Utilizing the entire community...
SJC Bridges recognizes the importance of bringing all the economic classes to the table. Collective Impact brings organizations and community members from all backgrounds together to pinpoint the mechanisms of poverty present in the community to begin building better solutions.
Statistics from a recent Impact Study conducting by St. Joseph County United Way show that the cost of supporting (managing) poverty in is expensive.
According to the study, in St. Joseph County alone there are 39,910 households living below the ALICE Threshold, including those in poverty.
The total annual cost to support these families is $600,525,770.00!
As we can see, managing poverty takes a toll on federal, state, and local resources, but does nothing to build self-sufficiency. This is why SJC Bridges is dedicated to eliminating poverty rather than just managing poverty. To do so, we need the voices of all people and support especially from those with resources, and this is why we have created Investigative Teams and Poverty Strategy Teams, which function as feedback loops to each other.
Poverty Strategy Teams
SJC Bridges is in collaboration with many other service organizations who together create Investigative Teams.
What are investigative teams?
Investigative Teams impact is two-fold: it helps those in poverty and the "working poor" move toward self-sufficiency, while also working to help those with resources better understand poverty and provides them with opportunities to participate in identifying and implementing solutions.
In communication and working together, feedback loops are created between the groups to better identify barriers that exist in the community that prevent people from transitioning out of poverty. Resourced individuals can then utilize the information gained from the feedback loops to advocate for system change.
This process is a double-win. Those with resources can make changes to benefit everyone in the community, and under resourced persons build valuable skills for economic stability.
The Poverty Strategy Team is intricately connected to the Investigative Teams. While the Investigative Teams work at ground level, the Poverty Strategy Teams function at the organizational level, implementing the knowledge learned from the ground to create sustainable systems at the top.
Who is involved?
Many organizations in the community are already involved in this process. These organizations include:
Beacon Health System, Center For The Homeless, Chamber of Commerce, City of South Bend, City Of Mishawaka, Goodwill Industries, Hope Ministries, St Joseph County Bridges Out of Poverty, St Joseph Health System, The University Of Notre Dame (Lab for Economics Opportunities, Center For Social Concerns, and Office of Public Affairs), and the United Way of St Joseph County
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