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Breaking the chains of generational poverty

By Brent Morris

By Brent Morris

It requires a strategic approach to break free from the grip of poverty. In Employment Services, we provide not only hope, but also a systematic approach.

Click here to read the entire February 2019 newsletter

Poverty often binds several generations

At Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph, our motto is “To Serve and To Lift”. For our Employment Services this is accomplished by helping people break the chains of poverty binding not only them, but one, two, or even more generations before them.

Generational poverty is defined as two or more generations in one family living below the poverty level. The root causes of generational poverty are multifaceted and requires a strategic approach if one is to break free from its grip. It conditions a mindset of hopelessness, surviving rather than planning, and accepting the limitations experienced by previous generations. Add to this, economic uncertainty, physical and mental health disabilities, criminality, illiteracy and unemployment, and the web of generational poverty quickly ensnares. In fact, studies show that 43% of children born into poverty will remain in poverty in their adulthood.

It is precisely these types of vulnerable individuals and families we seek to help.

In fact, in 2018, 57% of persons coming through our Employment Services program were ex-offenders, 21% were over 55 years of age, 9% were veterans, and 8 % were disabled. For these people, we not only provide hope but a systematic approach beginning with changing their self-perception and then moving to educational opportunities such as workshops, financial literacy classes, job training, interviews, direct employment opportunities, and job retention skills. Our purposeful methodology pries apart the links in the chain of poverty one at a time. However, making these dramatic changes isn’t easy for our clients. Imagine growing up in a home where opportunity seemed too far away to hope for, and your dreams for a better life slowly, but inexorably, faded away. This is why our Employment Services program is more than a “one and done” event. Instead, we actively seek to walk alongside our clients, nurturing and patiently supporting them on their road to self-sufficiency. In 2018, the average monthly income of an individual seeking Employment Services was approximately $704.00 per month. After participating in our workforce prep activity, their monthly income increased to approximately $1,849.00 per month. That’s a 162% increase! And, that’s how we serve and lift daily.

How much difference can employment services make?

For more information on how we can help break the chains of generational poverty, please call 816-659-8232 or email Brent Morris.

Brent Morris
Employment Services Specialist


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