set free.  
bulletFundamental right to individual potential: Every individual has the right to achieve their potential, regardless of circumstance, strengths, or weaknesses.  
bulletSystemic interdependence: All parts of the system (read: nation) must fulfill their obligations toward maximizing potential in order for all to be successful. No one policy, program, community, strategy can maximize the nation’s collective human potential alone.  
bulletLeveraging resources: The ability of an individual or system to align and strategically use the resources they have toward the outcome of success, as they have defined it.  
bulletBudget neutral: Spending more Federal and philanthropic money is not the issue. We should strive first to make wiser application of existing resources.  
bulletEverybody has a role: Every sector of society (government, private industry, non-profit, communities) has a role in creating a nation of reciprocal responsibility and opportunity. These roles may or may not be consistent with current roles.  
bulletGovernment as convener: The government role is one of convener and catalyst for enabling innovation.  
bulletChange is necessary: We cannot create a nation of reciprocal responsibility and opportunity using these principles without fundamental change occurring in every sector of society.

Chapter 1    Chapter 2    Chapter 3    Chapter 4    Chapter 5

Appendix A (21st Century Model to Address Poverty)
Appendix B (Poverty Programs Summary and Matrix)
Appendix C  (Issue Papers)
Appendix C1 (
Initiative context presentation: Characteristics of Successful Change)
Appendix D  (Income and Work Support Policies and Strategies)
Appendix D1 (Working Session Descriptions)
Appendix D2 (Working Session Descriptions, continued)
Appendix E  (Working Session Descriptions, continued)
Appendix E1  
Appendix E2 (Current state presentation: Highlights from the research)
Appendix F (Participant List)
Appendix G (Project Staff List)


Center for Community Futures. www.cencomfut.com 
This page was last modified 4/17/2013 at 3:25 p.m. Pacific Time.
For questions about this website please contact our Webmaster.