UW News

May 3, 2017

UW School of Social Work to host May 9 event ‘How Shifting Federal Priorities Impact the Poor’

UW News

For social service agencies, pinning down funding is par for the course.

But there is heightened interest in the new administration’s priorities, and whether services to the poor will be among them.

That lack of certainty — and a need to share information — prompted the University of Washington School of Social Work and the West Coast Poverty Center to host a panel discussion with local agency representatives at 5 p.m. May 9 at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute, 104 17th Ave. S., Seattle.

The event is free and open to the public.

“It’s about sharing information and understanding impact,” said Jennifer Romich, an associate professor in the School of Social Work and director of the West Coast Poverty Center. “To do our work effectively, we need to understand the changes in the policy environment and consider how the lives of our constituents may change.”Poverty Panel image

On the panel are Social Work faculty members Gunnar Almgren and William Vesneski, along with Gordon McHenry, Jr., president and chief executive officer of Solid Ground; Nicole Keenan, executive director of the Fair Work Center; Andrew Lofton, executive director of the Seattle Housing Authority; and Aiko Schaefer, a leader of Front and Centered (formerly Communities of Color for Climate Justice).

The work of these groups, combined with the research and involvement of the UW, Romich said, thread together all of the issues faced by Seattle’s poor: having a good job and a place to live; help with food and transportation; clean air to breathe; and safe places for children to play.

All of those needs could be impacted by federal policy changes or budgetary decisions. While little is known now, Romich said, facilitating a discussion is helpful. And opening it up to the public brings forward issues that might otherwise surface only in professional networks.

“How we treat the poor is a bellwether for how we treat all of society,” Romich said. “If you’re concerned about how the world is shifting, this is an opportunity to hear from knowledgeable folks and explore the topic.”

Space for the event is limited, so registration is required. Sign up here.