I am gratified by St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter’s commitment to directly address the root causes of poverty and inequity in our community by “Making Saint Paul a City that Works for All.” As a city council member representing people living in poverty on St. Paul’s East Side, I welcome his goal to tackle poverty head-on in our community.
As a member of the board of directors of the non-profit Community Action Partnership of Ramsey & Washington Counties, one of the largest and oldest continually-operating poverty-fighting organizations in the Eastern Metro, I particularly appreciate the Carter administration’s intentions to coordinate the work of city government with the efforts of local service providers from both the for-profit and non-profit sectors.
Mayor Carter recently unveiled plans to create an Office of Financial Empowerment that will connect our city’s low-income residents to financial education and counseling, help them establish savings and build credit, and provide them with tools to achieve financial stability. The launch of the OFE, along with the initiation of a college savings account program and the establishment of a $10 million affordable housing trust fund, form a multi-faceted approach to reversing poverty in our city.
Mayor Carter’s goals align perfectly with the work of Community Action, so we, the staff and board led by Executive Director Dr. Clarence Hightower, celebrate the Mayor’s vision and stand ready to assist these efforts by leveraging our organization’s resources. During five decades of work Community Action has learned from the experts themselves — people living in poverty — what interventions work, what services are effective, where barriers to getting ahead persist, and what is broken in our systems.
Community Action staff members have honed their knowledge and skills by serving nearly 60,000 people each year. We have created an infrastructure designed to serve. And we have been entrusted with financial resources from government agencies, foundations, and private individuals with the explicit purpose that they be invested in addressing the needs of low-income people. We look forward to supporting Mayor Carter’s vital and game-changing agenda for the City of St. Paul.
We believe that together, joined by the many other wonderful community institutions across our city and region, we can create a stronger network aimed at reducing poverty and its impact on peoples’ lives. By working together, we will create a stronger future. By working together, we can capitalize on our collective strengths and resources. By working together, we can make our community one that “Works for All.”
Jane Prince is a member of the St. Paul City Council.