Cincinnati is experiencing a renaissance that is bringing new investment, people, and entertainment to downtown and OTR. I support these efforts, and as Mayor I’ll expand them.
Yet we cannot lose sight of the fact that there are thousands of people in our city who are living in poverty and not benefitting from this new urbanism. We can’t just assume that money will trickle down. We have a responsibility to provide real and meaningful opportunity for all.
My progressive vision for Cincinnati not only accelerates Cincinnati’s renaissance but also ensures that all of our people can participate in it.
And that’s why I’m announcing a new effort to put people back to work by creating a jobs program and new partnerships with organizations that have a proven track record of moving people from poverty to self-sufficiency. We’re calling it the Hand Up Initiative, and it will be a major focus of my Administration.
During the program’s first four years, the Hand Up Initiative will transition over 4,000 Cincinnatians from living in poverty to living in a household with at least one full-time provider. As these households escape poverty these 4,000 individuals will represent a 5% reduction in the poverty rate.
The Hand Up Initiative will provide short-term employment that will put real money in people’s pockets and will help them find long-term employment. The Initiative will also help program participants retain employment by reducing their transportation and childcare costs.
Everyone benefits from an effort like this. We’ll spend tens of thousands less on support services for families in poverty. We’ll put people back to work and they will in turn generate new economic growth for the city.
The cost is a bargain. The annual cost of the Hand Up Initiative is just $2.3 million. At a little less than $2,250 per beneficiary, we’ll be changing lives forever.
But this investment is more than just a financial equation. Our investment is either for actual work or for helping program participants develop the skills necessary to become self-sufficient. This Initiative is not a handout; It’s a hand up.
My deepest conviction is that there is dignity in work. I believe all able-bodied adults should work and be self-sufficient. And, I believe society has an obligation to ensure the opportunity to work exists. Sadly, in our community, this is not the case for far too many people. The Hand Up Initiative is meant to make the promise of the opportunity to work a reality.
This is a promise that I believe we, as a community, must make. It is a statement about our priorities that must be clear, bold, and unmistakable. In a Cranley administration, this will be a City that places the moral calling of dignified work for all who want it at the top of the agenda.
I encourage you to read more about the Hand Up Initiative on the following pages. Thank you for your support and your commitment to our community. If we work together, Cincinnati’s renaissance will benefit all.
You can download the plan here.