by Sam Hieb
At a Monday press conference, Mayor Allen Joines released the findings of the so-called Winston-Salem Thought Force, which was formed in 2015 to help tackle poverty in the Camel City.
Among the recommendations was the creation of a ‘poverty czar,’ which—according to Joines—“would be an individual who would live with this every day.”
The report says that while there are dozens of organizations working on poverty — from governmental departments to community groups — there is no one person or group in charge of coordinating efforts, seeing what works and raising the visibility and public awareness of the various efforts.
That’s where the poverty czar comes in: That job could be paid for by a city-county partnership or by working with a local nonprofit group, the report concludes.
That recommendation also derives from another conclusion of the report: That current programs are tailored to meet specific goals — job creation, for instance — but that the elimination of poverty requires a comprehensive approach that embraces education, health, housing, hunger and jobs.
Fleming El-Amin, who attended the news conference, said that “poverty czar” isn’t the best name for the new position, and suggested calling the position a “poverty outreach coordinator.”
Interesting is the comment from City Council member Derwin Montgomery, who is a leader of the group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. According to the Winston-Salem Journal, Montgomery said “that while the city cannot tell companies how much to pay their employees, ‘we can set a doggone good example.'” No context within the article–I assume Montgomery is suggesting a wage hike for city employees.