Douglas Brown, Executive Director
“There may not be jobs, but there will always be work”
~ Dmitry Orlov
I read this quote in the special report produced by the National Community Action Partnership:
“Facing the New Reality: Preparing Poor America for Harder Times Ahead” (Printable Version Click Here).
The report should spark discussion, which is always healthy. Some find the conclusion outrageous. The notion that America will never achieve energy independence or that environmental calamities will increase as we face our failures in dealing with pollution and environmental waste are examples of our “New Realities” . There are numerous points made that warrant debate. It doesn’t offer holistic solutions but does suggest something that I believe is essential to communities throughout our country, and certainly in Escambia County and Emerald Coast area; the solutions must come from the people in the communities that are being impacted. The local economies must be examined to uncover opportunities to grow and expand based on asset based community development. . Fuel cost will have an impact on availability and affordability of food and commodities. Market will adjust; they always do, due to necessity. The response is based on demand and resource. The reality for poor communities is the cost may make some commodities out of their reach.
The number of families that are in poverty is rapidly expanding. The demands on agencies that assist families in need will grow and exceed their capacity. We have seen the trend of budget cuts. We are asked to do more with less and accountability has increased, as it should! The reality is we are helping people who are working extremely hard and are not able to generate income as a result of that work. They are working to raise families, volunteering in schools and churches, coaching and mentoring our youth, assisting our elderly and a host of other needed community services. There is no lack of work!
Our call to action is clear. We must discover what the needs are for our community. We must refine, expand, develop and implement strategies that meet the needs of our community. That process must be a shared process. The guiding principles of Community Action Agencies is based on the principle that local control can best provide for sustainable community development, as well as the now-familiar notion that a “hand up” is preferable to a “handout.”
I look forward to working within our organization and our community to respond to these concerns. I extend an invitation to participate in helping those working families described above gain jobs that they may be self sufficient. We are a collectively capable! We are called to Action, let that action be deliberate and planned with measurable outcomes.