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Social Service Group Seeks to Eliminate Local Poverty

The Elizabethtown HUB has been in existence for the past three years. It is an organization whose mission is to connect all the social service agencies in the Elizabethtown area. The EHUB came into existence due to funding received from Lancaster County United Way as part of their Collective Impact initiative. Collective Impact encourages collaboration and shared referrals among agencies so those in need can get help more easily. Collective Impact also helps to avoid duplication of services and allows agencies to be more effective while making efficient use of limited funds.

The EHUB is comprised of approximately 70 social service agencies, civic clubs, schools and interested individuals who believe in this vision: “Our community will be stronger when every member has his/her basic needs met, is healthy in every aspect of life, and is empowered to pursue their personal growth and goals.” The ultimate goal of the EHUB is to reduce poverty in individuals and families living in Elizabethtown by at least 50 percent by 2025, one of the Bold Goals of the Lancaster County United Way.

The EHUB is addressing poverty from several angles since poverty is multi-faceted and has many causes and effects. In Elizabethtown, 10.8 percent of the citizens live at or below poverty level and 30.8 percent of the students in the Elizabethtown Area School District receive free/reduced lunches. This past winter, the Elizabethtown Winter Shelter was fully occupied many nights and Elizabethtown Area School District reports a 533 percent increase in students receiving homeless services in the past 5 years. However, homelessness is merely one result of financial instability. The EHUB is also concerned about the number of youth who experience trauma due to living in poverty. According to “Teen Hope,” a survey administered to all ninth graders at Elizabethtown Area High School, 57 percent scored “at risk” for depression. EHUB is also addressing early education and medical needs. While regular pre-school attendance has been proven to provide resilience and protective factors for a child, the number of children enrolled in high quality preschool in Elizabethtown has dropped in the past few years because of the expense. Finally, although it is known that those in poverty often experience chronic health concerns, there is only one medical clinic within 22 miles that serves Medical Assistance patients.

The EHUB is addressing these problems by working collaboratively with many social service agencies in the Elizabethtown area.

The EHUB is focused on attacking the causes and effects of poverty, pre-natal through old-age. Many providers and individuals are working together to offer services that: povide food, shelter and clothing for those in need; educate individuals, as well as the community; address mental and physical health, substance abuse and addiction, and provide long-term support through counseling, job preparation and mentoring.

The EHUB encourages any citizen in Elizabethtown to get involved in this shared effort. The group meets the first Monday of each month at the Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren from noon to 1:30 p.m. Anyone interested in helping to eliminate poverty is welcome. Interested individuals are encouraged to attend a meeting or to contact the EHUB at elizabethtownhub@gmail.com.

Those who want to help can also look for EHUB to be in attendance at community events such as May 11 Second Friday (at ECHOS) and June 2 at Arts in the Park.

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