Press Releases

New PPI Report Proposes Utilizing Technologies to Reduce Poverty

By / 12.13.2016

Uber, NYC Human Resources Administration, United Way of NYC, and Hunger Free America Join PPI to Promote New Report

NEW YORK CITY—The Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) today was joined by technology, government, and anti-poverty leaders at a public event to release a new report by Hunger Free America CEO Joel Berg, Fighting Poverty with HOPE. The report proposes that federal, state, and local government agencies forge partnerships with the technology industry and nonprofit groups to create online HOPE (Health, Opportunity, and Personal Empowerment) accounts and action plans.

HOPE accounts would combine improved technology, streamlined case management, and coordinated access to multiple to federal, state, city, and nonprofit programs that already exist. The accounts would enable families to use any smart device or computer to learn about the public and philanthropic programs for which they are eligible—including aid to improve health, nutrition, job training and placement, housing, income, etc.—and then apply for all of these programs at once from the convenience of their device, drastically reducing the opportunity costs of low-income Americans seeking social services. Such accounts would also be able to include any private savings that people are able to accrue.

The proposal includes the option of partnering more in depth with government and nonprofit organizations by voluntarily agreeing to long-term HOPE action plans that will provide more aid and then specify exactly how all parties will work together to help the families earn, learn, and save better to ensure greater economic opportunity.

“The only thing low-income people have less of than money, is time,” said Joel Berg. “The new HOPE technology partnership would streamline multiple government and nonprofit safety net programs all into one user-friendly device, allowing low income individuals to fill out one application, rather than wait in line for hours at up multiple government and nonprofit assistance offices. Tangible hope is the world’s most powerful motivator. Surely the Right, the Left, and everyone in between can all agree on making hope a reality again.”

“U.S. social programs too often force low-income Americans to run a bureaucratic gauntlet to get the help they need to climb out of poverty,” said Will Marshall, President of the Progressive Policy Institute. “Joel Berg’s new report for PPI illustrates how we can harness smart phones and the Internet to bring anti-poverty policy into the 21st Century in a way that should appeal to people on both sides of the partisan divide.”

“So many families in New York City that find themselves struggling to make ends meet have at least one working adult,” said Nicole Gallant, Senior Vice President and Chief Impact Officer, United Way of New York City. “It’s our aspiration that this new HOPE technology, will make benefit sign-up easier for these families and thereby increase access and their ability to move along the path to self-sufficiency.”

At today’s event was Steven Banks, Commissioner, NYC Department of Social Services, who demonstrated his support of the report in an effort to decrease poverty in New York City. Also showing his support of the proposed technology plan was Josh Mohrer, the General Manager of Uber NY. Nicole Gallant, Senior Vice President & Chief Impact Officer, United Way of New York City, Will Marshall, President, Progressive Policy Institute, and Natosha Mccray, Food Action Board Member, Hunger Free America also spoke on the panel about the importance of this technology plan to help low-income Americans get out, and stay out, of poverty.