Solano County’s Board of Supervisors and the First 5 Solano Children and Families Commission each endorsed the United Way of the Bay Area “Roadmap to Cut Poverty” on October 2.
“We are proud to lead the call to other boards and commissions to join with United Way’s extensive network of community partners working to cut poverty in half by 2020,” said Board Chair Supervisor Linda Seifert, who is also Vice-Chair of the First 5 Commission.
Representatives of the Children’s Network of Solano County, First 5 Solano, Kaiser Permanente, United Way of the Bay Area, Solano Coalition for Better Health and Solano County Library reported that more than100 community partners have attended five “Safety Net Summit on Poverty” meetings over the past 18 months. Their achievements include an extensive survey of community resources to address poverty, an “Opportunity Conference” last spring at Solano Community College that brought 100 local residents living in poverty together with community volunteers, and a community “Compassion to Action” book discussion project.
Kim Thomas, executive director of the Children’s Network, reported that child poverty in particular has sharply increased in Solano County over the past four years. She noted “we need to work together to help more families access vital supports like the Earned Income Tax Credit, quality child care and Cal-Fresh (Food Stamp) nutrition benefits as well as education and job training to move out of poverty.”
The Roadmap to Cut Poverty targets early childhood education and high school graduation for children and youth as well as asset preservation supports for seniors among their anti-poverty strategies.
Supervisor Jim Spering voiced strong support for the Roadmap goal to link education to the labor market, noting that “we need to make sure we are training our workforce for the jobs that need to be filled.”
As the first board of supervisors and First 5 Commission to formally endorse the UWBA Partner Pledge for the Bay Area Roadmap to Cut Poverty, "Solano is definitely leading their respective bodies, taking a bold and visionary stand with us to focus on root causes of poverty and long-term action to grow economic and community prosperity,” said Laura Escobar, United Way of the Bay Area’s Safety Net Programs director.
The Partner Pledge requires active participation in policy development as well as direct services that provide opportunities for Solano residents on their path toward self-sufficiency.
The board of supervisors and First 5 Commission also adopted resolutions to observe Wednesday, October 17 as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, calling on all Solano County residents to help to reduce poverty.