Paducah, KY – United Way of Paducah and McCracken County unveiled a ten-year plan today to Impact Poverty. The organization began developing the plan nearly two years ago as community leaders learned the city and county's poverty rate has increased at more than 14 times the state and national average. Chapter Executive Director Ashley Wright says during the two year study, one of the most striking discoveries has been the unintended consequences of existing support programs like the Kentucky Transitional Assistance Program.
"Those kind of programs that the intention is great; to help provide support systems for those people who are in poverty. But what they have done is in many ways dis-incentivized people from getting off of those government assistance programs."
The plan's development has taken one year longer than expected. Wright says the extended length of study was necessary to truly understand a very complicated issue.
"It was like peeling back an onion. You know, we'd find one thing, and there would be another cause behind that. And another cause behind that. And so it turned out to be just a really, really intense past two years trying to understand poverty in our community."
The ten-year plan involves tackling the city and county's poverty issue with different approaches, focusing on mentoring children, providing job-search assistance, and preventing substance abuse, among other things.