On Sept. 17, 2013, we welcomed Alan Berube, co-author of Confronting Suburban Poverty in America and senior fellow and deputy director at the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, D.C.
In Confronting Suburban Poverty in America, Berube and co-author Elizabeth Kneebone take on the new reality of metropolitan poverty and opportunity in America. For decades, suburbs added poor residents at a faster pace than cities, so that suburbia is now home to more poor residents than central cities. That’s also the case in the Sacramento metro area. Yet the antipoverty infrastructure built over the past several decades does not fit this rapidly changing geography.
The event included a panel discussion with local leaders, who shared their ideas about how best to confront suburban poverty in the Sacramento Region. Facilitated by Beth Ruyak, host of Capital Public Radio’s Insight program, the panel included Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, Ph.D., director of the UC Davis Center for Reducing Health Disparities; Olivia Kasirye, M.D., Sacramento County health officer; Jonathan London, director of the UC Davis Center for Regional Change; Charles Mason, Jr., president and CEO of Ubuntu Green; and Mike McKeever, CEO of Sacramento Area Council of Governments.
Action ideas offered by the local leaders included raising awareness about suburban poverty and working to eliminate stigmas about poverty, connecting transportation to affordable housing and jobs, creating forums to bring diverse constituencies together to share their stories and find solutions, changing exclusionary practices to inclusionary practices, increasing community engagement to find out what residents want to change and then finding the resources to make it happen.