​​Hope for the Future!
By Dr. Melissa Cadet, Executive Director

Many factors keep people out of the workforce: discrimination, disability, generational

poverty and homelessness.  Despite the cause, gainful employment is the key to economic

self-sufficiency.  It helps people keep a roof over their heads, nurture their families

and pursue happiness—rights promised by our Constitution and Declaration of

Independence centuries ago.  Yet, pockets of poverty and disparities exist in the 21st

century—particularly in Marin County, one of the richest counties in the United States

with the greatest disparities.  Why?

According to the Wall Street Journal, poverty is largely defined as being unable to afford a minimum standard of living (October 1, 2018). Hope spirals when a jobless man or woman trains for and secures a living wage job.  Hope floats when an injured veteran or person suffering from bipolar disorder gets a meaningful place in society honoring and using their skills.   Hope soars when pathways to employment for those impacted by adversity become permanent and lead to successful careers and financial stability. Health, employment and mental health are economic issues.

Yet supported employment programs are rare, insufficiently funded, and overlooked according to the Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center in New Hampshire.  Unlike medication and Medi-Cal, there is no central funding source for employment support and affordable housing.  But, the Marin City Community Development Corporation has provided such services to needy populations for the past 40 years.  We need your help to sustain these programs—to provide hope and plans for the future of those seeking bridges out of poverty and recovering from mental illness.

Work is critical to identity, to dignity and self-sufficiency.  About two-thirds of the $444 billion cost of mental illness in the USA comes from lost earnings and disability payments according to the Director of the National Institute of Mental Health.  Nearly half of those receiving federal disability income have a mental illness—diagnosed or not—ranging from depression to schizophrenia.  Supported employment services, like those provided by MCCDC, cost little but yield significant results by reducing the cost of future treatment and unemployment.  They prevent crime and despair by helping people to overcome roadblocks and setbacks on the road to recovery, meaningful work, and financial stability. They increase job retention.

The chart below shows how chronic poverty has affected Marin City residents from 1980 through 2013. Become a powerful part of the solution by helping us to provide pathways out of poverty and remove barriers to success in Marin County. Help us by supporting equity for all—equity for you and me (EYOME)—by building permanent bridges out of poverty and despair. Marin County is greatest when equity prevails for all!

Source:  U. S. Bureau of the Census, Median Incomes, 2013

Note: The ACS 1-year survey shows that the median family income for California was $82,009 in 2017. Compared to the median US family income, California median family income is $8,118 higher.