Several years ago, Harvard University did a study in which Charlotte was at the very bottom of a list of the top 50 cities in our country. Economic Mobility has become a big topic around here because of our last place status. More recent studies funded by the John M. Belk Endowment show that of those born below the poverty line in the Charlotte commuting zone, 69% will not rise above what is considered to be stability in their lifetime.*
Statistics is one thing, but for the past 12 years we have been delivering groceries, helping with crisis needs, providing crisis referrals and more importantly being friends with folks that find themselves caught in this trend. One of the problems with solutions that we come up with as a society is that there is no input from those who live in the struggle day to day. Our friends are often counted out by society as lazy, unmotivated, ignorant, deficient or worse. What we have come to realize is that these friends are actually amazing problem solvers and we need them to take their place at the “community table” with those from middle class and wealth if we are going to change things.
Common Heart’s newest program, Advocates for Change, seeks to bring everyone to the table to create resources for individuals and our community. At its core is the belief that together, Joe from Wealth, Joe from Middle Class and Joe from Poverty can work together to create a sustainable community where all can do well.