The ultimate goal of all our services: Helping people. Changing Lives.
There is no easy formula for helping people move out of poverty, but there are well-conceived strategies that confront the problems rather than focus simply on the symptoms. There are things we can do that will level the playing field for those who lack opportunities, giving them a chance to develop and achieve.
The best we can expect if we do this work responsibly is to be no longer needed and to see individuals and families who are stable, working, contributing to our community, and offering their children better opportunities.
MDC has for 48 years been Pierce County’s trusted operator of federal anti-poverty programs. We have developed experience in health services, housing, employment and training, and education. We have seen what works in government policy and what does not. We have learned that a piecemeal approach, like a band aid, will delay crisis but not change lives for the long-term. We have learned how to coordinate an array of programs that together form a comprehensive services web and meet the multiple needs in a family simultaneously. We have seen dramatic and extensive improvement through our services helping entire families leave the system and live successfully on their own. We have developed a methodology that demands increasing levels of individual responsibility, provides consistent support, and encouragement throughout their transition from dependency to stability, and ultimately to independence.
Poverty takes a huge and lasting toll on families and jeopardizes the quality of life for all of us in the community. Research has defined what is called the cycle of poverty or generational poverty as when living in poverty passes from one generation to the next. Families lose hope and become disconnected from choices that can aid in their progress. They then begin a spiral downward—economically, socially, emotionally, and psychologically. The symptoms of poverty become more pronounced and entrenched. Communities suddenly notice more crime, more homelessness, more drug addiction, increased school drop outs, more teenage pregnancies, more graffiti, and even more trash and abandoned buildings.
We in Tacoma have seen decades where poverty impacted every element of community life. But, in the last 10-15 years this had begun to change for the better. However, these gains are already being negatively impacted by the results of the Great Recession of 2008. Preservation of what has been achieved here in Tacoma and Pierce County depends on a concerted effort now to help individuals and families regain their stability.
2015 Community Needs Assessment
MDC and Pierce County jointly conducted a Community Needs Assessment in 2014-2015, and the final report was received by the MDC Board of Directors in April 2015.