In-depth Poverty Thought Force Recommendations by Topic Area, including Ongoing Local Efforts and Community Comments

To ensure the broadest possible input into its work, the Winston-Salem Poverty Thought Force (PTF) used the World Café method to gather information and ideas from the community, manifestly including those most directly affected by poverty. These community views were foundational in our developing goals and measures for reducing Winston-Salem’s poverty rate.  

More than 350 ideas surfaced during our five initial World Café community discussions. These ideas were then meticulously reviewed by local advocates, experts, teams of university students, and PTF members.  A more focused set of 186 ideas was then ranked for impact and feasibility (details below) by more than 250 community members, along with selected experts and anti-poverty advocates, via an online survey. 

Based on those rankings, an initial list of some five dozen possible recommendations was discussed by our Thought Force members. We then held a sixth World Café gathering, attended exclusively by county residents who are currently or were recently living in impoverished conditions, to discuss the practical effects of each potential recommendation. Those results were closely reviewed and recommendations altered (or dropped/added) accordingly. After a final Thought Force review, we agreed on 56 recommendations across five thematic areas.

Impact and Feasibility Ranking: Explanation

Our initial set of 186 community recommendations fell into five topic areas (education, health, housing, hunger, jobs).  Each subset of 30-50 recommendations was sent, via online survey, to community members: World Café participants, plus policy advocates and experts in that topic area, university students intensively studying the topic, and Thought Force members.  Ultimately 261 ‘rankers’ participated; the PTF is immensely grateful for their attentive engagement.

Respondents assessed each idea for its impact (how much difference the idea would make in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County if implemented) or feasibility (how likely the idea could win mayoral or Council approval—or, as appropriate, statewide or national support).  The survey used a standard (Likert) scale, with the lowest impact or feasibility score ‘1’ and the highest ‘7.’ 

With scores in hand, we analyzed the results, using SAS data review.  Each recommendation was ranked within a topical subset: e.g., a recommendation to support community gardens across Winston-Salem was ranked against the 25 other ideas intended to “address food insecurity,” with the idea totaling the most points ranked first, the next highest ranked second, etc. To ensure reliability, we ranked each item within its subgroup in three ways: mean, median, and percent of respondents rating the item highly (by assigning it a ‘6’ or ‘7’ on the 1-7 scale).

These three rankings were added together for both impact and feasibility, providing a combined ranking (impact ranking plus feasibility ranking). To illustrate, using the ‘community gardens’ example: among 26 ideas to address food insecurity, this proposal’s impact had the highest-ranked mean and median values, and the #5 rank for percentage of high scores. Adding those three rankings (1, 1, and 5) together gave an impact rank of 7.  For feasibility, community gardens had the #1 ranked mean, #3 median, and #3 percentage of high scores; adding these gave a feasibility rank of 7. Adding impact and feasibility rankings in turn gave a combined rank of 14 (7 + 7).

Our Thought Force concluded that a proposal’s potential impact merited greater weight than feasibility, so we have listed our 56 recommendations below in the order of their impact ranking.  Noted for each proposal is the impact ranking and combined impact and feasibility ranking.

A final note about the recommendations below. In bold are references to related initiatives already underway locally, and related issues identified by community members in other forums.  In italics are comments on that recommendation from residents, nearly all with personal experience of poverty, at our sixth World Café (described above). Those italicized comments were recorded by scribes at each discussion table. 


1. Local churches or colleges/universities “adopt” elementary schools (3 impact rank; 6 combined rank). Local churches and/or universities “adopt” elementary schools, providing a range of services: book drives, child care, tutoring, etc.  Individual and group relationships that are likely to result would create meaningful mentorships into the school children’s adolescence. 

One local example: the Winston-Salem Community Innovation Lab, currently collaborating with Cook Elementary “to accelerate work toward equity in public education and [c]reate new pathways for young people to develop the 21st-century skills they’ll need to adopt to a changing economic landscape…by curating robust new partnerships between students, parents, educators, businesses, creative industries, training institutions and workforce development.”

Comments [from community members, at the 10/2016 World Café

  • Universities/churches that have more money/social capital might get attached to one school, so schools with wealthier partners will get more benefits than other schools.
  • This is also a benefit for colleges and churches. Highlight this to attract partners.
  • College students are transient. You get college students for two or three months, then children are faced with challenging change.
  • Challenges getting kids to commit to being mentored.
    • You can set up a mentoring program, but that won’t mean that it is meaningful.
    • Need professionals in education programs, but mentoring is difficult.
    • Need to train mentors.
    • Let high school students be both mentors and mentees.
  • Partner with Carver HS and WSSU. Identify those at risk to fail 9th or 10th grade.
  • Mentor student to stress importance of being a strong student (tutoring session).
  • Give students internet access.
    • Schools don’t have technology required.
    • Some students lack internet access at home; must bridge what they learn at school and have access to at home.
    • Give students internet access. Library is closed downtown. Only 45 minutes of internet access at a time.
    • Students can’t even take books home.
  • Work with W-S Center for Education.
  • Some churches have already connected with schools and tutoring is taking place, but students don’t have the necessary resources.
  • Church adopted Cook Elementary School.
    • Collected book bag.
    • Work through Big Brother Big Sisters.
    • Students who misbehave from other schools are sent to Cook.
  • PTA at Title 1 schools have no disposable income, so the PTA cannot do this.
    • Always trying to raise money. Don’t have a base.
  • We have gone back to neighborhood schools, so the problems are concentrated.
  • This a good idea—but cannot stop when the school year stops.

2.  Program connecting young residents with senior-citizen mentors (3 impact; 8 combined). Pairing young people and seniors could help both. Seniors might receive lawn care and technological literacy, e.g., and in turn offer life skills, tutoring, and other benefits.

At a July 2016 Boston Thurmond Roundtable, mentoring by elderly residents was emphasized.  A well-organized Center for Creative Mentorship (a possible name for this program) would enhance bonds between community members from different backgrounds.  Pilot mentoring programs could be incorporated into existing Goodwill Industries structure and programs. 


  • Great idea because it gives young residents a chance to respect the older generations and gives the seniors an opportunity to engage in current community.
  • Decreases isolation for seniors.
  • Younger people can learn valuable life lessons (i.e., responsibility) from seniors.
  • A wonderful exchange of knowledge— young residents can teach about technology and pop culture, while seniors can share their history. A chance to learn from each other.
  • Family oriented—make community what it used to be?
  • Could it happen within church?
  • Needs to spark attention (incentive?)
  • Important to teach life/surviving skills, but may not have much benefit.
  • Many kids would enjoy the wisdom and company of an aging adult, and vice-versa
  • Should not be mandatory, but would be excellent for community outreach.
  • If the young child is willing, mentoring is a great idea (“creative sparkle”).
  • Excessive volunteer work feels oppressive and unfair when everyone else is getting paid.
  • The young have to respect the elders and vice-versa.
  • Elders have wisdom but it’s important to remember the young have wisdom too.
  • It’s important to sit back and listen in order to absorb experiences and learn from them.
  • An opportunity to collaborate on different ideas.
  • This program will set expectations for the younger residents.
  • Would be beneficial in connecting the community.

3.  Universal Pre-K in City (3 impact; 21 combined). Research shows lasting benefits for children who attend pre-school, including increased graduation and employment rates, and reduced incarceration. Currently around 1300 area children are enrolled in Pre-K; would need to serve 3+ times as many (c. 4500) for universal coverage. 

A Universal Pre-K Initiative, convened by Family Services, is working toward this end.  This builds on local Head Start programs, as well as work by several other local organizations. The Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust (“KBR”), for example, launched Great Expectations in 2015 to help Forsyth County children enter kindergarten ready to succeed and leave set for success. KBR, United Way, Winston-Salem Foundation and others fund Forsyth Promise, which has established a Collaborative Action Network focusing on kindergarten readiness.  With the support of Superintendent Beverly Emory, Project Impact is raising $45 million over six years to provide an additional 1200 children with early education. Another example is Strong @ Home, a collaborative led by Family Services developing a comprehensive plan for early childhood education and family stability for 150 families with young children. A recent Duke University study of North Carolina’s Pre-K programs analyzed one million public school children born between 1988 and 2000, noting “Children enrolled in North Carolina’s early childhood programs performed better throughout elementary school, with gains lasting through fifth grade.”


  • A great idea because it gives children a good start/foundation.
  • [Keeps] kids from staying at home and would make them more competitive once they get to kindergarten.
  • Higher graduation rates and reduced incarceration sounds like a huge positive.
  • Should have an impact on poverty because they’re learning earlier which will impact their education path [later on].
    • Also on the parents’ behalf, this is doing something better for their children and allows them the time to go out and work more.
  • Better to be in school than on the streets and learning negative things.
  • All children should go to preschool: it makes a difference later on in the education path.
  • Government should fund universal Pre-K so that everyone is on the same page.
  • If possible, Pre-K should even start younger- 3 years old.
    • The sooner a child is put in a structured educational environment, the better.
  • Wouldn’t necessarily make it mandatory because there’s too much governmental control especially for those in poverty.
  • Brilliant idea: the more kids are educated, the better students we’ll have in coming years.
  • Kids learn from kids—so the more “assistant teaching” there is [the better].
  • You won’t only be teaching children; you’ll be showing them they can grow up to be leaders in the community.
  • Getting children into an environment in which they can be taught and can then teach others will bring lifelong benefits.
  • Can get low poverty children out of a potential dangerous environment into a school with more structure/stability.

