PALMDALE – Palmdale Councilmember Steve Hofbauer will join regional leaders and many of Southern California’ s top names in education, business and government this Wednesday at the California Science Center to discuss tangible steps forward in the ongoing war on poverty.
Titled “Fifty Years into the War on Poverty,” the summit is hosted by the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) and the Southern California Leadership Council (SCLC). The summit’s goal is to raise awareness, develop a broad coalition of stakeholders to help find solutions, identify specific actions needed to move people out of poverty into jobs, and come up with specific ways for attendees to get involved.
“It was fifty years ago that Congress passed the Economic Opportunity Act, and yet poverty remains a national, regional and local crisis,” Hofbauer stated. “Today in Southern California, more than 3 million people live in poverty, including one in every four children. I look forward to the discussion with other community leaders on addressing some of the root causes of poverty and finding solutions and ways the City can work to help end this cycle.”
Guest speakers will include Connie Rice, Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Advancement Project, and former Gov. Gray Davis.
Carl Morehouse, SCAG President and a Ventura Councilmember, said the summit will allow stakeholders in the areas of education, business, government and the nonprofit sector the opportunity to find common ground in the War on Poverty.
“Job creation has been and remains our biggest weapon when it comes to defeating poverty at the local and regional level,” Morehouse said. “But that doesn’t simply happen. It takes a serious commitment to workforce development and training at all levels. We need to think strategically. We need to think big.”
The summit begins with registration at 8:30 a.m. at the California Science Center, located at 700 Exposition Park Drive in Los Angeles. It will include workshops and panels on the relationship of poverty and workforce development, identifying and maximizing the region’s growth industries and best approaches for moving people from poverty to prosperity.
According to a panel of economists convened by SCAG last year, the number of people living below poverty in the six-county region grew from less than 1.9 million in 1990 to 3.2 million in 2012. Among children, rates of poverty range from 17.7 percent in Ventura County to 32.8 percent in Imperial County. Nationwide, 15 percent of people live below the poverty line, but according to the President’s Council of Economic Advisors, true “market poverty” – reflecting what the poverty rate would be without any tax credits or other benefits – has actually risen from 27 percent to 28.7 percent over the past half century.
“Time has shown that we can’t simply throw money at the problem,” said Hasan Ikhrata, SCAG’s Executive Director. “We need to come up with real solutions that allow people to move from dependency to self-sufficiency, and that starts with jobs.”
For more information on the August 20 poverty summit, visit www.scag.ca.gov.