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Wash. CU leads charge against poverty with 'Life on the Edge'
BREMERTON, Wash. (3/6/14)--A Washington-based credit union is about to take the next step in its community-focused fight against poverty.
 
In less than a week, Kitsap CU, Bremerton, Wash., will host the second installment of its program "Life on the Edge," which addresses local poverty ( Anthem March 4).
 
The first event, held in May 2012, brought poverty into the light for individual community members by simulating real-life examples of problems that the impoverished face every day.  
 
"People left the event more compassionate, ready to listen first, to gain more understanding," said Cathy Brorson, Kitsap CU's outreach coordinator . Brorson spearheads the project for the $961 million-asset credit union.  
 
This second all-day event, scheduled for Wednesday, will dig deeper into the area's issues with poverty. Those in attendance will be asked to identify priorities and think about programs that could "sustain change."
 
"For example, how do we successfully marry the structure of regulation with the precarious, emotional needs of someone in poverty at a moment of crisis?" Brorson said in a Q&A with Anthem.
 
Brorson plans to package the input and ideas into a report, which she hopes will help guide the direction of the locally sponsored Poverty Alleviation Project. The project will invest $1 million into the community's effort to fight poverty.
 
The event also will feature a "State of Housing" address given by Kitsap County Commissioner Linda Streissguth, a resource fair and a panel discussion centered on issues those entrenched in poverty often face.
 
About 9% of residents in Kitsap County and 19% of Bremerton residents live in poverty. Last year, 4.5% of Bremerton School District students were considered homeless.


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