Partners for a Prosperous Athens, which has spent more than a year studying poverty in Athens, will hold a community meeting March 19 to present recommendations for reducing the city’s high poverty rate. The meeting will be at the Classic Center from 7–9 p.m.
The meeting will conclude the first phase of PPA’s work and set the stage for the next phase, which would be under the auspices of a proposed new organization charged with overseeing implementation of the PPA recommendations.
PPA is encouraging citizens to attend the meeting to hear and react to the recommendations.
Refreshments will be provided, there will be free child care for children 3 and older, free parking at the Classic Center, and rides on Athens Transit buses will be free for the evening.
UGA is one of five organizations, called co-convenors, that created PPA in January 2006 to determine what can be done to lower Athens’ 28 percent poverty rate, one of the highest in Georgia.
The other co-convenors are the Athens-Clarke County government, the Clarke County School System, the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce and Family Connection.
Faculty and staff in UGA’s Fanning Center provide primary administrative and personnel support for PPA. Many faculty, staff and students have participated in PPA by attending community meetings and serving on committees that examined poverty-related issues such as education, housing, health care, transportation, the local economy and the local work force.
President Michael F. Adams said UGA is committed to helping PPA succeed.
“Reducing poverty, strengthening the economy and improving quality of life in Athens will obviously help the university as we seek to enroll the best students and recruit top faculty and staff,” said Adams.
“We encourage university employees and students to continue supporting PPA in working for the betterment of the entire community,” he added.
The recommendations to be presented March 19 were gleaned by the PPA steering committee from scores of ideas and suggestions generated by the study committees.
One recommendation is to create a successor organization to PPA called OneAthens that would take the leadership in implementing the recommendations.
Other recommendations deal with creating regional economic development and transportation programs, health care funding, new approaches to education, providing affordable housing and preventing teen pregnancy.