By Emory Bryan, News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma – Millions of dollars is coming to Tulsa. It's to start new programs to fight poverty, based on what's proven to work. The idea is to duplicate successful anti-poverty programs in New York City.
It started with a government program to identify programs that work; that led to private donors getting interested and all that has trickled down to Tulsa.
The Tulsa Community Foundation won the competition for grant money, that they will double, then award to non-profit groups to start new programs.
"We received three of the five programs offered and the only other city to receive three was New York City," Phil Lakin, Tulsa Community Foundation, said.
The programs, funded through New York's Social Innovation Fund, are Jobs Plus, which helps people in public housing find work so they can support themselves, Work Advance, which helps the unemployed and underemployed find better jobs, and Save USA, a 50 percent savings match to help encourage poor people to start saving.
Mayor Bartlett says 1 in 5 Tulsans have so little money they're below the poverty line.
"That's a lot of people, 20 percent is a considerable number of people and I think most Tulsans wouldn't realize that it's such a problem," he said.
The new effort won't cost city government anything. Locally, it's all private money from The Tulsa Community Foundation, which focuses on helping break the cycle of poverty in families.
"We went up and did site visits and assured ourselves that these programs were significantly different enough from what we were offering in Tulsa and we were satisfied they were and they could be of help to people in Tulsa who are under the poverty line those who are underemployed," Lakin said.
The non-profits which want to run these programs have to apply for the money and some already have. The organizations giving out the money haven't decided yet how much it will be, but are committed to paying for these programs for five years to give them time to work.