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Friday, May 24, 2024

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Developing a Sustainable Community

By Denise South, Rio Grande

To the Editor:

The number of “able” people living in poverty and experiencing homelessness in Cape May County represents a crisis – a crisis of opportunity. When people and families are forced to leave the community because of a lack of housing and financial opportunities, our communities become unsustainable.

Indeed, America’s able poor are not lazy. Rather, they have been handicapped by stagnant wages, costly or the lack of child care, a shortage of sustainable housing, and year-round employment opportunities.
“Ability” is nothing without opportunity. As a society, are we not responsible for providing the means to break the cycle of poverty? Are we to view the poor as criminals and a burden to our society?

Social welfare programs are important, but alone they cannot lift people out of poverty. For this to happen, we must also ensure that every person, no matter his or her circumstance, has the opportunity to go to work to earn a living wage and have a place to call home.

Only then can poor, able Americans climb the economic ladder and reach their true potential, and successfully reenter society.

Our work is to help people improve their lives and they in turn will become the building blocks that make a healthy community for all.

DENISE SOUTH

Rio Grande

ED. NOTE: The author is the CEO of Cape Hope.

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