Better way to reduce Highland County poverty

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U.S. Representative Brad Wenstrup (OH-2) met this week with the Highland County Community Action Organization Inc. (HCCAO) to discuss the Rural Integration Models for Parents and Children to Thrive (IMPACT) program that HCCAO has been participating in since September 2015.

Through this program and the updated technical assistance it provides, HCCAO has been able to streamline its services and bring together public and private resources in an effort to give families in poverty the helping hand they need to climb out of poverty.

“All too often, families are impoverished merely because the current federal welfare program punishes Americans who desire work. Mild gains in the workforce often lead to a debilitating decline in assistance, making unemployment the better option. A sliding scale from assistance to independence, steered on a local level, is what Americans want and need,” said Wenstrup. “Local, comprehensive programs like HCCAO that know the members of community and are better equipped to provide people with the help they need to rise out of poverty permanently.”

This sliding scale for government benefits is just one aspect of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Better Way Agenda to fight poverty that was released in June. The agenda is a bold plan to attack poverty at its roots by replacing the one-size-fits-all maze of federal welfare programs with work incentives, better education, and consolidated and streamlined programs.

“The goal is to assist in implementing a comprehensive, whole family framework for addressing child poverty,” said HCCAO Executive Director Julia Wise. “We are pleased that Congressman Wenstrup visited our organization to discuss our involvement in the Rural Impact Initiative… Discussing the reduction of barriers including the cliff effect for low income families, the need for programs all under one roof, and the efforts of the over 1,000 nonprofit Community Action agencies across the country was a positive step in moving towards the goals set out under the Better Way. We look forward to working jointly [with Congressman Wenstrup] to meet the needs of our county as a whole.”

Submitted by the Office of Representative Brad Wenstrup, Katie Webster, legislative correspondent.

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