Chronic poverty in Orlando is worsened by four complex social issues locking families into poverty and away from opportunity.
Our historically segregated, downtown neighborhoods remain pockets of dense poverty.
When families live in poverty generation after generation, it becomes difficult to imagine a different way of life is possible.
Relief and betterment programs alone have proven unsuccessful in transforming impoverished neighborhoods.
Increasing investment in downtown's westward expansion threatens to displace families in poverty.
The Impact of Concentrated & Generational Poverty
50% of our children growing up in poverty live in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty.
Children in poor neighborhoods are 3 times more likely to end up as high school dropouts.
These children are 7 times more likely to be in worse health than higher income peers.
The Paradox of Toxic Charity
In 2009, the three year research project, “Seeking the Welfare of the City” identified over 3,800 registered non-profits and charities in Central Florida. This is an impressive number for a city of our size. However, it also found that we had consistently been ranked among the worst out of the 200 U.S. cities evaluated annually by the Gallup Well-Being Index. In spite of a great culture of service in our city, most charitable organizations had failed to realize that relief and betterment programs alone have never proven to strengthen families, long term. This is what author and urban activist Bob Lupton describes as "Toxic Charity".
The Threat of Gentrification
Since the turn of the millennium, major cities across the country and around the world are experiencing a dramatic rebirth, through new waves of investment known as gentrification. Sadly, much of this in-flux of non-indigenous people to the urban core is forcing the urban poor out into the weekly/monthly motels between the revitalized city centers and the outlying suburban communities. In Orlando, the increasing investment in downtown's westward expansion threatens to displace families in poverty but there is still time to tell a different story. Together, we can make our community a model for how to become a great city... for all.