1432 Fulton St.
Fresno, CA 93721
The war on poverty has been raging for a half century, but it can be hard to see much progress in Fresno. The city’s homeless and poverty rates rank among the nation’s worst, and various studies cite dismal statistics when it comes to unemployment, rising inequality, and a “brain drain” that’s resulted in a dearth of educated young professionals. But there is good news, too: The city has committed to ending chronic homelessness this year. Innovative social programs are experimenting with new models for how to get people off welfare and public assistance. Nonprofits are embarking on creative collaborations to address big problems together. And a number of entrepreneurs are betting on Fresno as the site of California’s next tech hub. What policies, programs, and investments have succeeded in combating poverty in Fresno—and how can they be replicated? Can the city truly eradicate poverty? Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, Fresno Bridge Academy founder Pete Weber, Poverello House executive director Cruz Avila, and president of >Edit LLC Irma Olguin visit Zócalo to discuss whether the Fresno economy can reverse its fortunes—and if the city has a shot at becoming a model for struggling urban centers around America.
Photo courtesy of Great Valley Center.