Special Report: Mesa County Agencies Fight Poverty with New Initiative

By: Lisa McDivitt
By: Lisa McDivitt

Today I brought you the first of a series of 11 Cares special reports (each reporter is doing a special report throughout the month of July.)

Today I brought you the first of a series of 11 Cares special reports (each reporter is doing a special report throughout the month of July.)

I focused my report on a new initiative in Mesa County called 'Bridges Out of Poverty'.

It involves nearly 30 Mesa County agencies, which have banded together to fight all levels of poverty in the Grand Valley. They’re using revolutionary ways of helping people currently on federal aid become self-sufficient. (Click here for the full story about this program).

I chose this story because I was originally interested in learning more about a new class called Learning to Work It Out. The class is free, offers resume tips, decision-making and interviewing skills. It also offsets costs that students face for things like day care and transportation.

I liked that the class aims at helping people coming out of the criminal justice system get back into the workforce. Then I found out that their funding came from a new project called Bridges Out of Poverty, and this led to a broader story about ways that dozens of Mesa County's assistant agencies are working with each other to help their clients in various ways.

The Bridges Out of Poverty program identified nine priorities, based on the most recent Mesa County Needs Assessment. These priorities include employment and economic stability, eliminating barriers to services, and youth development. Armed with a surplus of federal funds and a deadline to spend it, Bridges Out of Poverty entered into contracts with dozens of pilot programs throughout the county.

But beyond the funding, the initiative itself will help change the way all of the assistant agencies involved in the steering committee work with clients throughout the community. What do you think about this new initiative? Do you have any questions about it?

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