To address adult poverty, End Poverty Durham has established the Durham Economic Resource Center (DERC) which is modeled after a component of the award winning Welfare Reform Liaison Program (WRLP) in Greensboro, NC. The WRLP is noted for producing results. During the first year at work, 7% of graduates reported earning $15,000 or more, increasing to 17% for the secon year, and 30% by the fourth year. By the fourth year, 22% of those reporting earned over $20,000 (Successes, WRLP 2007).
Resource Program. The Center provides discounted products to member non-profit and faith–based organizations to alleviate basic needs among the poor, ill, and elderly by using products from the International Gifts In Kind Program. This will stretch the resources of Durham’s low-income residents by providing products at a discount that ordinarily they must purchase at full cost. Low-income residents are then able to use their limited cash to purchase other basic needs.
Community Resource & Action Program. The Center fosters and brokers strategic partnerships among FBOs, CBOs, and businesses, as well as public and private organizations to help address the root causes of poverty. The Center promotes strategies that are both place-based (in neighborhoods) as well as need-based (for specific populations such as former felons).
Workforce Training and Development. Surplus products are used to establish a simulated workplace, a distribution warehouse and work-site where chronically unemployed and “hard-to-employ” individuals receive supervised on-the-job training and support services and follow-up. Specific components of the training program will be designed based on workforce needs of the Durham business community, and on the assets and challenges of the targeted training population needing employment.