FACA will host symposium to address poverty


On Oct. 14, experts will join elected officials from across the state of Florida to address poverty in the United States. The Florida Association for Community Action will host the poverty symposium at Florida A&M’s Lee Hall Auditorium from 6 to 9 p.m.

The main goal of the symposium is to make state officials aware of the poverty issues in Florida and challenge officials to produce an agenda with the goal of reducing the effects of poverty for Floridians. FACA’s long-term goal of the symposium is the creation of Florida Council on Poverty with an appointed board of directors to produce a comprehensive strategy for poverty reduction in Florida across all Florida government agencies.

Executive Director for the Northeast Florida Community Action Agency, John Edwards, said the state of the economy is a huge driver to recent poverty statistics.

“The unemployment rate is very high over the past several years,” said Edwards. “The collapse of the housing industry and the financial industry have been devastating on the American people thereby creating a new face of poverty we have not seen in the past 30 years. Many middle class people find themselves in poverty conditional today.”

This year will be FACA’s first time hosting the symposium but the organization has reached out to the community in the past

“Each year FACA hosts Community Action Day at the capitol in Tallahassee and invites the participation by the Florida Department of Community Affairs and the 29 or 30 agencies in the Florida Community Network,” said Wilma McKay, executive director for the FACA.  “Appointments are scheduled for visits with all legislators to educate them on poverty in the local communities and what the agencies are doing to attack and eliminate it. FACA also goes to Washington, DC each year to march to visit the Florida delegation and share similar information.”

FAMU student organizations as well as community leaders have also been invited to discuss recent statistics published by the U.S. Census Bureau that states one in seven Americans are currently living in poverty. This represents that 14.3 percent were in poverty last year, rising from 13.2 percent in 2008.

“Poverty affects us all, including college students, some of whom are from families who live in poverty today,” said Edwards. “Additionally, prospective college students also are affected by poverty conditions and many times students do not attend college because of this condition. It is also an opportunity for current college students to embrace this condition and to find ways to generate change.”

Rick Flagg of the Florida News Network will facilitate the symposium and Prodigy public relations firm will usher the event.

“FACA and its membership have and continue to reach out to the public in a variety of ways such as having a strong relationship with the Florida News Network, producing annual reports, appearing on radio and television talk shows and various articles in newspapers around the state about poverty issues and program successes of people getting out of poverty,” Edwards said.

Faculty Advisor for Prodigy public relations firm, Gina Kinchlow, was thrilled to have FACA as a client.

“Ron Sachs Communications asked Prodigy to take FACA as a client because they weren’t able to assign anyone the account,” said Kinchlow. “It speaks to the caliber, and quality of Prodigy PR associates when an award winning company trusts us with a client.”

For more information on the poverty symposium and FACA please visit www.faca.org.