Public policy attempts to break the stranglehold of multigenerational poverty have largely failed. Partisan efforts to build personal, family, and community resources and a strong middle class haven’t worked either. One successful approach, based on the Bridges Out of Poverty methodology, focuses on bringing people from all classes, races, and sectors together to reduce poverty and build a sense of community. It’s a promise echoed in the findings of Alexis de Tocqueville, famed observer of American society.
Communities using the Bridges model report that political and social agendas and narratives melt away when people focus on overcoming barriers to economic stability.
Successful change requires all voices and voters at the table to be heard and valued. The Bridges Out of Poverty model is an antidote to current divisiveness, facilitates dialogue and respect among stakeholders, and offers policy-level direction for elected officials. The authors’ goal is to provide a road map for coming together as individuals, institutions, and communities to help people get out of poverty and create communities, states, and indeed a country where everyone can live well.
The Bridges model offers:
- A table at which all voices are heard and valued
- A common language to address the complex issues of poverty
- Proven skills, strategies, and innovations for communities across the US
- Practical advice for individuals who are new to the world of policy making
- Action steps for community members, public officials, and decision makers
- Methods to create human services policies to reduce generational poverty