It was great to see so many community leaders come out for Tuesday’s hearing on rural poverty. As I mentioned during the hearing, the Clearfield County area was once a booming industrial area. It has been said that our biggest export is agriculture, but I have a suspicion that it is really our children. They grow up in rural areas like Clearfield and then leave after high school or college.
The poverty rate in our district is 15 percent. That is compared to the statewide poverty level of 12.5 percent. The goal of “Empowering Opportunities: Gateways Out of Poverty” is to identify challenges to families which prevent them from rising out of poverty. Hearings like the one held Tuesday in Clearfield are great ways to hear from people “on the ground” trying to address poverty across our state. Through discussions with the leaders of local charity organizations, church groups and county officials, I believe we can come out with better, more refined solutions to the problems connected to poverty.
Even though Tuesday’s hearing was in Clearfield County, that does not mean that we’re solely looking at rural poverty. We plan to listen to the concerns of people across the state as this initiative continues. Urban poverty continues to be a major concern, along with one area that surprises some people: suburban poverty.
I look forward to hearing from more groups across Pennsylvania on the problems they’re facing and working together toward solutions that can help our state’s residents rise out of poverty.
-Rep. Tommy Sankey (R-Clearfield)
Rep. Sankey: Clearfield County Deeply Impacted by Poverty
CLEARFIELD – Rep. Tommy Sankey (R-Clearfield) has joined members of the House Majority Policy Committee in a discussion concerning rural poverty. That discussion is a part of a larger committee effort, Empowering Opportunities: Gateways Out of Poverty, which seeks to identify challenges to families across Pennsylvania, which prevent them from rising out of poverty.
In Clearfield County, statistics from the Center for Rural Pennsylvania show that 15 percent of all residents live in poverty, including 25 percent of the county’s children. In addition, 16 percent of the population receives assistance in the form of food stamps.
“This is an area that flourished at one time,” Sankey said. “It is said that our biggest export is agriculture, but I have a suspicion that it is really our children. They are leaving this area and not coming back.”
In addition to the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, committee members heard from local community groups and leaders, including officials from Clearfield County Community Action, the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania and local faith-based organizations
To Read More of the GantDaily.com’s Article… Click Here
REP. DAVE REED: Exploring Why Poverty Continues
August 3, 2013
It has been nearly a half-century since President Lyndon Johnson announced to a nation that he was declaring war on poverty in America. The president’s 1964 call to action brought a much-needed focus to an issue that was affecting one of every five citizens, and it spawned an army of new government-run programs designed to serve as the front line in his new battle.
Unfortunately, after decades of creating and expanding these programs, today we see that many of the problems Johnson sought to eliminate not only still exist, but also remain a mainstay in our communities.
It has been estimated that the federal government spends more than a trillion dollars annually on programs to help the poor. With approximately 46 million Americans living in poverty, this is enough in tax dollars to actually provide every low-income family of four with about $87,000 in cash each year.
At this level of spending and with the number of people still fighting poverty, it is evident that government’s efforts to combat this problem are falling short, and we need to learn why.
Read more of the Op-Ed here, click here… Indiana Gazette
Continuing our efforts to focus on ways Pennsylvania can better combat poverty, my staff and I met with the United Way of Allegheny County on Tuesday, July 30, to discuss the organization’s work in addressing poverty in our communities.
The team from the United Way, which is known nationwide for its community outreach and support initiatives, provided us with perspective on ways to help streamline the state’s existing anti-poverty efforts to promote better service to Pennsylvania families.
Several of the challenges faced by low-income living in poverty could be better alleviated by simplifying the current system. Many times, when folks are in need of assistance, emergency aid or simply access to job training and employment opportunities, they are forced to jump through so many hoops that it makes it difficult to get a step ahead.
The team from the United Way provided some very good suggestions and offered their ongoing support as we work to develop new solutions to create gateways out of poverty. Engaging with groups like the United Way, lawmakers have the opportunity to learn more from the people who serve as the “boots on the ground” in our state’s effort to combat poverty.
They also provided good suggestions relating to performance measures of existing anti-poverty programs. It is imperative that as we work to address the day-to-day challenges faced by those living in poverty that we ensure the programs currently in place are working as they are intended.
I appreciate the time and effort offered by the United Way of Allegheny County, and I look forward to working with them throughout this process.
- Rep. Dave Reed (R-Indiana)
August 1, 2013
By William Kibler, The Altoona Mirror
A state House committee’s new anti-poverty fact-finding tour stopped in Altoona last week to hear local doctor Zane Gates explain his plan for the state to divert Medicaid money to help the working poor.
House Majority Policy Committee Chairman Dave Reed left impressed with Gates’ plan to use money the federal government would allocate for Medicaid expansion to fund clinic-style centers for health in areas where not enough doctors take Medicaid patients – while subsidizing insurance for those patients.
“It’s an exciting potential option,” said Reed, a Republican representative from Indiana County, whose committee recently launched an initiative called Empowering Opportunities: Gateways Out of Poverty. “So the working poor can get insurance in a more cost-effective manner.”
(To Read More from the Altoona Mirror’s Article, Click Here…House Hears Gates’ Plans)