Newly launched by Taos United and Pascual Maestes, this working group is exploring local avenues to reduce poverty in Taos. It was inspired by the successful local efforts by towns and cities in Canada described in the Opinion piece by David Brooks in the New York Times and led by the Tamarack Institute which lifted 202,872 families out of poverty in seven years with local efforts.
Pascual is looking for members to help research the Canadian methods and results in order to determine if they offer guidelines for our community as an initial phase of the project. Expertise or experience in community development, economics, affordable housing, early childhood, affordable childcare, transportation all welcome.
It is important to note that the models used in Canada had the goal, not of “helping the poor or having better poor”, but of strengthen communities to have fewer poor. And all began with engagement and input of those living in poverty, rather than the “top down” approach where the well-off provide the answers and run the show. That in itself is a breath of fresh air in Taos with its history of outside consultants and third party reports on how to vitalize the economy gathering dust on city and county shelves. While this approach may explain why the Canadian efforts were successful, it is clear that while doing so they also give hope and empower those who are too accustomed to not having a voice and begin to address the hopelessness and despair which are root causes of substance abuse, dropouts, suicides and violence which often accompany generational poverty.
To learn more or to join the group, contact Pascualito Maestas: firstname.lastname@example.org