Poverty alleviation forum seeks to find answers

Forums are held by Partnership for Prosperity to address poverty concerns of the county.

Poverty alleviation forum seeks to  find answers
August 01
10:11 2019

The Partnership for Prosperity held a workforce development and poverty alleviation forum at the Piedmont Triad Regional Council in Kernersville to discuss methods to assist the impoverished communities of Forsyth County.

The forums grew out of the Poverty Thought Force Mayor Allen Joines formed in 2015. There were more than 50 recommendations from that thought force. The forums are held to capture information so that an action plan can be implemented this fall.

John Railey, event coordinator, was the moderator for the forum. He invited members of the community, employment specialists and resident experts to collaborate to brainstorm ideas.

“This makes me feel like we have a lot to do,” said Railey. “We have to move fast, but we have to build trust at the same time, so we are kind of balancing that. While our core action plan we are going to work on with the people, there are certain things that are urgent, like Medicare expansion.

“We have also been working on an eviction reduction program, because studies show we have an abnormally high rate here. Eviction is so negatively impactful on school age children, so those are the things we are working on right now as we start to construct the action plan.”

They presented 12 of the most important recommendations and asked everyone in attendance to rank them from highest priority to lowest. Some of the recommendations included childcare for those entering the workforce, transportation needs, financial literacy for children and work options for those who recently graduated from high school, among others.

During the forum, the room was broken down into groups to collectively speak on the recommendations. The groups then presented their findings, which in turn sparked a larger conversation on how these recommendations could be initiated. Members from the community also weighed in with their opinions as well.

Several forums will be held going forward to collect as much information as possible. Railey says the goal is to not spread themselves too thin, but to actually formulate a plan that can tackle issues versus delivering empty promises.

“We see our job as advocacy and public awareness and helping to coordinate,” Railey continued. “We want those with low resources to know what is out there to help them. We also have to make the other half realize what it’s like when you have draconian bus policies, like you can’t have more than two bags of groceries with them, and the buses only run every hour.”

Railey says they have found that transportation is the biggest issue people of low resources are dealing with. He says lack of transportation impacts people on many different fronts.

“The original thought force recognized that transportation cuts across all the issues,” he said. “You can’t get out of the food desert, you can’t get to the doctor or you can’t get to school, so we are holding forums on all of the issues.”

The next forums will be held on healthcare and education. For more information on the work session and forums, please visit

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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