4.  Improve Transit for Education (3 impact; 20 combined). Revise bus schedules and routes to ensure affordable (subsidized) and timely access to schools, YMCA’s, community colleges, universities and other learning centers. Enables greater parental involvement in schools, access to job training and gainful employment, and lifelong learning. 

At a C4C Design Institute in Jan. 2016, community representatives from Waughtown, Boston Thurmond, and Cleveland Avenue identified “lack of transportation” and need for more direct routes as a top issue.  The Winston-Salem Transit Authority (WSTA) has made changes as of January 2017 as part of a comprehensive overhaul of the transportation system.

Comments [Other Transit-related comments at Health Proposal #3 below]:

  • The [regularly frequented] stores are not accessible because of the limited times and routes, certain areas of the city are not accessible on different days.
  • How do you get to the “Y,” and how do you get your kids there?
  • The bus doesn’t run to frequented stops on Saturdays; people can’t access certain places.
  • Free bus transportation services are available in the Triad through grants.
  • See where people traffic most frequently; make sure buses are directed to those areas.
  • Express routes to [schools] and other places in the city; regular routes can take up to 1 hr 30 mins to complete before you reach the desired destination.
  • I think we have a transportation hub issue.  Instead of bringing each niche program to each community, we should centralize so people can get to a central hub.
    • Our bus system is terrible.
    • How do you get the people who ride the bus to advocate for better transportation?
    • We could eliminate the bus fares.

5.  Mentorship program/employment-tutoring programs (7 impact; 10 combined). Mentors would be younger Winston-Salem residents, who return to local high schools to provide tutoring, informal connections, and inspiration to students to stay in school and graduate.

The Forsyth Promise’s Collaborative Action Network seeks to identify “promising practices to ensure all youth in Forsyth County graduate from high school on time.” E.g.: BBBS-JRAMS mentoring program, focused on struggling 9th graders at Carver High School; Best Choice Center YWCA; East Winston Student Enrichment Program YMCA (UWFC Place Matters grant).

Comments: (and #9 below: Incentivize Employment Tutoring Programs)

  • A couple of years ago the school district stopped businesses from partnering with schools. Wanted donations to go centrally to the district and then they could distribute.
  • How can we build relationships with school and their communities if businesses cannot partner directly with them?
  • 33% of schools in our system are underperforming.
  • Mentorship programs have to be guided and structured, with training for mentors.
  • Don’t have one universal program. Let each school operate the mentoring program the way they see fit for their community.
  • Adopting classrooms. People offer to buy supplies/participate in classroom.
  • “Mentorship” is a vague word. Is it for tutoring, or life skills, or emotional comfort, etc.
  • Elementary can be focused on tutoring. Middle and High school: life skills.
  • Use SES (Supp. Education services) money to fund mentorship program.
  • Incentivize the school itself to run its own mentoring program.
  • What about young adults who still need their GED?
    • More direct need for career support.
    • Access to WiFi/how to apply for jobs.
  • Businesses could be a resource for technology.

6. ‘Career Days’ at local high schools (7 impact; 17 combined).  With recruiters and volunteers from various professions, organized Career Days would foster intergenerational cooperation, empower students, and make use of existing structures instead of building anew. Career presentations underscore the importance of education for work and professional success.

Limited versions exist at area high schools; need to be coordinated and enhanced. Forsyth Promise’s Collaborative Action Network is designed to enhance awareness of opportunities/ pathways for career options; Goodwill also has valuable programs in this area.

7. Higher Pay for Pre-K teachers (7 impact; 24 combined). North Carolina teacher pay is ranked 49th in the nation; preschool teachers’ mean annual salary is $25,530.  Higher pay for pre-K teachers would attract more applicants and allow current teachers to devote greater time and energy to their students.

As a statewide policy recommendation, achieving this would require working with state legislators and executives—in part to help suggest supplemental sources of revenue.


  • Higher pay could bring better educators and more incentive.
  • Not making enough money after paying a lot to get a degree.
  • Kids learn quicker when they’re younger so it’s important to have good, educated teachers that are excited/dedicated.
  • More motivation for college education because potential for a teaching job.
  • Why do we live in a country where educators aren’t seen as having a prestigious job?
    • Sad they have to spend out of pocket for most supplies—they do it because they’re passionate educators.
  • ALL teachers deserve higher pay (min. $50,000) because these are the people that educate our children and shape the future.
    • Why is there such a big difference between kindergarten and college pay?
  • Education should be the #1 priority in our country.
  • Elementary teachers are expected to have the same education as those in higher, more advanced grades, yet they still get paid much less.
  • All teachers should have an equal reward.
  • Teacher pay should be equalized.
  • Embarrassing to be 49th in pay nationally; NC needs to change.
  • You have too much of a degree to make so little money, eliminating any incentive to want to be a teacher because you won’t have means to support yourself.
  • Pay should be raised because Pre-K is the first level of education kids will get—this takes a lot of training and patience whereas when kids get older, they are split up to difference levels and teachers are catered to them specifically.
  • This job is very time consuming and it deserves more funding.
  • Bottom line, teachers need higher pay.

8. Community Service at Middle/High Schools (10 impact rank; 25 combined rank). Existing ‘Life Skills’ classes could be modified to include community-service projects, coordinated across the school system for maximum impact. Students and neighborhoods alike would benefit from this engagement.  

Such programs exist in some schools already; local education advocates could work with the Superintendent’s office, as well as individual principals, to coordinate/enhance.

9. Incentivize Employment Tutoring Programs (11 impact; 20 combined). Private and public employers incentivize staff to serve as tutors in local schools, raising awareness and encouraging connections between businesses and schools. 

The Augustine Literacy Project in Winston-Salem is one promising source of training and support for such tutors. 

Comments: See #5 recommendation above.

General Comments on Education

  • Principals should not have their children as teachers at their schools.
  • They took nurses out of the school system.
  • Teachers arguing with students but they don’t know what is going on at home.
  • Supplies/uniforms are too expensive. Give free clothing if they want uniforms.
  • There is a connection between poverty & violence in communities and failing schools.
  • Our Hispanic community is not fully integrated into the city. Students placed with low-performing black schools and scores went down even more. Language barrier an issue.
  • Used to be churches on every corner in the black community.
  • If there were more employment opportunities, then other problems would be ameliorated.
  • Have to drive to West Side to get basic supplies.
  • School system tells the community that they are not worthy and shouldn’t take action.
  • Children want to be basketball players or rappers because they don’t see employment opportunities in their community.
  • Mom had to fight principal to hold her daughter back because she couldn’t read.
  • Good programs in Winston; many inaccessible due to awareness/transportation access.
  • Is it intentional that those in subsidized housing are told about events day before or day of? Lack of advertising in those neighborhoods (Cleveland Ave.; Boston Thurmond).
  • Where are the advocates among leaders of the school system? School board for example.
  • Cannot ignore systematic attempt to overlook some schools.
  • Parental involvement essential:
    • Parents working 2-3 jobs can’t come to PTA meetings or other events.
    • Should be mandatory involve a parent in child’s educational path. Send exercise sheet home and allow parents to review with child to spark engagement.
    • Schools should have roles built in for parent volunteering or jobs at the school. Get parents out of home; provides them opportunity to give back.
    • Teachers should always give 100%, but kids need dedicated adult figure at home!


1. Subsidize food stamps for healthier foods (3 impact rank; 14 combined rank). Healthy food is generally more expensive than junk food.  Enhancing SNAP values for nutritious foods would bring costs into alignment and encourage people to use SNAP to purchase healthy food.

Federal and/or state subsidies may be available for such a program.


  • Good idea to provide vouchers to purchase healthy foods to supplement (SNAP).
  • No, do not increase because it will enable young women to lay around and not do anything, it will hinder self-sufficiency.
  • Require nutrition classes to go along with SNAP application; would expand knowledge of what's going into the body. People will attend because required to get food stamps.
  • Increase awareness - if we don’t know what’s healthy then how to know what to eat?
  • Need a system like “Farm Fridge”(Winston initiative) to get fresh vegetables to people. Expands connection from farmers to families.
  • Healthy food is fresh food. Many buy canned, boxed food. People on food stamps don't know how to cook. Need classes on which ingredients to use. Younger generation like “quick fixes”: cut, washed collard greens. Canned food has potassium/salt and leads to obesity.
  • Families don't get enough food stamps. It is hard with 5-6 kids and no job.
  • Senior citizens are most affected; $160-180 is not enough to survive the whole month.
  • Need an educational program for senior citizens, educating them on their eligibility.
  • We need to look at SNAP recipients’ net income, not gross income.
  • Limit needs to be expanded upon retirement.
  • Food is a basic need. Seniors don't have enough money because they spend it on medication.
  • People don’t get food stamps because they make just enough, but the amount they make is not enough.  Need to expand the threshold for income limit on disability.

2.  Tax incentives for fully paid parental leave (3 impact; 21 combined). A modest tax incentive for employers offering parental leave beyond currently-mandated time periods. San Francisco recently implemented such measures, to positive reviews.


