Yesterday the city unveiled a blunt, powerful document detailing the extent of poverty in Philadelphia–and its new plan to combat it, called “Shared Prosperity Philadelphia.”
At a staggering 28 percent, Philadelphia’s poverty rate is the highest among the nation’s 10 largest cities. Over 430,000 of our 1,547,600 citizens live below the federal poverty line…Black Philadelphians and Latinos are twice as likely to be poor as whites. Poverty is also high among people with disabilities (40 percent) and households headed by single mothers (42 percent). most distressing of all, 39 percent of Philadelphia’s children are poor.
So what’s the plan? One prong will focus on getting people federal benefits–food stamps, children’s health insurance, income tax credits–that they are already eligible for. Another will focus on implementing job training programs and deploying tax credits to attract businesses with entry-level job openings. Another is to establish community-based outreach efforts to pair parents up with quality Pre-K and after-school programs for their children. It will also attempt to get people more financially literate and better equipped to save money on housing costs. The effort will be led largely by the Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity, which was launched in January, along with a host of private partners.