A Plan to Meet the Moment: The 10-year Plan to Dismantle Poverty is Here

PRWG is thrilled to share the culmination of three years of work with you — A Blueprint for a Just & Equitable Future: The 10-Year Plan to Dismantle Poverty.

A Plan to Meet the Moment

“I think the greatest opportunity we have is to build understanding about our experiences and design a system together that is based in reality and believes we can be successful.” ~ PRWG Steering Committee member

Prior to the current economic downturn, there were 1.75 million Washingtonians – including over 500,000 children – with incomes below 200% of the federal poverty level ($43,440 for a family of three) – enough to fill 25 stadiums the size of Lumen Field. Rising unemployment in the wake of COVID-19 is making it harder for even more people to make ends meet, as well as deepening the experience of poverty for those disproportionately affected. When so many people fall through the cracks of an unstable and inherently unequal system, we fail to live up to our full potential as a state.

We are fortunate to have a 10-Year Plan to meet this challenging moment, and lay a foundation for a just and equitable future in which all Washingtonians can reach their full potential. PRWG grounded the process of developing the plan in two main principles: (1) a commitment to achieving racial equity; and (2) following the leadership and expertise of people most impacted by poverty.

To uphold these principles, the work group enlisted the support of a racial equity consultant and tools to guide the development of the strategies and recommendations, and created a Steering Committee of people experiencing poverty to set priorities for the work group and have the authority to approve the plan.

The result is eight strategies and 60 recommendations designed to mitigate the experience of poverty and prevent it from occurring altogether, ultimately aimed at one bold and completely achievable goal: to ensure all children, adults, and families in Washington state have their foundational needs met, and the opportunities they need to reach their full potential.

Action and Accountability: How You Can Support the 10-Year Plan

“Please don’t forget that we are the people behind the numbers, the lives that will benefit should you choose to act.” ~ PRWG Steering Committee Co-Chairs

The 10-Year Plan to Dismantle Poverty has the potential to lead the nation in reducing poverty and inequality, but it is incumbent upon all of us to act. Systemic change becomes possible when we recognize the “system” is us – people working in state and local government, non-profits, businesses, and philanthropic entities working together to achieve a shared goal … so let’s get to work.

Below are five immediate actions any entity or individual or organization, in any sector, can take to discover ways you can contribute to building a just and equitable future and support the 10-Year Plan to Dismantle Poverty in Washington state.

Read this blog and the rest of our website to learn more about PRWG and the Steering Committee, hear from agency leadership on their support for the plan, and sign-up to stay connected to the work.
Read the full plan to review the full set of strategies and recommendations.
Use the Action Toolkit to identify ways you and your organization can contribute to implementation of the plan.
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to engage in the work and share our posts with your networks.
Invite the PRWG Steering Committee and members to your events to learn more about the plan from the people who led its development.
It will remain a living and breathing document, in need of support and collaboration to make Washington a state without poverty and injustice, and a place where all children, adults, and families can thrive.

If you have questions or feedback for our team, please email PRWG@dshs.wa.gov.

Comments (10)

  • Tanya Leverne Morris - January 14, 2021

    It’s about time, it is definitely a struggle for all the money the federal government is giving these entities that are suppose to be helping, but instead they hender us in a major way… Also you can never help someone overcome or change something that you have never experienced….

  • Malie Hidarnejad - January 14, 2021

    Fabulous program and a great step towards eliminating already at home and abroad. I believe mental health is the foundation for elimination of poverty internally and externally. Individual education, transformation and empowerment must be played in parallel with collective elimination of poverty and illnesses, and…

  • Jasmine - January 15, 2021

    I got goosebumps reading this! I have been trying to figure out the best way to support my family, staying in Washington or finally leaving the nest. Personally, not only is my family impoverished but I have had my family divided by the state, and my siblings adopted out, issues are generational so my kids have also been removed from my care, they are home now, but in hindsight why was all of that necessary. Do u know the kind of heart ache that comes from seeing your entire family be taken out by a system that works for everybody but you? Why are people of color expected to be so hollier than God himself? Our kids forced from enjoying their childhoods, they even expect our kids to be responsible little adults, and talk about their feelings when their lives are in disarray. Please make it all make sense. Bottom line if there are more efforts for keeping families together, there would in turn be more families staying together successfully.

  • Randy Grein - January 15, 2021

    Some good goals here. May I suggest another: restructure the inbalance between wealth income and wage income, something I learned about way back in university economics classes. Wage income is taxed heavier than wealth income (ownership) which allows those with real wealth to acquire more. Strategies like Capital Gains taxes and graduated income taxes reduced income inequality in the 30’s and 40’s. Reversing those tax decisions in the 80’s through now has also restored the income inequality of the Gilded Age.

    Alone this is not enough, of course. But without that tax decision we will be fighting each other over an ever-smaller piece of the pie, while a few thousand have all the rest.

  • Steve - January 16, 2021

    These look like Ideas, I do not see a plan or anything here telling us what it is exactly your going to do.

