Lack of well-paying jobs fuels generational poverty
I have been a resident of Altoona for my entire life — 30 years — and I have noticed a drastic change in the quality of life for all the members of our community.
The availability of decent paying jobs has diminished over time, eroding the foundation of the middle class. There are very little industrial or manufacturing jobs left.
Service-sector jobs have taken over the landscape of our city, leaving people with little choice or hope for providing for themselves and their families.
The most evident outcomes that I have witnessed is an increase in illegal substance abuse and crime in our neighborhoods.
When people are faced with financial hardships, it is not uncommon for those individuals to turn to drugs to dull their reality or for people to commit crimes, often for survival.
Unfortunately, children are the ones who are most negatively affected by the harsh realities of poverty.
As a result, they are more vulnerable to neglect and abuse, they receive a lower quality of education and their chances at economic mobility are severely impacted.
Most children raised in poverty will remain there for the rest of their lives, completing the cycle of generational despair.
As a community, we can do better for the future of our city.
We should be investing in the children of Altoona by granting them opportunities to thrive in their own town. I have seen schools offer each child a free breakfast and lunch, regardless of guardian economic standing, and I have also seen schools provide after-school programs to ensure each child was receiving the enrichment and safety that they deserved.
I ask why is Altoona not capable of mirroring this method?
If the budget cannot currently include such programs, why? Why cannot we spend the money where it matters and make an honest difference in our community?