What is poverty?
It is a common misconception that poverty is just about not having enough money. Poverty really is so much more than having too many bills and not enough money to pay them.
The World Bank Organization describes poverty in this way:
“Poverty is hunger. Poverty is the lack of shelter. Poverty is being sick and not being able to see a doctor. Poverty is not having access to school and not knowing how to read. Poverty is not having a job, is fear for the future, living one day at a time.
Poverty has many faces, changing from place to place and across time, and has been described in many ways. Most often, poverty is a situation people want to escape. So poverty is a call to action — for the poor and the wealthy alike — a call to change the world so that many more may have enough to eat, adequate shelter, access to education and health, protection from violence, and a voice in what happens in their communities.”
So today, poverty is defined in much broader terms. Poverty is a lack of opportunity, an inability to move forward, and extensive social exclusion. It’s about not being able to afford your medication and still buy groceries. It’s the inability of someone to find competitive employment near a bus route. It’s a child being singled out in front of his peers because his lunch money account is overdrawn.
And although the causes of poverty are as diverse as the people themselves, it is often left to social service agencies, like CAAGKC, to address the needs of this population and find equitable solutions.
Every three years Community Action Agencies around the country are tasked with producing a formal Community Needs Assessment (CNA). This document compiles data from client surveys, partner focus groups, and personal interviews and is presented to the State of Missouri for review and approval. Our CNA process is designed to ascertain the most pressing needs of Clay, Platte, and Jackson County residents and to offer concrete solutions and strategies to address barriers.
The programs and services CAAGKC provide reflect the direct needs of the community we serve and we invite everyone to join us as we combat the many causes of poverty. Together we really can help people and change lives.