Colorado Center on Law and Policy Expert to present in Aspen on behalf of The Colorado Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force
(ASPEN, CO) New figures for Pitkin County based on the “Self Sufficiency Standard” will be unveiled in a free community presentation at the Pitkin County Library on Tuesday, March 13th from 5:30 to 7:00 pm. The figures reveal the high cost of living in our community, what kind of jobs and how much they must pay to keep people above the poverty level here, and what the obstacles and opportunities are in creating a more self-sufficient community.
Family Economic Security Program Manager, Tracey Stewart is taking what is called the “Take Action Challenge” on the road across the state in an attempt to engage local communities in finding innovative solutions for their most vulnerable citizens. The goal of the program is to cut poverty in Colorado by half by 2019.
“It’s often alarming for a community like Aspen and Pitkin County to hear that there are more people struggling to make ends meet here than is evident,” Stewart said. “Often times they are what we call invisible employees in service jobs that we all rely on who are not making enough to pay for childcare, housing, their commute and healthcare,” Stewart said.
Stewart will compare costs to live in several counties including Pitkin, Garfield, Eagle, Park, and Lake Counties. In Pitkin County affordable housing rises to the top as one of the biggest economic challenges for employees whereas in other communities health care might be the biggest challenge.
“I find the individual communities themselves understand better what needs to happen for them to become more self-sufficient than for some outside statistician to compare them in a statewide melting pot that might not be sensitive to their community-wide needs,” Stewart said.
Stewart will meet with the Pitkin County Board of Commissioners, the local consortium of Health and Human Service organizations and the public. She says she hopes the “take action” portion of her program will inspire locals here and across the state to break down barriers and find innovative solutions and promising practices for the most vulnerable people. Her presentation includes “hands-on” activities including encouragement to vote and communicate with legislators, among other proactive steps to fight poverty. She invites the public to watch the 2019 blog at http://2019colorado.blogspot.com for ideas on how individuals can take action.