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'Poverty is everywhere': Milwaukee social services group brainstorming solutions amid poverty spike

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Posted at 5:42 PM, Oct 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-19 18:51:13-04

MILWAUKEE — For more than 50 years, the Social Development Commission (SDC) has helped people experiencing poverty in Milwaukee County. Each year they look at poverty from different perspectives and look for solutions.

After COVID-19 put a halt on the Social Development Commission's 'Summit on Poverty', it is back in hybrid form.

The Summit on Poverty being held at the Wisconsin Center and virtually examines evidence-based strategies and tools for exposing and disrupting the experience of poverty.

According to the latest U.S. Census, about 25% of Milwaukee residents are experiencing poverty.

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"Poverty is everywhere," Abra Fortson, SDC Executive Support Manager, said.

Fortson said this problem has only gotten worse since the pandemic.

"Our mission is eradicating poverty, helping people move beyond," she said.

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One way the SDC is meeting peoples' needs is by exploring new ways to knock down the barriers that keep people in poverty.

"Dismantle all of those myths and humanize folk who are in the lived experience of poverty," Fortson stated. "Compile data and structure resources that address the issue both transactional and transformational."

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Keynote speaker and the Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, Chokwe Lumumba, said that can be done if the right questions are asked.

"Quality of our education, what is the access of fresh fruit and vegetables within our communities, and how are we ending generational poverty," Lumumba said.

Fortson and Lumumba both believe that beyond education, economic development is a powerful way to reset disparities not only in Milwaukee but everywhere.

For more information about SDC, click here or call (414) 906-2700.

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