  • Who would provide incentives? State, county, or federal?
  • Best offered through jobs.
  • Odds of incentives coming from current state/federal gov’t are slim.  Maybe county.
  • I had to use vacation time and disability insurance through my employers.  Would be great if it came from NC as state support.  It would have domino effect on other states.  People have lost their homes because they do not have a PAID leave.
  • Restaurants that provide more paid leave have fewer instances of illness spread.  It actually benefits the business if sick people do not come in.
  • Lovely idea but so much industry has left the state that revenue has shrunk; the federal government would have to do it.  Our current state government is mean-spirited, hard-hearted, out of touch individuals.  I had to take care of dependents without paid leave.
  • This has been tried in CA and been somewhat successful.
  • Paternity leave is very important. It gives people the chance to take care of their families.
  • Why would the government let other people take time off from their jobs to get their visa and come back? Why can’t we take time off from our jobs to take care our children?
  • If you leave for a block of time, when you come back, you don’t even have a job anymore.
  • The key here is paid leave. We need to think about families and about preventative care.
  • The government says that it (the policy) is moving forward, but it is not.
  • How can the government speak for me if it does not even know the condition of my life? The government does less to take care people nowadays.
  • I agree, this is why the world cafe is so important.
  • Good idea for state to give incentives to businesses but need a lot of money for different companies to be able to do it.
  • By doing this, the community loses out on the tax revenue.
  • It’s not my favorite solution; I’m not sure if the tradeoffs would be too much.

3.  Improve bus affordability, access & frequency (4 impact; 11 combined). Improved bus routing—from lower-income neighborhoods to health clinics and supermarkets, e.g.—would provide primary (preventative and non-urgent care) and secondary health benefits, such as expanded access to healthy nutrition. Subsidizing bus fares for neediest residents is also vital. 

The Winston-Salem Transit Authority (WSTA) is revising current bus routes as of January 2017 as part of a comprehensive overhaul of the transportation system, with assessment of the new routes to follow.  At the C4C Design Institute in Jan. 2016, community members flagged “more direct routes,” including to food stores, as a leading issue; a C4C Transportation Community Action Network (CAN) is underway to develop a plan and implement pilot projects.  The Program in Community Engagement (part of Wake Forest School of Medicine’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute) has formed a Transportation Coalition to consider the issue of bus affordability and has proposed a fare-free system similar to that in Chapel Hill. 


  • Be able to call Trans-AID to assist with bus routes in low-income neighborhoods, give out a voucher/bus pass to those who qualify. People have to notify Trans-AID 48 hours before they need a ride and if you miss two or more then you are cut from the program.
  • The bus doesn’t run to frequented stops on Saturdays.
  • Need a form of subsidizing shuttle/trans-aid as well as unlimited bus services. Trans-aid should be rerouted to go to grocery stores.
  • Hard for senior citizens to go to the store or a clinic because of the inconvenience.
  • Social services affording free bus transportation are available in the Triad through grants.
  • See where people traffic most frequently; make sure buses are directed towards those areas.
  • Express routes to [clinics and other health providers] in the city, regular routes can take up to 1 hr 30 mins to complete before you reach the desired destination.
  • Shuttles should be operated from neighborhood to closest grocery stores.
  • Transportation and incentives are an issue:
    • Can people get to a doctor/clinic? And then they have to take time off from work.
    • Put a grocery store in the neighborhood.
    • Our bus system is terrible; how do you get the people who ride the bus (poor people) to advocate for better transportation?
    • We could eliminate the bus fares.
    • Fitness education matters. The Y has reduced price programs, it’s just getting there.

4. Expand pro bono medical care (4 impact rank; 21 combined rank).
Several existing options are listed below; expanding these is vital to improving health outcomes.

Wake Forest’s Delivering Equal Access to Care (DEAC) Clinic offers pro-bono care, including free blood work, medications on-site, social services, mental health and STI screening, and wellness education. Other promising options include WSSU’s Rams Employment and Community Health Equity (REACHE); health services for neighborhood residents (UWFC Place Matters grant); and the Center for Congregational Health and FaithHealthNC, both part of WFUBMC, which extend outreach to community through faith congregations.  At C4C Design Institute in Jan. 2016, community representatives identified “mental health/counseling,”  “urgent care facility,” and “medication assistance programs without so many stipulations” as top issues.


  • Currently with little to no insurance and little income, the only choice is emergency rooms.
  • These questions affect poverty in the sense that poor health affects one’s ability to work.
  • One would have a greater quality of life with better access to healthcare.
  • Those with greater income should be interested in care for those who can’t afford it.
  • We want to decrease ER visits because they’re so costly.
  • Why is there so much push back by insurers to providing healthcare for all?
  • Don’t need to see doctors in white coats to know that I’m getting good medical care.
  • I know little about healthcare in US since I just moved here few months ago (recently- graduated med student from Mexico).
  • I live in the Boston Thurmond area where I have access to a health clinic that was created because of a high number of infant deaths. The clinic has been beneficial for the community. The infant date rate has since been reduced. Such clinics should be supported.
  • The clinic located downtown is not in good shape: it has become very overcrowded. Rather than over-populating one clinic, we need an increase in accessibility to care. Winston-Salem is very spread out; more clinics are needed for a greater range of accessibility. Downtown is not a bad location but needs increased accessibility.
  • Dental care is important, and it would be great if this could be provided.
  • There may be a communication problem, with a lack of knowledge of existing free clinics.
  • Do not recommend more assets in Baptist. Downtown needs to open more. Great facility, needs to open the doors for Medicare/Medicaid.
  • Need utilization/improvement of what already exists, rather than building new facilities; free clinics already exist in Winston.
  • Great medical care in Winston, but is faced with a problem of accessibility. Pro bono care should not be limited to the two hospitals. Rather, they should set up new satellite facilities.
  • There is an issue of regular doctor visits in the community. Sometimes health issues sneak up on people, and if they had prior knowledge, they may have been able to avoid it.
  • Oftentimes I don’t know about free clinics in Winston; would be great information.
  • I love Baptist Hospital and Brenner Children’s Hospital.
  • Oftentimes at Downtown Health Plaza staff can be irritable and unprofessional as they are extremely overcrowded and overloaded.
  • I have seen lots of resources that Winston Salem that aren’t being fully utilized.
  • I would like a program or clinic where people are able to learn about their health issues, prevent their health issues, and learn how to take better care of themselves.
  • Great program at Morning Star Baptist Church includes exercise classes, diabetic awareness classes, along with a mobile clinic.  More places should adopt similar structures.
  • Morning Star is awesome. Winston-Salem citizens trust them. They don’t require the machines, because they also have an established patient trust.
  • Clinics and medical forces in NC should pay closer attention to patient access to public care.

5.  Early maternal health programs for non-English speakers (5 impact; 17 combined). Publicly-offered and well publicized health education programs for expectant mothers, offered in Spanish and other non-English languages regularly spoken locally, would reach a broader local constituency—and provide beneficial cohort effects among attending mothers-to-be as well.

The existing Forsyth Connects in-home nurse program of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust and Forsyth Medical Center provides a promising foundation; specific attention to pre-natal education offered for non-English speakers would be a vital enhancement.

Comments:  (also #6 below)

  • Any time you can help with the unborn and babies the community at large benefits.
  • I’m all for it.  We are still the great American melting pot, and I do not fault anyone who has come over to make life better for their families.
  • Despite the decrease in infant mortality, there is still a disparity for black/brown children.  We have to persuade [the poor] that their choices have a powerful impact on their lives.
  • We need classes specifically for Spanish-speaking mothers, not just offering an interpreter.
  • Existing networks target these communities, need to integrate efforts with health department.
  • Non-English speakers have great care already; they don’t need any more health programs. 
  • Every time I get health care, I pay from my pocket, but they (non-English speakers) get it for free. The more you give them, the less we get. Why do we have to pay for it?
  • I’m just saying that we need to make it fair. I want to be equal.
  • We should not look at it as Us-or-Them. We need to see what is needed for each person.
  • All human beings are the same. We should not distinguish people by color. We should be fair. But the system will always be biased.
  • Without a program like Medicaid, non-English speakers do not go to the doctor until the last minute because they pay the entirety of their hospital bills.

6.  Integrate parental health education into pregnancy classes (6 impact; 9 combined). A sustained focus on maternal health is vital to enhanced infant and early childhood outcomes. More and better publicized pregnancy classes—featuring parental education on topics like breastfeeding, staying in school, postpartum depression, food preparation and clarification of misconceptions about vaccination would be the core of this initiative.

At a C4C Design Institute in Jan. 2016, members identified life skills classes, including parenting, as a top issue. Forsyth County Department of Public Health offers a range of classes in their Parent Education Program, including Baby Love Parenting, Breast Feeding, Healthy Mother/Healthy Baby, Women, Infants, and Children, as well as an Immunization Program.

Comments: See #5 above.

7.  Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program to all new mothers (6 impact; 20 combined). The WIC nutritional program should be offered for free to all new mothers as they leave the hospital or clinic, with information about eligibility requirements and how to apply.  


  • Do not cut off WIC until the kids finish elementary school.
  • WIC has classes for nutrition so the kids can learn more.
  • WIC should be expanded to all mothers; right now solely for working mothers. But all mothers need access to good health care.
  • Should be free and beneficial for working mothers during the first year of a child’s life.
  • Invest in breastfeeding education.
  • Depends on size of a family, the income, how many hours they are working per week.
  • Shouldn’t be free, should be discounted. You need to pay your way in life; can’t expect to receive everything for free.

8.  Health education in early school & childcare centers (7 impact; 10 combined). Developing healthy habits in young children can pay off exponentially. Allocating 15-30 minutes per day to health education, say before lunch or recess, could hold young children’s interest and attention.  Costs would be low; this could be folded into existing curricular offerings.


