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Press Release: January 20, 2012

First Lady Cylvia Hayes outlines new Oregon Prosperity Initiative 

(Corvallis, OR) — At the 2012 Food Security Summit today, First Lady of Oregon Cylvia Hayes unveiled the Oregon Prosperity Initiative, an effort to attack poverty and restore the middle class in Oregon. Oregon has one of the highest rates of childhood hunger and homelessness in the nation, and failing to address hunger costs Oregonians $2.1 billion annually, primarily from health care costs associated with poor nutrition and educational losses for kids who are too hungry to concentrate.
The Oregon Prosperity Initiative aims to ensure that people who are currently struggling to feed and shelter themselves and their families have access to critical resources. At the same time, the initiative will promote strategies to address the long-standing, systemic root causes of poverty.
“It is unacceptable that in our state, with its rich natural resources and human ingenuity, so many people are struggling to make ends meet,” said Hayes. “It is time to turn this around, maximize our potential, and make Oregon a more prosperous place to live and do business.”
In the short term, the Oregon Prosperity Initiative will raise awareness about Oregon’s strong network of food banks and affordable housing facilities, and convene the Interagency Council on Hunger and Homelessness to address how to improve both the supply and distribution of food and housing to people in need. 
In the long term, Hayes will lead the Oregon Prosperity Initiative’s efforts to establish a more coordinated and integrated approach to poverty reduction in Oregon. This includes integrating poverty reduction strategies into long-term budgeting plans, engaging the business community in developing entrepreneurial approaches to improving opportunities for people to achieve prosperity, and embedding poverty reduction into the Governor’s education and health care transformation efforts. 

 Media Contacts:
Tim Raphael, 503-689-6117
Amy Wojcicki, 503-689-5324

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