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Washington, February 28, 2017 | comments

Congressman Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) took to the House floor to recognize the efforts of community leaders in South St. Petersburg to reduce the poverty rate 30 percent by the year 2020.  The 2020 Plan serves as a model for communities across the country.

Click here to view the Congressman's remarks in support of the 2020 Plan, and find his full statement for the record below and attached.

Statement of the Honorable Charlie Crist in Support of the 2020 Plan

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize an innovative effort in my hometown of St. Petersburg, Florida that’s empowering the community and changing lives.  Looking for new solutions to the chronic problem of poverty in the African American community, and spearheaded by local activist Gypsy Gallardo, a partnership between the Pinellas County Urban League, the City of St. Petersburg, and over 100 grassroots community organizations, known as the 2020 Plan, is already showing results.

The goal is simple and direct – reduce poverty by 30 percent in the South St. Petersburg community by 2020.  The Plan, focused on providing a hand-up, not just a hand-out, is holistic.  It connects all aspects of society; government, the business community, the non-profit sector, and concerned citizens, focusing on investment in economically distressed areas to generate jobs and revenue, career training and education to reduce barriers to employment, and providing the necessary social services to strengthen the family unit.  Since its inception two years ago, the Plan and its partners have raised $2.2 million through a combination of grants, private investment, and donations.

If the most recent Census data is indicative, The Plan is having a real impact.  In 2015, the poverty rate in this community dropped by 8.5 percent.  That’s compared to a 1.7 percent decline in Florida and a 1.6 percent decline nationally over the same period.

Mr. Speaker, I strongly support this effort, and couldn’t be more proud of my hometown.  The 2020 Plan underscores the power of community coming together to care for each other.  It is inspiring, and holds promise as a model for communities across the country.  I salute their leadership, and look forward to our working together in the years ahead to reach our goal.

Thank you, and God bless you.
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