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You can help UCAN, and those we serve, by educating others about why it’s important we address poverty.

What is Advocacy?

Advocacy includes many different types of activities. You can research new solutions, create coalitions of people like yourself, educate folks, raise awareness about poverty and much more.

Why Advocate?

The goal of advocacy is to create change. To address poverty, you might:

  • Raise people’s awareness of poverty’s impact on our communities,
  • Help change negative attitudes some folks hold about those living in poverty,
  • Work to obtain more resources and services so people can move out of poverty.

Where Can You Advocate?

You can advocate whenever you connect with people. This may include:

  • Your family and friends,
  • Your neighbors,
  • Your faith community,
  • Social and civic organizations,
  • Your elected representatives.

Key Talking Points

When you advocate about poverty, you share facts that help others better understand poverty, its causes, and its impacts. Doing so, you build support to take action to address poverty. Here are some facts to share when advocating.

What is Poverty?

The U.S. defines poverty based on whether folks earn enough to meet their household’s food needs. This greatly undercounts the number of people who struggle to make ends meet. The nation’s definition does not take into account other common expenses of daily living, such as health care and housing costs. 75,000 local residents wake up each morning having to decide which basic needs they will be able to meet that day.

Common Causes of Poverty

The most common causes of poverty are things folks don’t have much control over.

  • Many worker’s don’t earn much. They also lack benefits like health insurance and childcare.
  • Basic need items and services, like food and housing, are too expensive for many.
  • Many people, especially our older residents and folks with disabilities, can’t work. Our region has a higher percentage of these folks then found elsewhere in Oregon.
  • Events like medical emergencies and divorces can wipe out a person’s finances. While many folks fall into poverty this way, most are able to regain financial security with short-term support.

Poverty’s Impact

Imagine having to choose whether to give your children three meals a day, or pay a utility bill to keep the lights on. These difficult decisions lead to high levels of stress not faced by those with more resources. Worse, people living in poverty face shame and humiliation, even though many are hard workers who find creative ways to live with less. Stress, shame and humiliation make it more difficult for children to learn, for adults to focus at work, and for people to stay healthy.