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Breaking a Cycle of Poverty

What is Generational Poverty?

When you hear the word “poverty” it might conjure certain images to mind.  In truth, there are many different causes and types of poverty.  When people have lived in poverty for two or more generations, that is called Generational Poverty.  It’s not just a blip on the radar, it’s a cycle that can be really hard to escape from.

People in generational poverty are living in survival mode.  Often, they can’t afford to think about the future.  They have to make sure they can provide for themselves and their families right now.

The Cycle of Generational Poverty

Many kids born into Generational Poverty feel shamed and judged.  They have to worry other kids or adults might look down on their clothes, home, or even their food.  Some of them believe that their situation is their own fault.  And, they see how hard their parents and friends work without improving their lives.  For many of them, they don’t expect to complete high school.

Children in Generational Poverty often experience a lack of opportunities and education, plus a lack of mentors.  Many of them also struggle directly or indirectly with domestic violence or abuse, and substance use disorders.  These factors contribute to the cyclical nature of generational poverty.

Think about when you first learned how to play a sport, drive a car or play an instrument.  Now, imagine how much more difficult it would be without a coach/teacher, practice or even the equipment.  For a lot of people surviving in generational poverty, this is what trying to pursue a better life is like.

How the Front Door Breaks the Cycle

The Front Door Agency interrupts generational poverty by providing stability and access to resources.  One of the most reliable paths out of poverty is education.  But people living in poverty are the least likely to complete higher education.  So, the Front Door works with clients to aid them in pursuing their goals.

Through the Agency’s Transformational Housing Program, single mothers and their families are provided with support and opportunities.  Clients are given access to higher education.  Plus, they have access to support networks: people that are willing to help.

A Comprehensive Approach

Clients in the Transformational Housing Program receive life skills training.  They learn how to balance a budget, study, and manage their time better.  People in survival mode are often very reactive, so planning ahead can be hard.  However, with practice, clients can and do get better at these skills.

Additionally, clients experience a group living environment which allows them to interact with their peers.  One of the hurdles for many people trying to escape generational poverty is feeling isolated.  After removing or distancing themselves from bad relationships or situations, they learn that they are not alone.

The Front Door wants to make sure that the families we serve will be able to pursue a better future.  We believe that it’s important to open doors to education.  And we also make sure that our clients are equipped to continue moving forward even after they graduate.