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Washington state coalition releases 10-Year Plan to Dismantle Poverty as blueprint for a just, equitable future

PRWG is thrilled to share the culmination of three years of work with you — A Blueprint for a Just & Equitable Future: The 10-Year Plan to Dismantle Poverty.

A Plan to Meet the Moment

“I think the greatest opportunity we have is to build understanding about our experiences and design a system together that is based in reality and believes we can be successful.” ~ PRWG Steering Committee member

Prior to the current economic downturn, there were 1.75 million Washingtonians – including over 500,000 children – with incomes below 200% of the federal poverty level ($43,440 for a family of three) – enough to fill 25 stadiums the size of Lumen Field. Rising unemployment in the wake of COVID-19 is making it harder for even more people to make ends meet, as well as deepening the experience of poverty for those disproportionately affected. When so many people fall through the cracks of an unstable and inherently unequal system, we fail to live up to our full potential as a state.

We are fortunate to have a 10-Year Plan to meet this challenging moment, and lay a foundation for a just and equitable future in which all Washingtonians can reach their full potential. PRWG grounded the process of developing the plan in two main principles: (1) a commitment to achieving racial equity; and (2) following the leadership and expertise of people most impacted by poverty.

To uphold these principles, the work group enlisted the support of a racial equity consultant and tools to guide the development of the strategies and recommendations, and created a Steering Committee of people experiencing poverty to set priorities for the work group and have the authority to approve the plan.

The result is eight strategies and 60 recommendations designed to mitigate the experience of poverty and prevent it from occurring altogether, ultimately aimed at one bold and completely achievable goal: to ensure all children, adults, and families in Washington state have their foundational needs met, and the opportunities they need to reach their full potential.

Action and Accountability: How You Can Support the 10-Year Plan

“Please don’t forget that we are the people behind the numbers, the lives that will benefit should you choose to act.” ~ PRWG Steering Committee Co-Chairs

The 10-Year Plan to Dismantle Poverty has the potential to lead the nation in reducing poverty and inequality, but it is incumbent upon all of us to act. Systemic change becomes possible when we recognize the “system” is us – people working in state and local government, non-profits, businesses, and philanthropic entities working together to achieve a shared goal … so let’s get to work.

Below are five immediate actions any entity or individual or organization, in any sector, can take to discover ways you can contribute to building a just and equitable future and support the 10-Year Plan to Dismantle Poverty in Washington state.

Read this blog and the rest of our website to learn more about PRWG and the Steering Committee, hear from agency leadership on their support for the plan, and sign-up to stay connected to the work. Read the full plan to review the full set of strategies and recommendations. Use the Action Toolkit to identify ways you and your organization can contribute to implementation of the plan. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to engage in the work and share our posts with your networks. Invite the PRWG Steering Committee and members to your events to learn more about the plan from the people who led its development. It will remain a living and breathing document, in need of support and collaboration to make Washington a state without poverty and injustice, and a place where all children, adults, and families can thrive.

If you have questions or feedback for our team, please email PRWG@dshs.wa.gov.