Lakeshore News Tonight

IUN Chancellor’s Commission Looks for Answers to Community Challenges

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October 31, 2013 — A commission at Indiana University Northwest says poverty is directly related to personal economic growth in Northwest Indiana.  The commission is brainstorming about resources to help Hoosiers in need.

One in three families in East Chicago lives in poverty;  that statistic was part of the Chancellor’s Commission for Community Engagement at Indiana University Northwest yesterday.  It wants local leaders to know pockets of deep poverty affect all of Northwest Indiana.

Community officials and economy experts met to discuss a 2012 quality of life indicator’s report, authored by Dr. Surekha Rao, “Basically, no public policy discussion can continue without taking into account the huge poverty rates, high poverty rates that we have right now.”

Her report shows little improvement has occurred in economic disparities in the last decade,”You can have several policies, but unless you reach out to the poor people, we will not succeed.”

IUN Chancellor William Lowe says the meeting is a bridge, an effort to bring resources from the university to the community, “The chancellor’s commission is a good example of making sure that the community knows that we have resources available, but also we want to hear from them and engage them in the kind of conversations to co-create solutions for the future.”

So, civic leaders grabbed a pen and paper to brainstorm ways to keep poverty concerns in mind when communities consider jobs and growth.  Chancellor Lowe says, “Good academic methods and research produce the information; the information helps to inform the community about how to produce its future.”

Leaders hope the ideas will move from paper to progress for local residents. Experts from the commission say they hope the research presented will inform groups looking to revitalize the area, such as the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission.

By Hilary Powell


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