An essential component of the Purpose Built approach to ending intergenerational poverty is a focus on early childhood education. Most of the resources and formal interventions dedicated to preparing children for school don’t start until age four. And while pre-kindergarten is critical, the science is clear: life outcomes are best for children when education starts as close to birth as possible.
Just about every distressed urban neighborhood in America was once a healthy, thriving place; many the center of African American commerce and society. And almost every one of them had a highway built through the middle of it. It is just one of a series of mal-intended public policies that combined to engineer the distressed urban neighborhoods we now confront.
Intergenerational urban poverty is intrinsically linked to place, and more precisely, to neighborhoods. We have learned is that poverty is effectively an inheritable attribute transmitted via ZIP Code.
Public and private interventions over the past half century have helped to alleviate the effects of poverty, but they have done too little to address its root causes.
Perhaps the most important lesson for us over these past ten years is that if we want to permanently eliminate intergenerational poverty, we need to address the root causes of the problem.