Excerpt from the EagleTribune:
In a recent report commissioned by the Massachusetts Association for Community Action, called “Obstacles on the Road to Opportunity: Finding a Way Forward,” estimates that anti-poverty programs have reduced the number of people in Massachusetts who live below the poverty level – $22,000 for a family of four – by more than half. That progress will be undone by the tax cut and Trump's budget projections, which would cut spending for the nondefense discretionary funding that pays for the programs from $579 billion today to $306 billion in 2028, the report says.
The report tallies key economic indicators in 30 cities across the state, providing a grim account that suggests the work left to be done even as federal funding begins drying up. In every instance, Lawrence is at the bottom of the heap or close to it, the report found. Among them:
1/3 of Lawrence's children live in poverty, exceeded only by Springfield, New Bedford and Holyoke.
Up to 1/3 of Lawrence's households spend more than half their income on rent, exceeded only by Springfield.
38% of Lawrence residents who filed federal tax returns in 2015 claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit – which reduces the taxes for the working poor – more than any other city in the state.
36% of Lawrence residents receive aid under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the successor to the Food Stamp program, exceeded only by Springfield.
These stats are just a quantitative depiction of why we do what we do - to help our neighbors get ahead by reducing the barriers put up in the path of better employment or simply finding employment in order to better one's life and likely their family's life.
Having the right clothing for an interview for example, eliminates the need to travel, find and pay for professional clothing; the clothing itself boosts one's confidence going into the interview; and meets the first impression expectations of the employer.
At Progress Clothing, when a client obtains employment, they are invited back to our program to receive more clothing for the work week. We host weekly one-on-one Resume Hours to help elevate their potential for an interview and elevate their professionalism to help them apply for a wider range of jobs. We go into the schools and organizations to host workshops and Pop-Up Shops, bringing the skills and clothing necessary to move forward.
We are here to reduce barriers and give our neighbors a leg up as much as possible; and there is no doubt that it is needed in our community and today's environment...