Thought Leaders Across Sectors Joined to Support Innovative HOPE Proposal on Using Technology to Reduce Poverty

12.13.2016

For Immediate Release:                                                            

December 13, 2016                                                                   

Thought Leaders Across Sectors Joined to Support Innovative HOPE Proposal on  

Using Technology to Reduce Poverty

Uber NYC, NYC HRA, Progressive Policy Institute, and United Way of NYC Joined with HFA to Promote New Report

Technology, government, and anti-poverty leaders joined in the release of a Progressive Policy Institute report by Hunger Free America CEO Joel Berg, proposing innovative HOPE accounts and action plans to reduce poverty. A key component proposed by HOPE is a public/private partnership between government and technology companies to dramatically streamline safety net programs into one user friendly application, thereby enabling struggling families to avoid long lines and lengthy waits to receive basic benefits. The report also proposes a new paradigm of anti-poverty policy under which low-income Americans can forge joint plans with non-profit and government agencies to boost their long-term economic advancement.

At the event was Steven Banks, Commissioner, NYC Department of Social Services, who demonstrated his support of the report in an effort to decrease poverty in New York City.  Also showing his support of the proposed technology plan was Ana Mahony, the General Manager of Uber New Jersey. Nicole Gallant, Senior Vice President & Chief Impact Officer, United Way of New York City, Will Marshall, President, Progressive Policy Institute, and Natosha McCray, Food Action Board Member, Hunger Free America, also spoke on the panel about the importance of this technology plan to help low-income Americans get out, and stay out, of poverty.

Said Joel Berg: “The only thing low-income people have less of than money, is time. The new HOPE technology partnership would streamline multiple government and nonprofit safety net programs all into one user-friendly device, allowing low income individuals to fill out one application, rather than wait in line for hours at multiple government and nonprofit assistance offices. Tangible hope is the world’s most powerful motivator. Surely the Right, the Left, and everyone in between can all agree on making hope a reality again.”

“People turn to the government for assistance often at the most difficult times of their lives—they have lost employment, are in danger of losing their homes, and worried about how they will feed their children,” said Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks.  “Anything we can do to make the process of getting help simpler, to ease the already terrible burden those in need are living with, is not just smart—it’s the right thing to do.  We have already made strides in this direction, with new online case management features and mobile document submission for SNAP clients, with more changes on the way, and we’re eager to work with partners in and outside of government to do more.”

"Hunger Free America’s ideas on how to modernize the way government assists people in need are truly forward thinking. I believe the tech community would welcome the chance to work with the City and other partners to try and support innovations within the social service net," said Ana Mahony, Uber New Jersey General Manager. 

“So many families in New York City that find themselves struggling to make ends meet have at least one working adult,” said Nicole Gallant, Senior Vice President and Chief Impact Officer, United Way of New York City. “It’s our aspiration that this new HOPE technology, will make benefit sign-up easier for these families and thereby increase access and their ability to move along the path to self-sufficiency.”

"U.S. social programs too often force low-income Americans to run a bureaucratic gauntlet to get the help they need to climb out of poverty,” said Will Marshall, President of the Progressive Policy Institute. “Joel Berg's new report for PPI illustrates how we can harness smart phones and the Internet to bring anti-poverty policy into the 21st Century in a way that should appeal to people on both sides of the partisan divide."

Click here to read a full copy of the report.

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