Center for Community Futures
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APPENDIX E2  Current state presentation: Highlights from the research

The Impact of Changes in Measuring Poverty

bulletChanging definitions can help to identify strategies to reduce the number of people living impoverished lives.
bulletPrograms are focused on specific needs emanating from legislative direction and assumptions about aggregate needs, but do not relate to the totality of an individual’s needs.
bulletProgram eligibility is typically based primarily on income – neglecting causal factors.
bulletChanging definitions can impact society’s views and actions toward those in poverty.
bulletCurrent definitions have two main uses – measuring the number of people in poverty and determining program eligibility
bulletVirtually all major efforts to change the definition have failed
bulletShifting the paradigm can give society new views on what constitutes poverty and what causes it
bulletExpanding our understanding of social and economic mobility provides additional insights

The Impact of New Definitions

bulletNew definitions can help shape a shared vision of addressing poverty in new ways.
bulletExploring new definitions invigorates the debate on how to prevent or reduce poverty
bulletLooking at poverty in new ways gives society opportunities to impact it
bulletNew definitions can help foster greater system interdependence
bulletLooking at poverty from the individual, family and community perspectives calls for responses that are person-focused rather than program driven
bulletBuilding on an individual’s strengths calls for systems to work together
bulletNew definitions enable innovation at all levels
bulletThe current Federal definition excludes: other costs of living, sources of income, human, social, and spiritual capital – limiting expectations and interventions
bulletExplore alternatives to the consumption & income model; e.g., cultural universals, quality of life standards, survey based definitions, definitions in use elsewhere
bulletNew definitions can create more opportunity for people to maximize their potential achieve success.
bulletSocial assets, financial assets and human capital help people avoid poverty or escape it quickly
bulletProviding education, other services and infrastructure may alleviate poverty more effectively than increasing income.


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)


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