  • Important to learn about healthy eating choices in school.  Health class helped me in 1972.
  • We  need to monitor the childcare centers.
  • The school system took a lot of people out, and now they are trying to squeeze them in. I don’t want to see people who are not certified taking care of my child. It’s very scary. We gave our suggestions to the childcare centers, but they ignored us.
  • We need to put the nurses back into schools.
  • Health education is essential. School requirements for vaccines make parents aware, but access and transportation is an issue.
  • It’s one thing to educate kids to eat healthy, etc., but if parents don’t know how to cook healthy foods they can’t provide them.  A lot of people go for easier and less healthy foods.
  • Maybe classes could be offered for parents.
  • You have to make them want to come.  They have a lot of things to do that are demanding in the immediate moment.  You have to make overall health a pressing issue.
  • I would make the education available at the grocery store where people shop.

9.  Medicaid expansion in North Carolina, including extending continuous eligibility for children (10 impact rank; 23 combined rank). Medicaid expansion would extend insurance coverage to hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians, with federal coverage of 100% of the costs until 2020, and 90% thereafter.

This is dependent on state legislative/executive action, of course.


  • What is the difference between Medicaid and Medicaid?  [Moderator explained.]
  • If we are not healthy, we cannot work or provide for our family. Focus should be on our kids.
  • It is important for Winston-Salem to focus care on monitoring children.
  • We should give kids and pregnant women priority for healthcare and related education.
  • Expand Medicaid to teens who have kids, and younger people who can’t gain coverage.
  • I have physical and mental health issues that prohibit [me] from working. I have a hard time getting access. I need Medicaid to receive medication, but I have applied for Medicaid three times, and can’t get it. I am not trying to cheat the system; I can’t work and need health care.
  • [Another participant]: I often need access to health care but can’t receive it. I have lots of health issues and have been applying for Medicaid and denied continuously.

10.  Mobile Care Clinics (10 impact; 21 combined). Mobile clinics offer mental health support, reproductive health care, and other primary-care services.  

Winston-Salem State University’s RAMS Know H.O.W. Mobile Unit provides preventive health services to lower-income residents. 


  • Trying to work your way out of poverty takes a career; one influence is long, slow, chronic illnesses like diabetes. With these diseases you have to [worry] about things like pharmaceutical management; access to and managing these drugs is very hard.
  • Possible solution is to provide more chronic condition management clinics rather than quick fix health clinics. Perhaps in the form of mobile clinics with volunteer doctors.
  • We don’t want these to be thought [of] as a replacement for real, dependable healthcare. Nor do we want people to think this is replacing big issues like Medicaid expansion. This would simply bridge the gap; we are a long way from being able to make huge changes like [expanding Medicaid], but this is something we could do in the meantime.
  • Good idea about increased chronic condition management through mobile clinics; would be beneficial and effective.
  • Mobile clinic as a way to bring people into medical care, and monitor their health. This would allow people to maintain knowledge of their personal health.
  • Mobile care sites would be amazing. Late 40s/50s also have late in life health issues. Staying on top of this would help.
  • [Participant] (male) stays in contact with his doctor every six months. Hard to get some men to go to the doctor. A mobile clinic would promote doctor visits among men.
  • Mobile clinics would be excellent: promote health visits, and lead to better health care.
  • Men are not going to the doctor enough. Mobile care would promote constant checkups and increase health knowledge.
  • Very important to market mobile clinics through pamphlets, calls, and social media
  • Mobile clinics would be awesome.
  • Single mothers need help. A mobile clinic would increase access to care, also for children. Monthly mobile clinic visits would help the community stay on top of their personal care.
  • Program at Morning Star Baptist Church has been great and includes exercise classes, diabetic awareness classes, along with a mobile clinic that stops at the church once a month. There are lots of resources here; more places should adopt similar structures.

General Comments on Health Issues

  • Government health agencies always ask for zip code numbers. Why? It doesn’t have a point.
  • We need to cover everyone.
  • My father was in the military, and compared to his time, things are worse. We have health insurance, but sometimes it doesn't meet our needs. We don’t need the zip code. Wipe it out.
  • When I grew up in New York state, the health system was totally different. We once had [good insurance] coverage.
  • Winston-Salem was once a nice place for [health] care, but now it is not.
  • Appreciate that Winston Salem is trying to get thoughts from the community about better health care.
  • Need more community meetings to grow knowledge on STDs, diabetes, overall health, eating, etc. Growing knowledge on how to prevent future health issues such as obesity, diabetes, STDs, lung cancer, would be very beneficial. There needs to be more knowledge on certain foods to eat, what is good and bad. More cooking classes would be awesome.
  • Forsyth County has more health/food resources than Fayetteville. Fayetteville’s food pantry is scarce. It is spread out, requires lots of bus travel from one place to the next.
  • Fear more cuts in health coverage if Trump is elected.
  • Food issue is important to health. I am diabetic; my groceries are hard to afford. I have to buy food strictly for myself, whereas the rest of my family eats cheaper food (like frozen fried food). Fried food is cheap, but I can’t eat this type of food because [I am] diabetic.


1.  Improve public transportation, expand housing options (3 impact rank; 8 combined rank). Make bus stops more accessible (including widely visible route/schedule info) and align routes with jobs and homes of low/moderate-income riders. Encourage subsidized carpools.

Similar programs (in Greensboro and Charlotte, e.g.) have measurably reduced unemployment. The Transit Authority (WSTA), as of Jan. 2017, revised current bus routes as part of a comprehensive overhaul of the transportation system.

Comments: See Health Proposal #3 above, on bus affordability, access and frequency

2.  Supportive housing program for vulnerable populations (3 impact; 11 combined). A program could provide housing for the homeless, mentally ill, substance abusers, and other vulnerable groups. Case managers could help facilitate temporary or extended housing. Similarly, funding Rapid Rehousing programs providing assistance to individuals who suddenly become impoverished, again with dedicated case manager support.  

A program such as that currently provided by Samaritan Ministries could be expanded. At the C4C Design Institute, representatives identified affordable housing as a top issue.


  • As a veteran, I am greatly concerned for veterans who are homeless.
  • We have an obligation to all people, including homeless people; we can’t just step over them.
  • Get homeless people in housing before they get sick; this actually costs the city more).
  • We need to change the attitude in the community towards homeless people.
  • We can learn from cities that have piloted programs to buy small homes for the homeless; they are saving money as these people are not out on the streets nor participating in crime.
  • Maybe there is property where the city can bring in pre-fab housing.
  • It sounds like a good idea but make sure it’s done in tandem: don’t just take care of housing; provide resources for those who need help with substance abuse and/or mental health issues.
  • You have to look at the effect on neighborhood of having grown (homeless) men out there all day. You have to create employment opportunities for everyone.
  • With seniors, the issue is not so much an issue with homelessness but instead an issue with finding affordable housing.  Some on Medicaid cannot afford housing.
  • Landlords won’t rent to homeless/vulnerable people even when an organization will pay.
  • Stigma prevents landlords from renting to people in this category or even those transitioning out of this category.
  • Landlords should be rewarded for giving these people a chance, e.g., tax incentives or a seal to put up on wall that is earned (like seals that are awarded to restaurants).
  • The law doesn’t cover these vulnerable populations.
  • Need for more transitional housing.
  • Landlords also need to be involved in transitional housing so they can learn.
  • Several apartments could be temporary/extended housing for vulnerable populations.
  • There could be tax exemption or debt relief for allowing people to live in vacant properties.
  • Mixed income neighborhoods so people become more aware and vulnerable populations less isolated – need community support.
  • Some people will always be homeless and some people are comfortable being homeless but we should provide other resources to help them to gradually upgrade to independence.
  • Substance abusers have houses they can stay in, but they might make/sell drugs to cover rent.
  • Homeless substance abusers have a lot of stress. What are they going to do? Relapse.
  • Not everyone should be mixed together; somebody with mental illness or substance abuse issues needs to be in a place where appropriate care is provided.
  • Transitional housing sounds good but you still need to educate the people going into this and ensure a successful transition.
  • A lot of vulnerable people go into nursing facilities.
  • When you lose housing, it is so hard to get back into it.
  • If people go into treatment, they can lose everything if nobody will pay their bills; this is not good for their mental health (vicious cycle).
  • For rental housing for vulnerable populations, we need a lot of regulation with strict standards about the conditions of the house. People need to be held accountable.         

3.  Housing Navigators program (3 impact; 18 combined). Housing navigators are assigned to families to guide them through bureaucracy and support them in achieving and maintaining permanent housing.  

The Habitat Family Service Committee is a model, as is the TEAM (Tenant Empowerment and Motivation) Project of the W-S Housing Authority and Bethesda Center.  Liberty East Redevelopment (LER) Building Blocks provides housing development and other services (UWFC Place Matters grant).

  • Comments: 
  • In some cases, a home navigator might work. People need to compromise with each other to decide how to live in a home; they wouldn’t trust just anyone trying to help them live but rather want someone they can trust to help navigate them through home ownership.
  • Some older family members keep money in houses, not banks. Need to teach people how to bank and about interest; then can navigate them through the process of owning a house.
  • [Participant states family has] two incomes that are still in poverty but are learning how to budget their money and learning how to invest money and learning bank lingo.
  • Set up housing navigators for persons who are serious about wanting to end up with better housing so they can be taught how to move forward with the process.
  • Home navigators are a great idea; under the umbrella of a housing authority like a social worker. Intent for public housing was a bridge for people to save money to buy a home.
  • Yes. I think most people don’t know how to navigate housing.
  • Social Services should have workshops for home ownership: people need help on home buying, and managing their wealth. A lot of young working women don’t know how to save money to purchase things. A lot of people don’t understand and need the exposure.
  • Doing that would be good for renters and also first time buyers. There’s no reason why the city wouldn’t join with financial investment services that help create navigator housing programs. A financial advisor should come talk to the community and provide resources.
  • Yes, start with helping people with money management, saving, and spending—not just in relation to home buying, but for renting as well. Need an entire system to help plan finances.
  • Yes, a lot of people don’t know anything about buying a house and a lot of people don’t know they have heat or are missing certain things in their home.
  • We need programs that help with managing money: a collaborative network for home ownership. Car dealerships, realtors, everyone will win from this. You’re creating customers while educating people at the same time. 

