In January 2013, Mayor Nutter issued an Executive Order calling for the creation of a strategic plan to address the effects of poverty on the fabric of life in Philadelphia. At the same time, he called on the newly-created office that I now head to take charge of developing and implementing the plan—and of measuring progress as it is made.
For more than 40 years, the City of Philadelphia has benefited from the activities of a Community Action Agency, most recently known as the Mayor’s Office of Community Services (MOCS). This organization has delivered services to individuals and families living in poverty, with a goal of helping them achieve self-sufficiency.
Mayor Nutter’s actions in 2013 underscore the City's desire to increase the effectiveness of anti-poverty activities and to organize ourselves to attract additional resources to address this difficult and long-term problem. While Philadelphia has a high poverty rate (28% as of 2011), it also enjoys a wealth of tools to tackle the effects of poverty on individuals, families, and communities. These include dedicated community leaders, neighborhood-based organizations, an experienced social service community, community development resources, and faith-based organizations. Poverty affects all Philadelphians — not just those who are poor. In order to have a vibrant city, attract and maintain quality jobs, and enjoy a great education system and healthy neighborhoods, we all need to work together to address this issue more effectively.