Fighting Poverty in a Pandemic

Step Forward President and CEO Dr. Jacklyn Chisholm and other community leaders joined Ideastream Public Media for a virtual town hall, “Fighting Poverty in a Pandemic”. The virtual town hall focused on the local poverty landscape in Cleveland, which according to census bureau data from 2019, is the poorest big city in the country.


With shutdowns, layoffs and closures, the pandemic increased the need for programs provided by organizations like Step Forward. This increase in need also accentuated gaps in systems that make it hard for residents to climb above the poverty threshold. Dr. Chisholm and fellow panelists, which included leadership from nonprofits, corporations and government entities, discussed how the pandemic affected the employment, education, basic needs and healthcare access of the communities they serve and how they are working to support residents during the pandemic.


During her panel session, Dr. Chisholm emphasized how pivoting services and programs to continue serving residents during the pandemic was a top priority for Step Forward. Dr. Chisholm also spoke about the benefits cliff, referring to a gap in the system where an increase in income ultimately becomes a roadblock to individuals and families who still need access to services and resources.


You can watch the virtual town hall on Ideastream Public Media’s website here.



Step Forward is grateful to be working beside dedicated local organizations that support the needs and goals of Cuyahoga County residents. As the State’s designated anti-poverty agency for Cuyahoga County, Step Forward is committed to helping low-income residents address immediate needs and build long-term skills to transform their lives during the pandemic and into the future.

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