Sunday, May 3, 2015

A Long Term Answer to Poverty

The Family Independence Initiative grew out of deep frustration with the government programs designed to help poor people. Located in San Francisco, Maurice Lim Miller, the head of an anti-poverty program, was upset when he discovered that the millions of dollars he spent to help the poor actually hurt them. As a result he resigned and started a new approach that put the families in charge.

It is radically successful.
Black Lives Matter via Creative Commons
Look to Residents For Solutions in Baltimore
The frustration and destruction we've seen in Baltimore is not just about the injustice felt about law enforcement. These are long-standing frustrations about inequality in the country. It is likely that the city of Baltimore and philanthropy will respond with new programs and services to quell the frustration. But quelling frustration or making life in poverty more tolerable will not overcome the roots of our growing inequality and outbursts we have seen in so many cities. We have tried programs, new parks, and outside volunteers. What we haven’t truly tried is turning to the residents themselves and supporting their solutions.

There are solutions, ideas, and talents embedded in the residents in these communities and we can find those willing to tackle and build their own communities from the inside out. For 14 years, FII has collected the data and stories from these embedded resident social innovators. We know that if instead of trying to placate them with services, we give them control over the resources we spend trying to help them, that the residents themselves can and will build their own solutions, build their own neighborhoods, and close the inequality gap that is really at the root of the frustration we are seeing in Baltimore.

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