From the left, Hampton Mayor, Donnie Tuck, Portsmouth Mayor Kenneth Wright, HRPDC Chair Dr. Ella Ward,Carol Naughton, Purpose Built Communities, Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Alexander, and
On November 21, 2016 the HRPDC hosted the first regional discussion of poverty in Hampton Roads’ 17 jurisdictions. Approximately 100 Hampton Roads’ elected officials, chief administrators, and community stakeholders met at the Hampton Roads Convention Center to hear how other regions across the country are addressing the issue and how Norfolk is planning to reduce poverty and the activities already underway in that city.
“The anti-poverty forum was born out of a roundtable discussion with our region’s chief administrative officers and police chiefs,” said HRPDC Executive Director, Robert Crum. “Following that discussion, we saw the importance of addressing poverty in a regionally coordinated manner and the importance of bringing all community stakeholders to the table to discuss this issue.”
To help frame the discussion, the HRPDC invited Purpose Built Communities, a Georgia-based non-profit organization that is working with cities across the country to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty by helping local leaders transform struggling neighborhoods and bring together the vital components necessary for holistic community revitalization. Purpose Built Communities’ President, Carol Naughton, a leader in comprehensive community revitalization for more than 20 years, provided the keynote address.
“The message from Carol was timely,” said HRPDC’s Housing and Human Services Administrator, Shernita Bethea. “Purpose Built Communities’ approach urges participants to locate community quarterbacks that are able to drive the revitalization efforts in their own community. She stressed the importance in honoring the commitments made during the community engagement process in an effort to gain trust and buy-in.”
Purpose Built Communities uses a model of assisting communities with pinpointing a defined targeted area to provide assistance. Naughton’s presentation highlighted the documented increases in school scores, property values and median income of East Lake Village, a community in Atlanta that was once a high poverty, high crime community.
The forum wrapped up with input from the stakeholders on how the region could move toward creating an environment of deconcentrating poverty. Suggestions included, creation of regional one-stop shop databases of services and programs, continuing to improve transportation options in the region, breaking down silos between service areas, and a need to connect private and public sectors effectively.
Dr. Susan Perry,