This week, representatives from numerous national human services groups in the United States, including Goodwill®, participated in a discussion about a complex challenge that Americans have struggled to address for generations – how do we improve opportunities for people who have economic disadvantages?
While the language we have used over the years has evolved from “poverty reduction and safety nets” to “economic mobility and opportunities,” such conversations inside the Beltway often visit and revisit the following two persistent challenges and implicated federal- level policy recommendations.
1) Programs and resources are fragmented, often overlap, and operate in silos; therefore, policymakers should enact legislation that fosters increased collaboration.
2) Public funding is limited and dwindling for programs that aim to lift people and families out of poverty; therefore, policymakers should protect funding for these programs.
Let’s set the politics aside for a moment to look at Congress from a systemic perspective in order to examine why it enacts laws that perpetuate an underfunded and fragmented poverty-reduction system.