4.  Expand low-rate, single-room rental housing (6 impact; 14 combined).  City/state subsidies to refurbish homes, old motels or other unused buildings would create single rooms for rent at low rates, under specified circumstances (must be employed?) and periods, such as five years. Homes eligible for refurbishing could be foreclosures or long vacant/unsold properties. 

Habitat for Humanity is a vital source of experience and expertise here, especially on volunteer construction and landscaping assistance. 

Comments: (Also #11 below: Incentivize smaller affordable-housing units)

  • Building a nicer downtown is squeezing people out, from low rate single-room housing.
  • Housing crisis has led to the demand being greater than the supply.
  • City is aware of this and needs to reserve some units for affordable rent.
  • Landlords increase rent as downtown gets nicer/more developed.
  • Jobs downtown are low paying and there is nowhere to live.
  • Public transportation isn’t great/ Winston-Salem is a city without good transportation.
  • Lot of empty buildings around Winston-Salem. We should use what we have; fix up those buildings as dormitory rooms.  Currently they go to waste and [may] get knocked down.

5.  Landlord incentives for Section 8/affordable housing (8 impact; 16 combined).  Fine landlords in order to improve the conditions of current Section 8/affordable housing. As an incentive, offer landlord education on the economic benefits of adequate maintenance (and tangible improvements such as weatherproofing, low-flow appliances, and foam insulation).


  • I had a $500 leak that landlord wouldn’t fix; needs to be a way to fine the landlords.
  • Landowners need to do better. Nine of ten landlords don’t fix anything but want rent on time.
  • Landlords need to be held accountable. Renters and landlords both need to do their part.
  • Living in Boston-Thurmond Section 8 housing, I’ve had good and bad experiences with landlords.  I live in a good subdivision and pay $1,020 rent per month. Septic system went out and it cost $1,500 to replace. Landlord won’t replace; I had to replace it twice, got an attorney and talked with landlord and lived there for a year for free.
  • Give some incentive to landlords to maintain good property, e.g., incentives for people who have rented for over 36 months to look at other leasing options.  This encourages renters and landlords to maintain the building and possibly to sell or rent with options to buy.
  • Landlords should be fined for not maintaining property, e.g. one woman is struggling with snakes and rats in her apartment and her landlord is not doing anything about it.
  • People are moving into substandard houses and then they just move into another one in the same situation - keep moving from home to home to home and finding the same issues.
  • Inspections aren’t adequate; rules on ‘habitable’ houses are not as strict as they should be.
  • People may have a roof over their heads, but they live in fear.  Need to review inspection processes.  Inspectors are too lenient; tenants fear being evicted for telling the truth.
  • Great idea to have incentives for landlords; sad that we need incentives. If you’re in a low income situation, landlords do the least. They don’t feel they’re required to help. If they cared about their property they would make a good investment. College houses, poor homes.
  • If I moved into a house where the landlord didn’t care I wouldn’t go out of my way to make it livable. Section 8 and rent funds should be used to keep up dwellings.
  • Security deposit should go to maintaining the house. The landlords set the standards, and in the lease it states what you can and cannot do. Why aren’t landlords doing their job?

 6.  ‘Ban the Box’ for housing applications (8 impact; 32 combined). Housing authorities should adopt Ban the Box, eliminating inquiries about an applicant’s criminal history on public-housing applications.  This would not preclude asking the question later, when the applicant’s circumstances can be considered as a whole. 

The Shalom Project and anti-poverty Circles initiative, along with a Wake Forest Law School clinic, are promoting a Ban the Box effort.  At the Jan. 2016 C4C Design Institute, community representatives identified barriers to people with criminal records as a key issue. 


  • Ex-offenders are banned from everything, including housing applications.
  • Most of those convicted only committed one crime if they had real work opportunities.
  • My brother was unable to get public housing seven years after being released from incarceration—even though he’d paid his debts to society and had a great job.
  • I support banning the box; as the people we have to push for it.
  • If they subsidize housing, how can they keep the box?
  • They’re just throwing ex-offenders out and saying go back to jail.
  • Ex-offenders can only stay with people that they knew in past.
  • Is Ban the Box something that we can vote on?
  • Ban the Box in housing needs to come before the City Council; it just doesn’t make sense.
  • It’s for the good of the community to have all people have a stable residence.
  • A lot of times you are putting the felon label on nonviolent offenders (like shoplifters).
  • I think it make sense. I don’t think anyone should be banned from housing; it’s frustrating.
  • If you ban the box, ex-offenders could at least get through the first portion of the application and have the opportunity to [prove] themselves; a chance to stay on the straight and narrow.
  • Realistically, do you want to live next to ex-offenders?  I don’t know the solution.  It seems very subjective and there isn’t a standard answer. Consider each case individually.
  • People lie about big offenses: those who answer honestly may get rejected for housing.  Housing authorities need records so that we know everything about applicants.

7.  Tax incentives for subsidized/low-income housing (9 impact; 16 combined). Tax incentives (reduced development and improvement tax, e.g.) for developers who designate a percentage of housing units as subsidized or low-income.

Inclusionary zoning programs (in Chapel Hill and Durham, e.g.) reduce ‘redlining’ and increase workforce housing. Such ordinances may require the provision of affordable housing in market-rate developments.


  • Unsure of tax incentives for developers of subsidized/low-income housing.
  • Tax incentives would be a good idea. Developers use quality building materials, make houses energy-efficient. The underserved population would feel a lot of pride in knowing they can own a home that was built with great materials and isn’t too expensive.
  • Developers make a lot of money.  I’m conflicted because paying them to do the right thing, isn’t right.  I would be open to this idea if it would make a difference.
  • Developers need to use the same building standards for low-income and normal tenants. Just because they can’t afford a nice home doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be able to live in one.
  • Builders should create a standard home; can’t build cheap homes for poorer people.
  • Great idea. People are in business to make money and they want the most out of what they build, they should be offered tax incentives. It affects the bottom line.
  • To ensure that these homes are affordable, there should be city reviews.

 8.  Financial literacy for public housing residents (9 impact; 16 combined).  Programs teaching financial literacy/household budgeting are demonstrated to increase the likelihood of those in public housing moving to permanent housing. 

The Experiment in Self-Reliance is a good local example.  At C4C Design Institute Jan. 2016, community representatives identified more financial literacy programs as a promising approach.


  • Teach household budgeting to increase possibility of those moving to permanent housing
  • I’m in favor of literacy programs for public housing residents. This is an excellent idea.
  • These [programs] have existed for a long time. Resources are devoted to this, but how can you budget on $180/month? The county spends too much on programs that aren’t helpful.
  • I like the idea, but financial literacy might not mean much to people on fixed income, low income or no income. It’s like reaching for the stars to get a checking account and budget; if you don’t have a full time job you’re [don’t] know how to budget. You need a sense of responsibility before budgeting will be useful—you need to start with a full-time job.
  • There should be a mentorship aspect as soon as a person starts a job, so they know they have to take care of financial aspects to keep the job. Take them from step a to b to c.  Gradually move them forward and eventually get them more familiar with their financial picture.
  • It is hard to implement budgeting programs when people do not have bills to budget.
  • I’m a firm believer that a budget can work for everyone- if you have 10 cents you can learn to save 1 cent. There are certain ways to cut back on spending, and everyone can learn them.
  • It would be a good program, it just needs to be modified to [individual] conditions, but they need to teach [people] how to budget [for themselves].
  • People feel like they’re going to have to sacrifice everything, which is why they’re scared of budgeting. They need to be taught the reasons why they can and should budget.
  • All are good concepts, but when you’re not making enough money, then it won’t be very useful to have a budgeting class or some of these resources.

9.  Revitalizing unused/abandoned homes (9 impact rank; 18 combined rank). Restoring boarded-up homes and working with landlords to bring unused dwellings up to acceptable standards would increase affordable housing options. 

Habitat for Humanity performs restorations that enhance once run-down neighborhoods. At C4C Design Institute in Jan. 2016, community representatives recommended community-wide standards on affordable housing to guarantee access.


  • Habitat for Humanity should focus on homes that are already existing, many homes just need repair, assign a family to work and fix up a home, somebody to fill a role to fix up homes.
  • Move people out and fix a home up to code, people who are renting right now take the time to examine these homes to figure out what can be done to fix a home.
  • Would love to see unused homes revitalized; they are a scourge in the neighborhood and reduce property values. Make people feel that neighborhood is more vibrant & marketable.
  • City should support a builder to fix up homes. Very nice looking public housing someplace and other places aren’t very nice.
  • We need to respect different areas of town equally. Maybe we need to focus on tax incentives for developers to revitalize abandoned homes.

 10.  Volunteer-resident 1:1 weekly housing support program (9 impact; 40 combined).  This program would pair volunteers with an individual in public housing to provide resources, including transportation, to obtain permanent housing. Would aim to help overcome logistical barriers to permanent housing, including lack of efficient and affordable public transportation. 


  • Pairing volunteers can be important depending on what their role is.
  • There are a number of factors that affect people when they’re in poverty and want to do better, but cannot- taking care of children, taking a bus, or other complications—it could be too big of a challenge to even find time to meet with a mentor.

