A New Approach for Rural Poverty and Access
Oregon is among the highest in regards to homeless, notably youth poverty, and the long-term effects of ‘economic segregation.’ Left unchecked, poverty will continue to be a drag on our region’s overall social and economic wellbeing. We need representatives who will address these issues and move our region and state forward.
For individuals to fulfill their full potential, essential needs have to be met. By building momentum, and with the political will, we can end extreme poverty, lift up those near it, and end homelessness in Oregon. We have to take seriously questions of economic access, basic needs, and the consequent social, interpersonal, and political effects, as well as their disproportionate on effects on historically underrepresented groups. It should be a norm in our state, our country, to have basic needs met, to live without having to choose between dinner or medical bills, or between one’s dental visit and sending your child to summer camp.
Our vision for ending poverty begins with:
- End to homelessness in Oregon.
- Acknowledge the compounding effects of economic insecurity, poverty and homelessness that perpetuate cycles of disadvantage, be that on our students, struggling families, foster youth, LGBT youth, BIPOC communities, and those experiencing generational white poverty. Individuals cannot be at their best without their basic needs being met first.
- Focus on long-term, sustainable, affordable housing.
- Increase and extend housing vouchers, and build on programs like Project Turnkey in the short-term.
- Wages with dignity – having a job does not always guarantee one is ‘out’ of poverty. We advocate for a $17 minimum wage for all Oregonians.
- Increase investment and pay for homecare and substance abuse counselors, as well as mental healthcare and telehealth for families who want it, schools and veterans services.
- Establish unrestrictive (when possible) shelters, especially in the harsh winter seasons.
- Increase Oregon Trail benefits, clothing and other vouchers, and advocate for expanding the scope of SNAP benefits to all forms of food and beverage purchase.
- Support educational institutions in delivering resources and connections for public school and university liaisons that assist students with economic need.
- Migrant labor must be fully protected as workers and given recourse to demand the conditions of their labor.
With community demand and the political will, a bright future is not only possible, but in reach.
In short, we need a Rural New Deal!