Mauricio Lim Miller’s new approach to ending poverty in America

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Mauricio Lim Miller Mauricio Lim Miller

In the last five decades, the success stories in the American war on poverty have been few and far between.  The latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that 15% of Americans – roughly 46.5 million people – live at or below the poverty line.  That percentage is roughly the same as it was back in 1983.

The current U.S. president, Barack Obama, is re-igniting the effort to end poverty in the United States.  But does the war on poverty require new weapons? Full Frame Newsmaker, Mauricio Lim Miller, thinks so.

Full Frame Newsmaker: Mauricio Lim Miller’s New Approach to Ending Poverty in America

Full Frame Newsmaker: Mauricio Lim Miller’s New Approach to Ending Poverty in America

In the last five decades, the success stories in the American war on poverty have been few and far between. The latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that 15% of Americans - roughly 46.5 million people – live at or below the poverty line. That percentage is roughly the same as it was back in 1983. The current U.S. president, Barack Obama, is re-igniting the effort to end poverty in the United States. But does the war on poverty require new weapons? Full Frame Newsmaker, Mauricio Lim Miller, thinks so.
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“I think the biggest thing we’ve accomplished is to make living in poverty a little bit more tolerable,” Lim Miller told CCTV’s Mile Walter. “But I don’t know if that’s actually what America should be about.”

Lim Miller’s solution to finally winning the war on poverty in the United States focuses on empowering individuals and communities – not politicians or social workers – to lead the way.

“As we’ve tracked families for the last 13 years, programs and services play maybe a 10% role in [their] life,” Lim Miller said. “We’ve thrown 50 years of our revenues into programs. Ten percent of your life doesn’t change everything.”

Mauricio Lim Miller is a Macarthur Genius Fellow.  He was appointed by President Obama to the White House Council for Community Solutions.  He is also the founder and C.E.O. of the Family Independence Initiative.  For two decades, Lim Miller also led government anti-poverty initiatives in California. He soon realized these programs were not leading to effective results and set out to prove that the change needed to come from within the communities struggling with poverty.

His innovative approach to helping families break the cycle of poverty is gaining traction and seeing results that have eluded government agencies and other social welfare organizations for decades. For Lim Miller, however, the fight against poverty is also a fight to protect the “American Dream” for generations to come.

“There is a world in America where if you’re in that other world, there are opportunities where if you do work hard, you can succeed,” Lim Miller said. “The trouble is that if you’re at the bottom of the economic ladder, that world is not accessible at this point.”