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Imagine No Poverty in Oakland County? It's Possible, Organizers of May 12 Conference Say

Help make the dream reality at the May 12 Pathways to Self-Sustainability Community Conference

A coalition of providers and community leaders will address ways to reduce poverty in Oakland County at a May 12 conference.
A coalition of providers and community leaders will address ways to reduce poverty in Oakland County at a May 12 conference.  Download PDF 

Human services providers and others will examine solutions to Oakland County’s stunning increase in poverty during the Great Recession at an upcoming conference in Birmingham.

The Pathways to Self-Sustainability Community Conference will be held from 6:30-8:30 p.m. May 12 at the First United Methodist Church of Birmingham,1589 W. Maple Rd., Birmingham. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the conference begins promptly at 6:30 p.m.

John Ziraldo, president and CEO of Lighthouse of Oakland County, is the keynote speaker. The conference will feature workshops with the leadership from some of the most crucial human service agencies in the county including Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County; Hispanic Outreach Services, Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan; Kiva; Lighthouse of Oakland County; Rochester Area Neighborhood House (RANH); and South Oakland Shelter (SOS).

Organizers say poverty, which increased 77 percent in Oakland County from 2005-2012, is a solvable problem. The county is Michigan’s wealthiest and possesses a unique combination of wealth, industry and education to “make this the place and now the time to solve the poverty problem,” organizers of the conference say.

There are currently more than 118,000 residents – 37,184 of them children – living at or below the federal poverty guideline in Oakland County.

“Local programs to help people leave poverty behind need your volunteer and financial support as well as your advocacy,” organizers said in a news release. “Every hour, every dollar helps. There is also work to be done to change policies and systems that keep people in poverty. Every letter, every phone call helps.”

Also needed are mentors and life coaches for teens, young adults and adults; people to help develop or coordinate new services; people to help identify business or corporate support; people to support entrepreneurs with Kiva loans; people to help with our web site; people to make financial contributions to support programming; and people to make calls and write letters to influence policy decisions. There is a role for everyone who is frustrated by the poverty among us and wants to solve it.

There is no cost to attend, and light refreshments will be served.

For more information, please contact Susan Masiak at stmasiak@hotmail.com, Kathy Bommarito at kathyabommarito@gmail.com, or call (248) 705-8868.

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