A Wrap Around Poverty Intervention Model: Leveraging Social Capital Reduces Poverty
In 1964, the United States began to wage a war to end generational poverty using antipoverty policies and programs, with controversial results. The theory exists that wraparound (WA) poverty intervention programs are effective in helping participants develop relational assets (RA) and social capital (SC) to overcome the effects of poverty, yet few organizations are seeking solutions to chronic poverty using these methods. One such program is The Open Table (TOT). Their concept uses 6-9 mentors who meet weekly with a brother/sister for one year to help them identify and achieve their financial, educational, occupational, health and family goals. The Open Table refers to the person being helped as a brother or sister to ensure that everyone understands that this person is not a child to be parented or a client to be served as part of your job. He or she is someone with whom you are willing to be in relationship (OpenTable, 2019). The premise is that the brother/sister will learn to network and develop SC with their mentors and overcome poverty. TOT boasts a 97-98 percent graduation rate for participants to exit generational poverty (Katov, 2018).
Are wraparound poverty intervention programs effective in teaching necessary skills to equip individuals to escape poverty and stay out of poverty when a crisis occurs? To evaluate the effectiveness of a WA poverty intervention program in this context, the researcher conducted a qualitative study through interviews and surveys with individuals who graduated from a WA poverty intervention model and who later experienced a setback or crisis within two years from graduation. The goal was to understand participant experiences (capture their voice) and how the program taught them to use SC and RA to negotiate the crisis.