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Tuesday, May 12, 2015 at 8:49PM
Barbara Getz of the Salvation Army gave an eye-opening presentation on Generational Poverty. She explained the difference between situational poverty, when someone encounters a difficult time in his or her life resulting in loss of income or resources, and generational poverty, a continuum or ongoing period of little income or resources, typically passed on from generation to generation. Most people who encounter situational poverty maintain hope and a sense that he or she can and will get out of that hard time. Generational poverty becomes more a way of life with little hope that things can or will change.
Ms. Getz described how often the mind-set of people in generational poverty believe themselves to be victims, dependent, helpless and that they require someone else to "fix things" or provide answers or resources. Furthermore, they often have a short-term outlook and have not been taught or raised to plan for the future. It was particularly interesting to learn that much of the differences between those struggling with generational poverty compared to average middle-class or more wealthy people are the deeply held cultural beliefs and fundamental values that we are raised with from an early age. Examples include: saving for the future, long-term planning, organization, goal-setting, etc.
So often programs targeting the poor, whether government or private organization, only focus on short-term provision of money or resources which do not enable people to make foundational changes in their lives on which they can climb out of the perpetual cycle of poverty.
Ms. Getz described the programs Salvation Army is implementing to help people make and live out these critical changes needed to become empowered to improve their lives.