Strong social networks help to eliminate barriers to economic opportunity – Urban Specialists
Urban Social Capital
September 23, 2018
September 13, 2018


Circles USA and Open Table aims to boost the social capital of individuals in order to help them work toward self-sufficiency.

President Trump’s Executive Order on Reducing Poverty in America by Promoting Opportunity and Economic Mobility and HHS’s strategic plan both promote the value of strong social networks as a way to help people sustainably escape poverty. Simply put: It’s not always what you know, it’s who you know. Many organizations across the country are finding ways to support strong social networks to eliminate barriers to economic opportunity.

For example, the nationwide initiative Circles USA - PDF aims to combat poverty through the use of social capital - PDF by creating opportunities for vulnerable individuals to form more peer relationships as well as linking them to "allies" in the community that provide new networks of connections to help them overcome barriers to success and economic opportunity.

To eliminate barriers to economic opportunity, as HHS aims to help individuals and communities do, Circles USA describes its model as having three stages: crisis management and stabilization; education and job placement; and retention, advancement and economic stability. The program connects participants, called “Circle leaders,” with trained community volunteers, called “allies,” to create a plan to help participants exit poverty.


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