The recent recession demonstrated the inherent instability of our economic system. Despite several decades of economic growth, personal income has remained stagnant and the number of Oregonians living in poverty has continued to rise to 17.5%. The recent recession hit many hard working families especially hard. Many Oregon communities continue to struggle, and record numbers of people continue to require assistance for food, housing, and basic healthcare while our state budgets are struggling to maintain services undrer the increased demand. While Oregon's network of low-income service providers are making a tremendous effort to meet the need, the resources are proving simply inadequate.
The Oregon Prosperity Initiative takes a comprehensive systems based approach to preventing poverty which includes systemic reforms in education, economic and workforce development, healthcare, public safety, healthy environments, and system delivery redesign. Key to these reforms is alignment with the 10-Year Plan for Oregon which provides long-term outcomes based benchmarks to get our great state back on the trail to prosperity.
The problem is enormous and the long-term consequences of not taking action are simply unacceptable. Its time to think upstream and create the conditions that allow all Oregonians to thrive and reach their maximum potential, to that together, we can contribute to the prosperity and growth of our local communities and state. The time to change how we invest and develop these opportunities is now, and our potential has never been greater.
It is time we rethink what is possible. It is time we commit to building a better future for our next generation. It is time we dedicate our efforts and resources towards upstream investments rather than downstream costs. Together, we can make this vision a reality.