11.  Incentivize smaller affordable-housing units (10 impact; 19 combined). City/state incentives to a) developers, to build smaller affordable housing units, and b) homeowners, to create accessory dwelling units (ADU’s).  An ADU is a small, self-contained residential unit on the same lot as a single-family home; may be an addition to the home or a separate structure.

Comments: See #4 above

General Comments on Housing/Homelessness

  • There are many empty homes in Winston-Salem which could be used in another way.
  • The sentiment of landlords of vacant properties is to make a profit.
  • Houses that are vacant after X years/months should be designated as housing for homeless.
  • Landlords should have a heart and be responsible and report long-term vacancy/ abandonment of housing space.
  • I’ve seen Winston Salem shift from urban development to urban disaster.
  • Sense of community is important/finding ways to promote community interaction and engagement (that is the next step – making a house into a home).
  • Got to find ways that person is in a house, safe and comfortable.
  • Need to make sure that people, including homeless people, can engage with community and feel that life has meaning.
  • Push for a building center on Patterson Avenue as a homeless trade center so that homeless people can be taught skills and then be hired after a learning/working period.
  • It is becoming increasingly difficult to find an affordable place to live here and I just got here. We need to bring rent down.
  • City needs to [address] these vacant places; there are houses on my street that no one has lived in for years. The city has a way of knowing who owns these houses and needs to be more diligent about knowing what is vacant.
  • Developers are building luxury housing and displacing those who have always lived there.  These developers should be held accountable.
  • People should have the opportunity to work to help fix up the buildings downtown—and then get to stay in them.
  • I would like to see the community soften their view of the homeless, Our culture needs to change: homelessness is not automatically a bad thing. People just happen to be homeless - they aren’t all bad guys.
  • A lot of us are not that far away from homelessness. Just knowing how many people lost their home for one check, getting sick once, it could be any of us.
  • How do you get around that trust issue?  In many areas they are trying to help someone move from where they are to a better place. Persons involved have to have a non-judgmental and accept people for who they are.
  • There are a lot of homes in East Winston that original homeowners have passed on and are being rented out. Someone is managing that property but they don’t care about the homes. They’re not keeping them up and not selling them. They won’t fix them up and just leave them. If it’s possible for someone or the city to purchase these houses and work with Habitat for Humanity to get it up to par to purchase, that would be amazing for the neighborhood and also for residents. They’re good houses but someone needs to focus on these structures.
  • Worried about the city/developers replacing public housing units with condominiums.
  • I do not want programs that move people to permanent housing. I am more concerned with the county moving people out of public housing to build proposed condominiums, which people won’t be able to afford, so they will be forced out of the places they live.
  • I and my family and friends who live in public housing want to be able to own our housing so the country cannot force [us] out. We are already fighting to educate ourselves, our income is not enough to afford a $600-700 house. I want to be able to buy a project house, rather than to be moved out of public housing to a permanent home elsewhere.
  • In favor of all of these suggestions as they would help people to attain permanent housing.
  • People who live in public housing need to be able to achieve full time employment before they can try and take the next financial steps to get out of public housing. Public housing shouldn’t be permanent- people need to get full time jobs to get out of public housing.
  • The person who wants to further themselves and get a good job will take a different path than someone who just wants to get out of poverty- you cannot group them all together and say we’re all going to get out of poverty and this is how we’re going to do it.
  • If you don’t like your condition, get a better job.
  • They are tearing down projects to put up condominiums. If the people they’re removing to do this cannot afford to get back into that housing, where do they go?
  • Concern that the county was trying to remove people who lived in public housing and that proposed ‘solutions’ are really trying to force people out of public housing.
  • Education on tenants’ rights would be beneficial.  There should be some type of education programming for the areas of Colombia Heights and Skyline Village.
  • If we’re talking about young people owning homes, you need to figure out if people want to own a home in the first place.
  • Home ownership is not for everybody; some are better off renting. Before implementing this policy, we need to figure out if this is even something that people want to do.


1.  Universal breakfast in class program (3 impact rank; 7 combined rank).  Currently available in selected schools; extend to all Winston-Salem/Forsyth County schools. Rather than means-testing, make available to all students: reduces stigma for needy recipients.

Second Harvest Food Bank has publicized the under-utilization of Forsyth County’s existing School Breakfast Program. Expanding to all schools/students would require state/federal funds.


  • Yes, there should be breakfast for all students in WSFCS; all lunches should be free for everyone regardless of student’s socio-economic status.
  • Yes, there should be a card program where students can avoid the stigma.
  • Breakfast should be the largest meal of the day; reinforce the importance of breakfast.
  • Yes, breakfast is important, especially for those who cannot afford it.  Some who don’t have breakfast may be more vulnerable to bullying.
  • Yes.  Tough for parents to provide breakfast as they go to work too early to provide meals.
  • Yes, this would be an opportunity for fellowship over meals with friends.
  • Yes, children need well-balanced nutrition.
  • Kids should be guaranteed appropriate nutrition; it should be regarded as a human right.
  • Nutrition should be local to be most effective.

2.  Increase and expand food stamp values for healthy food and use at community markets (4 impact rank, 23 combined rank). Encourage and match existing farmers’-market grants from the USDA, to boost the purchasing power of food stamps at local markets.  

Cobblestone Farmers’ Market currently accepts Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) for Women, Infants and Children.


  • Expand use of food stamps at community farmers’ markets
  • Farmers’ markets are beneficial for WIC participants and provide healthy options.
  • Need to have more funding for food stamps because current levels are not adequate.
  • Food stamps should be extended to senior citizens, and others incapable of working.
  • Need radio ads to spread word about food stamps.
  • Need systems of accountability. Food stamps should be marked to ensure that they are actually spent on food rather than other possible illegal or harmful items.
  • Abuse of system prevents people who actually need food stamps from getting them.
  • Seniors are main farmers’ market customers and should be able to use food stamps there.
  • Farmers’ markets encourage food education as healthy food is sold there.
  • Teach people how to shop for food and budget appropriately.
  • Yes. Expand food stamps at community farmers’ market.
  • Yes, I am on EBT and agree with this [proposal] to help with natural food consumption.

 3.  Serve food-insecure areas (5 impact; 16 combined). Promote efforts to fill ‘food deserts’ by a) attracting grocery stores, b) encouraging convenience stores or drug stores (existing neighborhood outlets) to carry fresh fruits/vegetables, and/or c) subsidizing regular food-truck presence in underserved neighborhoods.

The H.O.P.E. food truck serves low-income neighborhoods on weekends/school vacations. At the Jan. 2016 C4C Design Institute, attendees embraced “fixing the food deserts,” co-op gardening, and stores where neighborhoods produce and sell their own produce.  The Cleveland Avenue Transformation Team (CATT) has developed a Resident Health Plan, which strongly recommends “reliable access to fresh, healthy, safe, and affordable food.”

Combined comments on 3, 6, and 10: Serve food desert areas, Public/Private Food Access Partnerships, and Incentivize local/regional grocery chains:

  • There is a lack of customer service, quality goods, and efficiency in low-income areas.
  • I’m in poverty. People working three/four jobs & still struggling to buy food, that’s poverty.
  • Need more affordable options. Grocery stores come into neighborhoods and people in the community can’t afford the items.
  • Not enough competition between grocery stores. Prices remain high in certain neighborhoods because people in them have no other option except to buy at that store.
  • Need guidelines or policies to regulate the density of grocery stores in certain areas. We need balanced distribution of stores throughout Winston-Salem, not just on Stratford Road.
  • Poor accessibility to grocery stores has made it difficult to obtain healthier options.
  • Tremendous disparity between cost of items at grocery stores in different parts of town. More often, it’s low-income neighborhoods that pay more for the same item than in West Winston.
  • Need to address renting out buildings (for grocery stores) and the red tape people have to go through. Feels very much like discrimination. People need to make things easier to access.
  • Need to set up a food/grocery trade with people in the community.
  • FCS ministries employs people from the community. We need to incorporate that in the city. We need to get people together to build a foundation. One store will not solve this problem.
  • Need to utilize these empty buildings for food service/sales. Increase awareness of health. “We want to be healthy.” Put things in place so we can do this for ourselves.
  • We don’t need another chain and they don’t need us. We can’t afford their prices so why would they want to come to East Winston-Salem.
  • If chains are coming in they should be franchised by the people in the area. Help teach business and entrepreneurship.
  • Teach business to the people within these neighborhoods. Allow us to make money for ourselves. We just need a model and we can learn the trade.
  • Employ the people within the community all the way from the beginning stages. Not just in areas close to downtown but all the way back at Vernon Farms in Kernersville.
  • Don’t want to see any of the big chains in the community.  GMO foods and produce at those chains like Harris Teeter and Trader Joe’s. We can’t be healthy that way.
  • City gives incentives to businesses bringing jobs, maybe some of that money can be set aside for grocery stores coming to food deserts.  Identify where food deserts are and then take a day every month to visit those places and offer surplus from foods.
  • Find general location of food deserts. “Are there ways to keep small businesses open?”
  • Walmart and Target control the market and the jobs.  If we had a community grocery store, how would it stay going against the Targets and big chains?
  • Data proves that pricing is much more favorable in better communities where competition is higher. Convenience stores take advantage of poor communities because they have no competition so they raise prices. 
  • Strip old school buses, work with Vernon Produce (local providers) to bring foods to food deserts. Bus comes into the neighborhoods with produce & meat, and residents could be the employees, bus drivers, managers etc. This will help overcome the transportation challenge.
  • Shalom Project Food Truck.  Free supper from the food truck.  Bring fresh meals around to the neighborhoods for free.  Same trucks could go to Dixie Classic Fair and other locations to sell food to make money to help support the free food truck.
  • Chains are profit driven. They aren’t coming if it isn’t good business.
  • Publix and Harris Teeter and Lowes are expensive.  They can’t afford them without sales. People lack access to these stores anyway.
  • If [companies] want to put high end grocery stores in the high end areas, then they have to agree to put something in the lower income areas as well.  Promote shopping at Aldi’s. 
  • We already have a lot of grocery stores. They’re just not in the right places right now. Distribute them better.
  • Farmers markets teach good stuff but they aren’t located in the food deserts normally.  Bring them to the neighborhoods that need them. They’ll tell you how to cook [fresh produce].
  • Steer people away from convenience stores because of prices. Asked [grocer] to carry fresh fruits and they said it didn’t work.  Then we asked how much they sold it for and therein lies the problem. The prices are tripled.  We need the food trucks back. Cooking education too.
  • Partnership. 4-h. Three universities here. Health programs, hospitals. You can have trucks going to places, employment in neighborhoods, training. Gardens are there. You just need more collaboration between cities, counties and organizations.  Don’t need permission of the large food companies.  Won’t cost a ton of money to help people achieve their own goals.
  • Big Hispanic food market chain would be nice to bring to the community because of the number of opportunities that are normally presented.

