Grassroots coalition committed to reducing poverty hold public forum

Posted at 5:04 AM, Apr 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-07 06:04:29-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A coalition of nearly 20 Nashville non-profit organizations held a public forum called "Work, Wages and the Future of Nashville."

The free forum was held on Saturday at TSU's Avon Williams Campus Auditorium.

Panelists and attendees raised awareness about the struggles low-income residents are experiencing and the trends in wages, employment and livability in Nashville.

"Our city is on the rise and we're all proud of it. I'm proud to show it off but the other reality is we spend most of our time on economic development and not enough on people development," forum coordinator Avi Poster said.

Panelists said Nashville's archaic governmental policies are preventing people from getting employed and more needs to be done. Poster said to live comfortably in the "IT city" you need to make $70,000 but many live on the minimum wage of $7.25.

"When we now go into restaurants, when we now go into other places where we receive services, we no longer see teenagers trying to work their way into high school. We see adults trying to support a family," Poster said.

Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Ashford Hughes said Mayor David Briley is working to change the economic gap and affordable housing crisis in the city.

Hughes said the city is also working to provide job training to residents in low income communities like North Nashville, Madison and the Nolensville Road corridor.

National data shows the bottom 80 percent of wage distribution has suffered from wage stagnation and declining shares of national wealth over the last three decades.

Another wage and poverty forum will take place Tuesday, April 23rd at the Martha O'Bryan Center in Nashville. The event starts at 6 p.m.