ACF Participates in Dallas Mayor’s Kick Off of Poverty Task Force
Written by: Christina Rosales/The Dallas Morning News
Mayor, nonprofit leaders and elected officials kick off poverty task force at Paul Quinn College
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings kicked off the Poverty Task Force Thursday morning at Paul Quinn College, asking local nonprofit leaders and elected officials to help come up with solutions to curb the growing poverty rate in the city.
Almost 250 representatives were selected by the chair of the group, Larry James, chief executive of CitySquare, the nonprofit that aims to help people out of poverty.
Elected officials including Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins and Mayor Pro Tem Tennell Atkins heard from agency leaders that serve the homeless, at-risk juveniles, the elderly and the hungry. The task force broke up into small groups to present ideas on how to find solutions to problems that contribute to poverty.
“We have the power in this room to change things,” James said to them. “We have something special here so let’s keep it going.”
Ideas ranged from growing literacy programs and school programs, funding more parks and transportation and having a hub for everyone to access financial education or health care resources.
The mayor told the task force at the brainstorming meeting that almost two out of every five children live below the poverty line, up 26 percent from 2000. Growth in the total population of Dallas from 2000 to 2012 was 5 percent. The growth in the poor population of Dallas has grown in that same time period by 41 percent.
“Poverty touches every one of us, and we simply cannot look the other way anymore,” the mayor said. “All of these reasons have led me to this point. Dallas is a great city, and we can see amazing progress happening all over out city. We cannot truly be great until we lift up those who need it the most.”
The task force chairs, cabinet and city officials will take the ideas proposed and recommend best options for the mayor to pursue by mid-June. James expects the plans to be completed in August with a progress report delivered in late October.
Pictured Here - Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, silhouetted against a window, announced a formation of an anti-poverty task force at the United Way Tocqueville luncheon in Dallas in February. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News)