A Poverty Reduction Lab is not a building — it is a coordinated community effort to examine and improve social services so more and more families can escape poverty.
Right now, communities tend to “manage” poverty. Under a poverty management system, rates remain unchanged or might increase. But when communities shift to a mindset of reducing poverty, the cycle of generational poverty is disrupted, families become self-sufficient, and the entire community experiences revitalization resulting from decreased spending on social services, a stronger tax base, and increased economic development.
Some communities that are familiar with the Circles USA model want to move beyond a Circles chapter, establishing a Poverty Reduction Lab, which will map out and analyze all of the social service programs in their community. Most often, such an analysis has never been completed in their community due to the complexity of public benefit requirements and processes. Studying your community can reveal enormous insights. The goal of a Poverty Reduction Lab is to identify and then develop more-effective ways to move families in a community into self-sufficiency.