Enrolling families to end poverty
By: Paul Haeder
For 450 households in Jefferson County, the chance to be part of a networking and peer support pilot could change the face of how social services staffing and funding are delivered in Oregon. The project is jointly supported by the Oregon Department of Human Services, and the goal is to engage with people who go in and out of poverty and give them networking tools to end that cycle.
FII is a successful model in other cities — Oakland, Austin, Cincinnati, Boston, Albuquerque and a half dozen other cities. What has occurred in those cities is nothing short of miraculous.
Jorge Blandon, executive vice president of Family Independence Initiative, was out here in Newport at the end of May and talked with a dozen households about the project — basically getting a household to form a cohort web of five or six other households to learn and share the value of social networking.
The 12-month participation process is pretty simple: register the family through a website, Up Together, and then each month, the household records progress and goals and challenges.
“For me, this sounds like a win-win,” said Jewel, a secretary for an antipoverty program in Lincoln County. “It makes sense that people are their best supports, their best avenues for networking.”
My job is to get in front of households and present the steps of joining this Lincoln County pilot, which is ultimately about learning directly from the community. Members receive $100 for signing up, and then $700 is paid out quarterly.