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This paper describes preliminary results from a study at the Crisis Control Ministry, a poverty relief organization in Winston-Salem (North Carolina). The intent of the study was to explore the nature of and influences on contemporary urban poverty by having the investigator serve as a volunteer interviewer at the Crisis Control Ministry. Another objective was to explore changes in urban poverty as a result of the sweeping welfare changes of 1996. An attempt was made to assess the potential for the severely economically disadvantaged people using the center to improve their standard of living. Accurately defining urban poverty requires that one evaluate carefully the manner in which social, economic, and political power structures balance with individuals' capacity to access opportunities and exert control over their life chances. Although the role of education is not explicitly investigated in this study, the lack of education is an important aspect of the social, economic, and political structures that contribute to urban poverty. The case studies of people interviewed in the course of the research show the limiting conditions of the urban poor, many of which have their roots in inadequate education and preparation for the workforce. A second stage of the study is planned that will focus more directly on the life events of many more Crisis Control Ministry clients. Oral history interview techniques will be used to obtain information about the people who use the crisis control services, their backgrounds, and their potential for self-sufficiency. One appendix contains the interview consent form for the planned study, and the other is a sample open-ended interview schedule. (Contains 21 references.) (SLD)

Descriptors: Disadvantaged Youth, Educational Attainment, Intervention, Low Income Groups, Poverty, Program Effectiveness, Urban Education, Urban Problems, Urban Youth, Welfare Recipients, Welfare Reform

Autor: McGettigan, Timothy


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