Civic Engagement

Civic Engagement Program

In a vibrant city like Charlotte, it’s easy to overlook the fact that many are suffering amid affluence. Our Civic Engagement Program increases awareness of the complex issues facing more than 100,000 neighbors living in poverty.

Even families whose income is twice the Federal Poverty Level struggle to afford safe housing, reliable transportation, child care, utilities, food, and other necessities. An unexpected event such as an illness or job loss can send an accomplished person into a downward financial spiral.

More than 100,000 of our neighbors live in poverty. 

Empowering Advocates

The Civic Engagement Program engages and empowers the community to be advocates for people facing poverty by:

  • Increasing awareness of the complex issues that make it challenging for some neighbors to make ends meet
  • Encouraging community dialogue and participation in removing barriers to financial security
  • Changing attitudes and policies that create barriers to economic mobility

The most powerful advocates are customers themselves. We provide training to highly motivated individuals interested in sharing their story and effecting positive change for others living in poverty.

Poverty Simulations

Since 2008, Crisis Assistance Ministry has been the local lead facilitator of the Community Action Poverty Simulation (CAPS), a two-hour interactive, immersive experience designed to create awareness among participants of life at the bottom rung of the economic ladder.  The simulation presents participants with real-life scenarios and challenges faced by people living in poverty and is immediately followed by a group debrief, during which participants reflect on the experience, discuss insights, and consider next steps.

Poverty Awareness Helps Medical Providers See Beyond the Examining Room

This year, over 200 Atrium Health staff and medical students have participated in virtual poverty awareness experiences with Crisis Assistance Ministry. The sessions are part of an ongoing partnership between Atrium and Crisis Assistance Ministry that aims to sensitize healthcare providers to the challenges their patients may face outside the walls of the examining room.

Read More

National Voter Registration Day

Crisis Assistance Ministry teamed up with the League of Women Voters to observe National Voter Registration Day. Held on the fourth Tuesday of September each year, the day is designed to celebrate democracy and highlight the importance of voting. 

Read More

Transportation Equity: The Often-Forgotten Aspect of Poverty

When you think about poverty, transportation is probably not the first issue that comes to mind. But having a reliable and affordable means of getting around town is fundamental to accessing vital resources.

Read More

Eviction: Know Your Rights

Being served with a summons to eviction court is panic inducing. If you or someone you know receives court papers like the one below, the best advice is to stay calm, learn the process, and know your rights.

Read More

Food for Thought: How Recalculating the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Benefits Us All

Americans who struggle to afford healthy food for their families will soon receive a much-needed boost. In a historic move, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has recalculated how Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits are determined. As a result, the average SNAP recipient will see an increase of $36.24 per person per month, beginning on October 1, 2021. 

Read More

August Is Voter History Month

It’s August, the month traditionally associated with the end of summer and back-to-school activities. But did you know that August is also noteworthy for its pivotal role in the history of voting rights in the United States?

Read More

2040 Comprehensive Plan Builds Equity into Charlotte’s Growth

The 2040 Comprehensive Plan creates an opportunity to build equity into Charlotte’s future growth. It begins with a recognition of the history of redlining and urban renewal that exacerbated racial disparities and creates a roadmap to ensure that all residents have access to the benefits of our city’s expansion.

Read More

The Racial Wealth Gap: Where COVID-19 Meets the Lasting Impact of Racism

More than a year into the pandemic that continues to devastate families and economies worldwide, it is painfully evident that the suffering is not equally distributed. The starkly different experiences of Black Americans compared to white Americans highlight the legacy of racism and systemic segregation in the United States.

Read More

Financial Capability Month

April is National Financial Capability Month, highlighting the importance of financial education in supporting American families as they strive for prosperity and the resilience to weather unexpected setbacks.

Read More

How the American Rescue Plan of 2021 Could Transform Poverty

For the hardworking families served at Crisis Assistance Ministry, and millions of others like them across the country, the American Rescue Plan of 2021 has the potential to be life changing.

Read More

Free Tax Preparation

Local taxpayers can get their tax returns prepared for free with Community Link as part of the IRS’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Any household earning less than $57,000 qualifies for the service.

Read More

How Will Biden’s First Ten Days Affect Working Families?

In his first ten days in office, President Joe Biden signed a flurry of legal actions. All the president’s orders are consequential, but some will have a direct impact on the hardworking families that are served daily at Crisis Assistance Ministry.

Read More