​Poverty on the Palouse

In November of 2010, Mayor Nancy Chaney was approached by Steve Bonnar, Executive Director for Sojourners Alliance, who asked to make a presentation to the City Council about increased demands on the homeless shelter. At the same time, others expressed concern about food insecurity, health care costs, and diminishing benefits. Recognizing that the extent of the need wouldn't be understood without daylighting it, and that the broader subject of poverty would require a coalition effort, the Mayor convened a public meeting to discuss it. There was an overwhelming interest in the community from those who both understand and work with the impoverished of our area and those who simply wanted to help and more than 40 citizens joined together for a Poverty on the Palouse (POP) forum, held on December 15, 2010.

Since that time issues discussed have included the compelling case for the depth and breadth of the problem, the group's organizational structure, how to improving communication to improve access, enhance public awareness, increase efficiency, and minimize unnecessary duplication of services. In February of 2011, a working matrix of gaps and needs was developed. Following that, in April of 2011, an advisory board was created to allow further work of the Poverty on the Palouse group addressing the gaps and needs previously defined.

Since that time, the POP Advisory Board traveled to Lewiston, Idaho to tour a Family Promises Facility Tour on June 28, 2011 to consider it for a model of Moscow. In addition, the Moscow League of Women Voters selected poverty as the focus of a yearlong study. The League has a considerable interest in the area of advocacy and has worked with the Poverty on the Palouse Advisory Panel and working group to develop a Poverty Report (included on the right side of this page).

The group will continue to investigate these issues and implement options. For more information on the Poverty on the Palouse Forum series, please contact Jen Pfiffner, Assistant to the City Supervisor by email at jpfiffner@ci.moscow.id.us or by phone at 208.883.7123.