Advocates from around the nation will meet on March 28, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. at the Washington Convention Center to create a dialogue between people experiencing poverty and those who want to help.
“Sometimes people who are not in poverty don’t know how to connect, so people in poverty think that they don’t want to,” A Wider Circle Founder and Executive Director Dr. Mark Bergel said.
The local nonprofit provides job preparedness training, mental health workshops, pregnancy workshops, seasonal veteran’s day programs and a myriad of other social and economic programs to help break the cycle of poverty.
A Wider Circle is hosting the National Conference on Ending Poverty.
“The fact is that all the people in the homelessness arena talk about ending homelessness, but we will never end homelessness unless we end poverty because homelessness is caused by living in poverty,” Michael Stoops, director of community organizing for the National Coalition for the Homeless, told Street Sense.
Unlike some homelessness conventions, the National Conference on Ending Poverty will have participants who are actually experiencing homelessness and living in poverty. Their voice is seen by conference organizers as crucial to take action.
According to Stoops, young people from middle school through college and people who are or have experienced homelessness must join forces.
“Those two groups of people working together can be a dynamic, idealistic force to end poverty,” Stoops said. “Unless we attack the root causes of homelessness and poverty in this country we will continue to be volunteering at soup kitchens and shelters 40 years from now.”
The conference will include speakers from non-profits located in all corners of the country. Organizations range from Community Safety Partnership in Los Angeles to Roc the Future in Rochester, New York. Local nonprofits, including So Others Might Eat, D.C. Central Kitchen, Bread for the City and many more, will also attend.
People can register for the Conference online at www.aWiderCircle.org/ncep or at the door on the day of the event. Although there is a registration fee, anyone can waive it by choosing a scholarship fee when they sign up.
“We don’t want to make money, we want to create change,” Bergel said.