Philadelphia Delegation Commits to Fighting Philadelphia's Poverty Problem

Philadelphia Delegation Commits to Fighting Philadelphia's Poverty Problem

Philadelphia is known for lots of things. The birthplace of our nation. The City of Brotherly Love. Music and culture and cheesesteaks. Super Bowl Champions, the Philadelphia Eagles. And, of course, Gritty.

But Philadelphia is also known for something that doesn’t seem to be getting better. It passes from one generation to the next. It holds entire communities back from reaching their potential. It’s a statistic many of us know, but may think it too complicated, too messy to tackle, once and for all.

That thing is poverty—particularly intergenerational poverty Poverty has challenged the City’s policymakers, politicians, companies and residents for decades. And,  despite numerous attempts to break the cycle of poverty that grips too many of our fellow Philadelphians, the City’s poverty rate in 2017 remained at the exact same level as it was in 2006—roughly 27%, with 14% of those in deep poverty. Among millennials living in Philadelphia, approximately 30% live in poverty.

The issues that cause poverty are complex. They do not exist in a vacuum. Poverty itself is a trauma, and those trapped in its cycle are more likely to suffer low wages, education inequalities, housing insecurities, hunger, incarceration and even up to 20-year decrease in life expectancy.  

First, we, as Philadelphia community members must come together to agree that this scourge, this statistic, should no longer be a part of Philadelphia’s identity.The next step?  A comprehensive plan that engages all levels of government--City, State and Federal--and treats poverty reduction like the urgent policy crisis that it is. Fortunately, Philadelphia has such a plan, and it’s why  Philly Set Go is proud to support the Philadelphia House Delegation’s Philadelphia Platform. Plus, Philly Set Go is particularly proud that two of our endorsed candidates, Morgan Cephas and Jared Solomon, are co-authors of the Philadelphia Platform.

The Philadelphia Platform is built on four planks, each designed to combat a unique challenge posed by poverty.  The four planks are: (1) Workforce Development & Education; (2) Developing Commercial Corridors; (3) Criminal Justice and Public Safety Reform; and (4) Improving Philadelphia’s Exports and Imports.  To read more about these planks, click here.

Why is the Philadelphia Platform unique?  It recognizes n that Philadelphia’s economic competitiveness and job growth are key factors in fighting poverty. .  The Platform focuses heavily on developing the City’s streets and neighborhoods, increasing access to capital for small and medium size companies to grow and add more jobs, and developing the Port of Philadelphia and the Airport to make the export of goods manufactured here in Philadelphia more efficient.  

The Plan also recognizes that Philadelphia’s greatest resource is its residents, and developing Philadelphia’s human capital through enhanced education and workforce development opportunities is critical to eradicating poverty.  The Philadelphia Platform embraces the idea that government must supply individuals with the tools necessary for them to break the cycle of poverty that crushes their hopes and dreams. After all, the greatest poverty reduction strategy is the effort and ingenuity of our fellow Philadelphians.

In the final analysis, Representative Solomon believes this plan will succeed because “we need a unified vision for how we want to uplift people out of poverty and put people to work and this vision must be an accountability document where citizens can judge the progress we are making over the next two years. By being bold we are getting buy in from people all over the city, stakeholders, and colleagues on the other side of the aisle.”

Philly Set Go was founded to support politicians that wanted to efficiently, ethically, and transparently combat the policy issues that challenge our City and Commonwealth.  The Philadelphia Platform is an example of what happens when politicians embrace that creed and start working together to help us achieve the City we deserve—a City where one and four residents do not live in poverty, a City where zip-code doesn’t determine destiny and a City where poverty has been replaced by opportunity.