ABOVE PHOTO: State Sen. Art Haywood (Photo: Shutterstock)
Harrisburg – State Sen. Art Haywood joined the Wolf Administration, fellow elected officials, state agencies, and advocates for a press conference announcing the completion of the Poverty Report.
Since completing the five-stop Poverty Listening Tour this spring, Sen. Haywood’s office and the Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Caucus have worked together to compile a comprehensive report to provide recommendations to Gov. Tom Wolf, elected officials, and state agencies to reduce poverty throughout the Commonwealth. The report will be given to elected officials, state agencies, and local organizations. An interactive online edition will be available for the public at www.senatorhaywood.com/poverty/.
“The goal of this tour was to listen to individuals who do not have the money or resources to meet basic needs,” Haywood said. “Through their experiences, we are able to provide recommendations to agencies and the legislature the reduce the oppressions of low pay, unaffordable housing, and inaccessible transportation that keep people in poverty. I thank everyone for their courage to share their stories and am hopeful we can raise awareness and stop blocking those who are trying to get out of poverty.”
“Senator Haywood’s commitment to exploring all facets of poverty as it affects Pennsylvanians is a testament to his career work improving the lives of Pennsylvanians of all means,” Gov. Wolf said. “This report is more than a roadmap for addressing poverty, it’s a compelling catalogue of the hardships and adversity people face every day. By realizing what must be done, we can make the changes necessary to alleviate these hardships.”
“Senator Haywood and his partners have done an important service by identifying many of the barriers that stand in the way of people trying to overcome poverty in Pennsylvania, as well as potential solutions,” Congressman Dwight Evans said. “We must all keep working together at the federal, state and local level to help our fellow Americans overcome poverty and have an equal opportunity to have a good quality of life.”
“In order to address poverty, we must devise effective solutions that reach at core issues,” Sen. James Brewster said. “Senator Haywood’s Poverty Listening Tour offered the opportunity to hear directly from those dealing with poverty and learn how policy options impact lives. The Poverty Listening Tour also gave policymakers a chance to identify creative approaches while gaining a better understanding how effective program design and implementation can address key issues and help more people.”
“I applaud Senator Haywood and his staff for putting together a thorough report on poverty in our communities across the Commonwealth,” Sen. John Blake said. “This detailed report, and the information we learned on our tour in Scranton from residents and service providers, will help us legislate better solutions that can help families emerge from poverty.”
“As elected officials, we are tasked with representing a breadth of constituencies – but we must dedicate special attention to those living at or near poverty,” said Sen. Jay Costa. “They face broad and unique challenges that manifest differently in different regions; that’s why the tour and work that Senator Haywood has done is so important. This report will be critical in informing our work in economic justice.”
“When low-income people are able to share their stories of hardship and resilience, they provide unparalleled insight into how poverty works and how it can be conquered,” said Maripat Pileggi, supervising attorney for Community Legal Services of Philadelphia. “The Poverty Listening Tour lifted up the voices of people living in poverty, marking a crucial first step in developing effective policies to improve the lives of low-income people and strengthen Pennsylvania communities.”
“What we saw and heard during the poverty listening tour makes it clear we can’t delay addressing poverty issues across the Commonwealth,” Sen. Vincent Hughes said. “My colleagues and I have proposed legislation that would address these issues head-on and help Pennsylvania lift up its poor people. That should be our number one goal right now.”
“Poverty impacts every community across this Commonwealth. I appreciate Senator Haywood for taking the initiative to tour different areas across our state to hear from people about their experiences and stories,” said Sen. Katie Muth. “This report should jolt all lawmakers to take urgent legislative action to end poverty. As public servants, we must work together to abolish poverty in Pennsylvania.”
“Poverty has a profound impact on a person’s entire life. People in poverty face disparities in achieving improved physical and mental health outcomes and addressing other social, environmental and educational barriers often making it much more difficult for them to overcome their circumstances and create a better life for themselves and their family,” said Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller. “The Wolf Administration is committed to creating meaningful systems that can help people move out of poverty for good, and this report will help inform our work to help Pennsylvanians achieve a better life.”
“Pennsylvania legislators need to stop passing bills that hurt people who are facing real financial hardship and instead create policies that will actually help them. And to do that well, people in poverty need to be at the table,” said Ann Sanders, Public Policy Advocate for Just Harvest. “Low-income people, the unemployed, struggling seniors, and people with disabilities are the experts about what barriers they face, we must include their insights and experience in any effort to address poverty. This listening tour did that, and its report should be front and center for anyone who cares about this issue.”
The Poverty Listening Tour consisted of elected officials hearing the effects of poverty across Pennsylvania—the first tour of its kind conducted by the State Senate in recent history.
Five regions of Pennsylvania were featured as stops on the tour: Northeast, Central, Southeast, Northwest, and Western Pennsylvania residents living in cities, small towns, and rural areas shared their real-life experiences of living in poverty and their struggles to break the cycle.