February 17, 2019

Poverty Listening Tour Visits Texas

Poverty Listening Tour

A congressional project known as the Pathways Out of Poverty Listening Tour visited Dallas, Texas, on June 1, 2018, to go to three sites that are developing innovative solutions to help reduce poverty and expand opportunities. The sites included Bonton Farms, Jubilee Community Center, and Promise House, and the listening tour includes Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (Md.) and Democratic Whip Task Force on Poverty, Income Inequality, and Opportunity Chair, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (Calif-13th), along with Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30th) and Congressman Marc Veasey (TX-33rd).

“Democrats are committed to lifting Americans out of poverty and expanding opportunity for everyone,” said Whip Hoyer in a press release. The visit to Dallas was a way to learn about how Congress can help communities break out of the cycle of poverty. “Democrats will take what we’ve learned from those on the front lines of fighting poverty here in Dallas and return to Washington to inform our colleagues of what is happening on the ground and how Congress can do more to assist those living in or on the edge of poverty.” Whip Hoyer thanked Reps. Johnson and Veasey for hosting the listening tour, as well as Rep. Lee for her leadership as chair of the Task Force.

Congressman Lee said the tour took the group to places that are innovators with a focus on addressing the contributors to poverty, like homelessness and food insecurity. “At the end of the day, parents shouldn’t be working two or three jobs and still sending their kids to bed hungry. Together with my colleagues, I know that we will use these discussions to inform our policymaking in Congress,” said Congresswoman Lee.

Congresswoman Johnson acknowledged that poverty cannot be solved overnight, but it can be reduced significantly through programs like the ones in Dallas. “The work of the Task Force on Poverty, Income Inequality, and Opportunity represents a political will to enact policies to fight poverty in our communities. … I believe we can make a difference and break the cycle of poverty.”

Congressman Veasey said Texas, especially the Dallas/Fort Worth area, is suffering from a clear crisis in access to economic resources and it needs to be addressed. During the listening tour, the task force members heard from the people most affected by the crisis, then met with local organizations that work to provide relief through nutrition and education program. “Communities within the DFW Metroplex deserve our continued support and resources to attain a basic level of care – a level of care we all deserve,” said Congressman Veasey. “That is why it is imperative we have a holistic approach to ease economic barriers within our communities, and a common goal to end poverty nationwide. Our efforts for outreach and assistance will continue to lift up North Texans, as part of a national movement to support a healthier economy for the country.”

As the tour unfolded, the members of Congress heard from community leaders and Americans families on the front lines of the national epidemic of poverty. At Bonton Farm, the group toured one of the largest urban farms in the country, which is located in a food desert where grocery stores are not easy to get to. In addition to offering better access to nutritious foods for low-income families, the farm also creates jobs and employs local residents. At Jubilee Community Center, task force members saw how comprehensive, wraparound services – like child care, after-school and summer programs for children and teens, education and job support for parents, and housing for seniors – all benefit families and give them access to the tools that can help break the cycle of poverty. Finally, at Promise House, a shelter for youth who have become homeless, the task force saw how early intervention services, education, and training reduce the risk that these young people will become homeless adults.

The Pathways Out of Poverty Listening Tour will continue later in June in Milwaukee, Wisc.

Since it was launched in 2013, the Democratic Whip Task Force on Poverty, Income Inequality, and Opportunity has worked to raise awareness of members of Congress and the American people about the ongoing poverty crisis, the positive human and economic impacts of programs that alleviate poverty, and the need for a comprehensive national effort to eradicate the problem.

Follow Congressman Hoyer on Facebook and Twitter.

For more information about House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer, visit his Leader Page.

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