 4.  Neighborhood spaces (6 impact; 12 combined).  Encourage access to schools and churches (when not in use) as gathering spots to educate communities on nutrition, cooking, gardening. 

The Forsyth County Cooperative Extension with support of the Ministers Conference of Winston-Salem and Vicinity, has started an Urban Farm School, a nine week program for gardening/agricultural entrepreneurship within Winston-Salem city limits.

Comments on #4, 8, 9: Neighborhood spaces; nutrition education; community garden

  • Provide a garden for the community and teach how to grow, harvest, and cook the food.  You can give people healthy options but they need to understand what to do after you leave.
  • Encourage those within poverty stricken areas to come together with a community garden and sell that produce in the community. Give away leftovers.
  • Like the idea of the food truck. For years gardeners would bring fresh eggs and butter and fruit. Not in favor of begging big chains to do the right thing by our communities.  We can do it by ourselves. Get these gardens going and connect with agricultural clubs, teach people what to do with them. The parents don’t even know what to do with the vegetables.
  • Encourage people to grow their own food; gives incentive to get up and act. [Participant] trained people on how to start a garden: people call her asking about seeds and fertilization.  Once they learn and become independent they are so proud and happy with their accomplishments. She gardens and has people call her when they need help.
  • “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and he’ll never go hungry.”  Teach people how to grow their own food and how to cook it.
  • Community gardens need an old school propaganda campaign like the Victory gardens. Make it the American thing to do. Home gardening.
  • Work with local farmers’ markets to do community garden competitions.
  • Community gardens can sell at higher end farmers markets.
  • Community garden competitions. Have people work for a more intense purpose.
  • Use old buildings in food desert areas for aquaponic farming; just need water and minimum soil. Bring farms to neighborhoods through aquaponics. Jobs, food, farms and useful skills.
  • Looking at a large community garden; I want many people in the neighborhood [to] participate in the growing. Kids and everybody. Your family [can] put something in so you can get something out.  Sell [within the] neighborhood anything that isn’t used by the family. 
  • Grew up near a community garden in an empty lot that was very successful.  Best greens I’ve ever had and we had three growing seasons.  4 or 5 families worked in it and sold excess to neighbors. There need to be more inclusive job opportunities for people in the community.
  • Reuse facilities of the industrial-school orphanage that closed 40 years ago. Look at putting a community farm there. Use county extension services and develop a farm school or a master gardener program to teach the community how to farm and grow produce. Students can become educated about farming. Partner with the school system on ag science.  Find retail outlets to provide marketing and employment opportunities for local entrepreneurs. It’s cheaper to purchase produce from distribution companies than locally grown products.    

5.  Social media advocacy for fighting hunger (6 impact; 15 combined). Tech-savvy millennials, aided by city/county funds, would organize engaging social-media campaign to educate about/reduce incidence of hunger and food insecurity. provides a basic model; could build on their experience.


  • Social media can get the word out about (for example) the Backpack Program.
  • Not so sure how many low-income people are on social media—the kids, mostly.

 6.  Public/private ‘Food Access Partnerships’ (6 impact: 24 combined). Such partnerships could be set up within neighborhoods (like BIDs in other cities), with a specific focus on enhancing nutritious food availability. 

New Communion Mobile Market & Pantry is an exemplary local food-access partnership, supported by a United Way ‘Place Matters’ grant and partners including local religious organizations and Wake Forest’s School of Divinity.

Comments:  See under #3 above

7.  Expanded/enhanced Backpack Program (6 impact: 25 combined). Review existing Forsyth Backpack Program, comparing with others around the state/region. As ‘best practices’ identified, seek added resources to expand a revised program as broadly as possible.


  • Yes, expand backpack program so kids have food on weekends; otherwise they go hungry.
  • Use churches as they are the center for community engagement.
  • Use surveys & other ways (social media) to get the word out about the Backpack Program.
  • Problem with the Backpack Program is that other individuals in the family (who don’t receive the backpack food) get shafted.
  • Yes, expand the program; kids benefiting are ones who really need it. Backpacks contain foods that kids are likely to eat and enjoy.
  • Yes. Backpack programs are necessary, working around parents’ difficult work schedules.

8. Targeted nutrition education programs (6 impact: 50 combined). Organize nutrition education programs in food-insecure neighborhoods.

Education programs currently exist, at places including the YMCA, Second Harvest Food Bank, Body & Soul Nutritious Eating and Active Living, the Healthy Eating Initiative, and Crisis Control Ministry (latter programs supported by UWFC Place Matters grants).

Comments:  See #4 above.

 9.  Community gardens (7 impact; 14 combined). Support thriving/expanded gardens in each geographic district of Winston-Salem. Ensure they are easily accessible to community members, and publicize creative ways to share gardens’ bounty. 

Goler Community Garden, adjacent to the WFBMC Downtown Health Plaza, is a prominent example of a sustainable community garden—in this case, providing fresh produce to clinic patients.  A C4C Design Institute (January 2016) included as priorities co-op gardening and stores where neighborhoods produce and sell their own produce. 

Comments:  See #4 above.

10.  Attract grocery stores to underserved neighborhoods (7 impact; 34 combined). Work with local/regional grocery-store chains, such as Lowes, Walmart, Aldi, and Publix, to encourage them to locate stores in underserved neighborhoods. 

The Healthy Corner Store Network, a project of the Forsyth County Department of Public Health, has successfully encouraged smaller food stores to expand offerings and/or locate in underserved neighborhoods.  The Forsyth County Food Consortium also provides education and encourages advocacy by communities “at a disadvantage in our regional food system.”   

Comments:  See #3 above.

11.  Free meal distribution (9 impact; 38 combined). Support programs like H.O.P.E. of Winston-Salem, a volunteer effort that brings nutritious meals to neighborhood children on Sundays, the day not covered by federal lunch or Backpack programs.

Along with H.O.P.E. (Helping Other People Eat), local leaders could explore NYC’s FRESH (Food Retain Expansion to Support Health) program, distributing healthy food to adults and children alike.


  • There is a need for free meals. Tons of children in these communities are in need [and] going hungry (Northwest side of Winston).
  • Food distribution could be more connected within the community.
  • Leftovers need to be distributed appropriately.
  • Supporting distribution of free food may become problematic. Some individuals may not need the free food, but arrive because it's ‘free.’
  • Yes.  Gives free meals to people and ensures that extra food goes to those in need.
  • This act of kindness improves the well-being of the person in need.

 12.  Farmers contribute produce to those who could not otherwise afford it (9 impact; 50 combined). Support farmers who contribute a portion of crops to needy community members. 

Cobblestone Farmers’ Market has a program that could serve as a model.


  • Farmers have food waste and need a way to reallocate food into communities.
  • I’m supportive; farmers want to be connected to families and to the communities.
  • Yes—good idea. Food from farmers would be great; could freeze and store.
  • Farmers would benefit if more people came to buy food off EBT; it is a win for everyone.

13. Mandate (or encourage) healthy snacks/vending machines (9 impact; 50 combined)  Support initiatives that require vending machines to carry healthier choices.  

Lots of examples nationwide: such places as Alexandria, Virginia, and Glendale, California, have introduced policies promoting inclusion of healthy items in vending machines

Comments: Healthy Snacks/Vending Machines

14.  Expand Humans of Winston-Salem (9 impact; 50 combined).  Expand existing Humans of Winston Salem program (photos chronicling local citizens), to include a lively website; publish (online and/or print) a book similar to Humans of New York, humanizing food-insecure people.

General Comments on Hunger/Food-Security

  • When kids and parents are at home looking at junk food prices being better than fresh foods, or they don’t know how to cook the fresh vegetables.  Education is key. Moms and grandmas aren’t there to cook or teach kids how to cook.  A neighbor’s son had high blood pressure from age 4, so she learned how to prepare healthy foods for his sake.
  • I’m all for grocery stores and veggies, etc., but you have to find a way to get people to prepare it, cook it and eat it. Some of the kids in the area don’t even know what oranges and other fruits are.  Never seen them. Don’t understand them/know what to do with them.
  • My friend didn’t want to learn how to cook so she would pick up TV dinners. It was a habit and it was easy. Understanding repercussions is essential.
  • Kids are being taught different words for sugar and salt, where does the healthy education come into kids’ life?
  • Focus efforts on teaching kids about new types of foods.
  • Transportation is a barrier and must be increased.
  • Introduce home economics cooking classes to show kids how to prepare foods – use a mentoring process.
  • Move away from microwave [and] instant meals to “real” cooking in pan, over burner.
  • Students may not know how to cook certain foods and should be taught.
  • Recycling food is important to improve communication channels.


