City Council unveils 'moonshot' plan to reduce Philadelphia poverty

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia City Council is rolling out a plan it's calling its "moonshot" to address poverty in the city.

"We made the decision to go to the moon, today we're making the decision to solve this very troublesome problem," said Council President Darrell Clarke.

Currently, one in four Philadelphians, about 400,000 people, live below the poverty line, making the city the poorest big city in America.

"Not only is being poor a full-time job but being poor is expensive," said State Rep. Jordan Harris, who represents part of Philadelphia in the statehouse.

The plan aims to move 100,000 people out of poverty by 2024, with ideas like a "basic income" for households in poverty and partnering with the school district and community college for adult educations programs.

The plan includes three main categories:

  • Jobs and education

  • A social safety net

  • Housing

  • It does not include how much the plan will cost or how the city intends to pay for it. Council said it will be addressing that in upcoming budget meetings.

    "Do we have a sense of how much money we'll need for some of this? Absolutely," said Clarke.

    Instead of giving a number it will spend, Council talked about trying to raise the minimum wage and helping people tap into benefits like income tax breaks. The city estimates there is $450 million worth of benefits like that which go unclaimed every year.

    "This is a document about people, not programs. Not government, not bureaucracy, not the private sector or the public sector but all of us together," said Councilmember Maria Quinones-Sanchez, who chaired Council's special committee on poverty reduction and prevention.
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