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Poverty and Homelessness Ongoing Challenges/Strategies

Previously, I mentioned how I was introduced to the book "Bridges Out of Poverty" co-authored by Ruby Payne Ph.D., Phillip E. DeVol and Terie Dreussi Smith. This approach to addressing the issue of generational poverty is comprehensive.  It consists not only of a personal commitment to making relational changes but also the willingness of an organization and then a community to adjust its perception of and interaction with those living in poverty. Through strategies designed and researched by Dr. Payne, her staff and those front line workers utilizing her materials, the poor have not only a voice but active participation in the creation of a better future for them and their children. This month I will share more of how my personal involvement with this innovation evolved.  In future blogs I hope to share how it is being utilized not only in my community but in others around the country.

 After purchasing the book and reading it, I began sharing insights from it with co-workers at Haven of Rest Ministries in Ohio.  They became interested and asked me to share some of the information at departmental meetings. The more I shared, the more I wanted to learn about this work. I was especially drawn to the "Hidden Rules of Economic Class" concept and how not knowing these rules could hinder effectiveness in ministering to those from generational poverty and in building relationships with them. The identification of these rules are not meant as judgmental. They result from living in a particular economic structure.  For those from generational poverty, that structure is one of survivial.

When I heard of a 3-day workshop being held in a nearby city I asked my supervisor for permission to attend.  The first day was an introduction to the "Bridges" concept led by Phil DeVol.  The next two days Mr. DeVol trained participants to become "Getting Ahead" facilitators.  The "Getting Ahead" workbook and facilitator's guide book were written by Mr. DeVol and focus on providing tools for those from poverty to examine both their life in poverty and the systems that perpeptuate poverty.  The participants design not only their own personal plan for moving out of poverty but also a plan for addressing the issue of poverty within their communities.  The participants (called co-investigators) work in groups and use their skills and abilities in activities that build upon each other, while the facilitator moves the process along.  You can review the materials mentioned and examine others they have to offer by clicking on this link aha!process.com .