We live and work in a region of great wealth, yet too many families in Contra Costa are struggling to make ends meet.
The causes of poverty are deep-rooted and complex. But that doesn’t mean it’s unsolvable. As Nelson Mandela wisely observed, “Poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.”
There are more than one million of us living and working in Contra Costa. Each of us can contribute unique talents to ensure that everyone in our community – our friends and neighbors, your kid’s schoolteacher, the janitor where you work – has the opportunity to thrive.
Poverty is solvable, but the challenges are daunting. A family of four has to earn more than $71,000 per year (equivalent to almost four full-time minimum wage jobs!) just to pay for the basic necessities of living.
We are blessed in this community with wonderful local programs and services that address poverty’s immediate harms. But to have a more lasting impact, we must also create a cohesive, county-wide, collaborative approach to address the root causes of poverty. This is what the Ensuring Opportunity Campaign is all about.
The Ensuring Opportunity Campaign to End Poverty in Contra Costa was created to bring together all of us – policy makers, residents, business leaders, labor organizations, government agencies, nonprofit providers and faith-based organizations – to create better opportunities for everyone who lives and works in our beautiful community.
The Ensuring Opportunity campaign advocates for fair and effective policies in six key issue areas: economic security, health care, food security, housing, education and safety. To learn more about our policy priorities, check out our Policy Framework.
Our work is already making an impact. Last year, Ensuring Opportunity led a coalition that helped raise the minimum wage in El Cerrito and then statewide. After celebrating this victory, we are now focused on our community’s growing housing crisis. Our goal is to ensure that all Contra Costa residents have access to housing that they can afford. We are engaged in several local housing efforts, including the Zero 2016 initiative to end homelessness and the Raise the Roof campaign in Concord.
Over the coming months, we will bring together stakeholders from throughout the county to explore solutions to our community’s growing housing crisis. With your help, we will identify and advocate for policy changes at the local, state and federal level that will expand and protect the supply of affordable housing.
Whether you are a long-time homeowner or are struggling with your increased rent, we need your voice in this effort. We hope you will join us!
To get the latest news and updates on the Ensuring Opportunity Campaign, follow us on Facebook and Twitter and sign up for our newsletter. Please add your voice, get informed and get engaged. Together, we will make poverty history in Contra Costa.
We look forward to connecting with you!
Ensuring Opportunity Campaign Director