  • Allo Revolutia - January 16, 2021

    No comment on 1.
    2, The balance of power. Yes the poor should have a say too of course. As far as voting on stuff, both the rich and poor can be selfinterested. I think it best to listen to all sides and then, with full information, someone(s) with no ‘side they are pushing for’ design the course.
    3: Increase economic opportunity. I’m in the poorest place in washington according to a friend and there are all sorts of thieves around that steal each other’s stolen items with no wealth being brought in nor created. With only one, highly selective, farm job for miles. What needs to happen? This region to be targetted by a new company which starts here and offers work to those around while selling to those beyond this region so there is an influx of wealth? This then requires education and faster internet than the two satellite choices available. This place is far from anywhere service providers view as valuable. The area has no money. I find here that people are not educated enough to start businesses, nor do they have the money, and the lack of education also reduces the potential of the internet to acquire wealth digitally from elsewhere. The law here is simultaneously impotently 2hours away, and when a thief IS caught, it forces them to repeatedly go to court 2hours away and becomes a giant monthly fee keeping them in poverty even more ~while the court delays to the next and next and next. If anything, it makes them more desperate. What is the approach to bringing an area like this up to par? How do you bring in economic opportunity?
    I grew up in high class woodinville with microsofties and googlins all around and my schools didn’t have suicides, fights, hard drugs, theft. I didn’t encounter my first scary dog until i moved. So there IS a class issue which results in different classes being like different cultures. If you only went to nice school, listen to some of the stories from kids around here and realize they are talking about a different type of place, with different people with different norms. Similarly in high class areas ‘Howdy Neighbor’ is a good way to meet someone and not like showin weapons straight off the start. In povertyville not so. Alot of times meeting someone is them going Roar Of Jungle I Am This Strong!!!! and showin their weapons and stories of how they hurt people and in general their strength and why not to cross them nor steal their stuff. Different levels of class are different cultures. anyway meow
    4: lifespan care. good idea. dont leave anyone out. I would actually say yes plan for children, babies, adults, teens, elderly, female, male, othergenders, religions, preserving racial identities…
    5: prioritize the urgent(homeless,mentalhealth,medical).
    Prioritize the urgent. I think you are saying this, correct?
    Some aspects, like homeless ratio, are signs that a city or realm is below average or wounded in some area ~and that this needs to come up, the wound healed, first… before we start doing things on top. So I guess the next step is detailing where each wound area is? Mental Health, homelessness, something else. Then determine what’s subparly designed in each system. Then address each and solve each individually?

    6: Build a holistic continuum of care.
    Yeah not have any holes people fall out of where they just ploop into poverty.

    7: Decriminalize poverty.
    aye aye.
    So untie crime and poverty basically. See culture above tho. I believe alot of crime, such as thievery, is tied to income level. But the culture of poverty also has much more assault, drugs, and other crime issues not specifically due to income level as much as the culture. i think. agree?

    8: Prepare for the future of work
    Like automation and cryptocurrency?
    Pandemic Sturdiness? (like earthquakeproof buildings except the economy and pandemics)

  • Allo Revolutia - January 16, 2021

    Reading more of the site, so your goal is to come up with a plan that would solve poverty in washington state. way to aim ambitiously! Initial thoughts: keep money rotating between people within washington while coming in from outside. You should have more locally run business then instead of people working for big businesses and siphoning value into the banks of faraway corporate bigwigs. When someone poor gets a job at mcdonalds, the real wealth isn’t going to the person nor community ~it goes to mcdonalds. So you gotta address where wealth is going imo. Map it out and make sure there are no massive leaks. Really you should get half washington and I get the other half and we race to zero poverty. Or let me try after you. Thanks!

  • Allo Revolutia - January 17, 2021

    Skimmed your actual thing. Grammar error on page 32 and your lgbtq bar graph displays a number incorrectly.

    It feels like an overall push to strengthen most forms of welfare, which isn’t bad of course. But the wealth is still draining from the people into the pockets of the the ace hardwares, walmarts, safeways, etc and then some tiny amount to the workers. The stated solution feels like washingtonians paying for increased welfare, while the wealth still gets sucked out. Guy pays 10$ to walmart. Worker gets 2$. All the racial and whatever else that is addressed by the plan makes workers more able to get the two dollars. But the wealth still for the most part travels from the poor to the rich. Which is still the poor getting effectively poorer.

    My rating of this plan is C+. Good effort. Feels like alot of addressing the multitude of little things related to poverty and pushing them each in a healthy direction. Though no concrete change to the system itself, which will then still cause poverty as it currently does.

  • Brad - January 29, 2021

    I grew up in a household that was just above the poverty level in much of my early years (Military). I didn’t steal to acquire the things we could not afford but rather was taught to work hard and carve my path so that someday, perhaps I could afford the nicer things in life. I have since built a successful career that spans over 45 years that employs hundreds of people. I pay them well and as much as I can while still being competitive in a commodity market so that the company continues to be successful and continues to provide jobs and benefits.

    People need to have opportunities presented to them. It is up to them to determine if they are willing to pursue them.

  • Bettina - September 19, 2021

    Incredible points. Sound arguments. Keep up the good work.

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