1.  On-the-job training for high school students (3 impact rank; 8 combined rank). Area companies could team with local schools and nonprofits to provide high-school students with on-the-job training and classroom education. Students meeting GPA/attendance requirements could serve as paid apprentices at a local firm, and where appropriate could attend relevant skills classes (like drafting or engineering) at local colleges, supported by participating companies.

Locally, Neighborhood Empowerment Through Technology (NETT), supported by the Winston-Salem Urban League and AT&T among many other partners, offers trainings to develop workforce skills (UWFC Place Matters grant). 

Combined comments: #1 (on-job training for high-school students) and #7 (more skilled jobs).  

  • Are there programs to teach engineering or math to those not great at it but interested? Teacher needs to be accessible to students (same color or with a poverty background.
  • Some schools don’t have [specific] programs like engineering.
  • How do we get our students into these schools where they can be taught these things?
  • Take the programs to specific neighborhoods.
  • A lot of local kids use the community college system, a very strong program. But what on the job training are we doing for modern jobs—like in banks?
  • People learn differently, some people can’t even get it at all, if you give person a chance and some incentives it could go far, but people should be unbiased in training, give people the drive to stick it out, keep people going through incentives.
  • We used to have this. We went to school half time and worked half time!
  • Went to school in upper New York – [had] career day, BOCES for auto mechanics, other skills, graduate with that title and job skills.
  • A lot of specialized programs are subject to budget cuts like school sports.
  • People train but then can’t get jobs that pay enough to raise them above the poverty line, Higher paying jobs aren’t out there to help families. Can  public/private cooperation create those jobs? We need them! Need to take chances.
  • Don’t see corporations taking chances or giving back a lot.
  • There used to be trade schools and weekly financial training programs (with internships after). That’s gone. Now it’s one course on financial literacy for one year, not nearly enough. Used to be a paternalistic community; work for Hanes, you’re set for life. Need a way to tell kids you need trained hands and mind. Not a lot of kids get foundational training anymore.
  • On the job training – wonderful.  We need mentorship…but also guaranteed jobs after.
  • The courses we had are all boiled down now; is that really suitable for our time and age?
  • Work at Reynolds as a contractual worker – receive no benefits and cheap pay.
  • We need programs where we need train skilled in hand and train skilled in mental side too.
  • We need foundational training for children.
  • How do we [pique] their interest?
  • How do we diversify curriculum?
  • Take the programs to the neighborhood.

2.  Align public transportation with irregular work schedules (3 impact; 17 combined).  As with Housing and Health items above, improved public transportation—focusing on people with unpredictable work schedules—can genuinely enhance employment opportunities.

Also as noted above, new bus routes are part of a broad effort to improve transportation links in the city/county.

Comments: (also see comments under Health #3)

  • Public transportation used to be a larger barrier than now. Bus routes provide adequate transport. Needs to be a transport system for people not on bus routes/live far from routes.
  • Incentivized aspect for business could be providing transportation to work.
  • If this program is installed, there needs to be a small deduction from pay in order to cover.
  • Friend that works for city transit says they are expanding routes, which is a good thing.
  • Only takes a Class B license to drive, but still need more buses and bus drivers.
  • Transportation system worth revamping with a stress on reliability and predictability, rather than waiting a full hour to get to a nearby location.
  • I think it’s already a reliable system.
  • Expand bus routes. Add a terminal hub on the other side of town to cut time in half spent on transfers and subsequent waiting for a new bus. Takes 2 hours to get to work via the bus.
  • New system to be implemented in January cuts Bethabara lines, making people walk to North Point to catch a bus.
  • Bus system is very inconvenient, acts as a barrier to networking and reaching jobs. Expand the bus system to address this.
  • Transportation systems. Fayetteville did not have transportation on Sundays, so it is convenient for Winston to have one.

3.  Financial literacy programs (4 impact; 10 combined). Publicly available programs teaching financial literacy/household budgeting are proven to enhance financial security and employment opportunities for people with incomes below the poverty line. Improving credit scores, retirement savings, and fiscal discipline are among the vital skills taught.

M&F Bank offers a ‘Financial Literacy Initiative’ which could be a model. Built around Money Smart (a federal program) and Teach Children to Save (Am. Bankers Assn.). The C4C Design Institute in January 2016 flagged more financial literacy programs as a desirable aim.

4.  Connect local organizations and high schools/technical schools (5 impact; 8 combined). Engage local nonprofit organizations, colleges, high schools, and businesses to provide fulfilling destinations for graduates of local high schools and technical schools. Schools aware of local employers’ needs can fine-tune curricula accordingly.

Some local discussion underway of government incentives for companies and nonprofits to hire directly from Forsyth Tech or local high schools. A dual-enrollment program exists in Forsyth County as well.


  • Local businesses/orgs connect to graduates of local high schools/technical schools
  • Graduation rates are not leading to meaningful jobs; I rate this idea a 10 overall.
  • Homeless with college degrees, GEDs etc. have nowhere to turn, leaving them on the streets. Unprepared for interviews because no accessibility to proper prep for gaining these jobs.
  • Great idea; exists to a degree with dual enrollment, but a lack of awareness on all ends, from parents to schools themselves. Increasing awareness is crucial to the success of the program.
  • Students need to be informed earlier in school to be prepared. There should be an apprentice program in combination with schools to lead to graduation with a degree & practical skills.
  • Excellent idea because too many kids out on the streets don’t know how to address adults; they need to be taught manners.
  • Depends on the type of employment. Needs to be at least $9/hour. If so, rate the program a 7.
  • Jobs at McDonalds can be found by people on their own and do not sustain their lives.
  • I rate this idea a 10. It would encourage children to stay in high school, and teach them responsibility and how to be productive in society. [It would] keep them out of trouble and give them a path to begin a career from a younger age.

5.  Publicize/incentivize second-chance employment (Ban the Box) (5 impact; 10 combined)

Winston-Salem was an early adopter of second-chance employment (Ban the Box), but many eligible job candidates and employers are unaware. Public forums on Ban the Box, along with targeted public-service announcements, could be cornerstones for wider adoption locally. 

At a C4C Design Institute in Jan. 2016, attendees identified barriers to people with criminal record as a key concern. The Shalom Project and Circles, joined more recently by a Wake Forest Law clinic, have worked to promote a ‘Ban the Box’ initiative for the past 18 months.

Comments: See ‘Ban the Box’ discussion under Housing #6 above.

6.  Subsidized childcare for parents seeking jobs and job training (5 impact; 34 combined). Program to assist low-income families who need child care, so unemployed parents are able to job-hunt or be trained.  Comparable programs vary in the length of time unemployed parents can use child care subsidies and how often job-search care can be approved in a given time period.

Local pilot programs along these lines include CiVIC Child Care Solutions and the Work Family Resource Center/TURN, both supported by UWFC Place Matters grants.


  • Subsidized childcare for job training/job hunting.
  • Childcare support is so important.
  • How do people show they are really looking for jobs? Might game the system.
  • A big barrier to finding and keeping jobs is having to take care of kids—this is promising. Where would the funds come from though?

7.  Enable more students to pursue skilled/trade jobs (7 impact; 17 combined).  Educate students (and parents) that skill-based jobs are a desirable employment option.  By changing secondary-school curricula as appropriate and reducing stigma at high schools, we can help more students find their passion early on. 

Discussion underway about this possibility with Superintendent Emory’s office; Goodwill also involved.

Comments:  See under #1 above.

8.  Incentivize businesses to hire locally (7 impact; 24 combined). City provides incentives for businesses to train/hire local citizens, keeping both investment and wages in Winston-Salem.  Helps enhance the local environment for small businesses, creating more opportunities locally.

State-funded economic incentives for job creation, such as the arrangement reached this fall with Corning, could include requirements (or requests) to train and hire local residents.


  • Incentivize businesses to hire local citizens
  • Important to keep the employment after the incentive ends.
  • This should entail government [subsidies], and the businesses providing adequate training for the jobs themselves.
  • This is as good idea but not as good as connecting local businesses with schools; we need to focus on the students who are the future of Winston.

9. Link affordable housing to public transportation (9 impact; 38 combined). Public-private program addressing our affordable-housing shortage by creating units accessible to bus services. Funding sources might include the city’s allocation under HUD’s Community Development Block Grant program, housing set-aside funds from tax revenues, and fees from developers who opt not to create affordable units.

Such a model has been adopted in Mountain View, California.  Some discussion locally about collaboration between Housing Authority and transportation officials.

Comments: also see Health #3, on improving transit

  • People have jobs but lack transportation. They have to walk to catch the bus and can’t get it, so a pay-for-transportation system is the perfect means to address this.
  • How does transportation limit participation in public housing?
  • Are spaces for new affordable housing available on bus lines? I can’t tell how this program would work exactly.

 10.  Match job training/skills programs with local jobs (10 impact; 15 combined).  City should partner with entities like Goodwill Industries to better match training programs with desired skills identified by local firms.

Discussions underway with Goodwill and Forsyth Tech, among others, to help ensure that current companies can fill vacancies. Goodwill leaders should also be present in Chamber of Commerce meetings as well as in efforts to attract new companies locally.


  • What are projected jobs for county? We don’t want to train people for a job now that will be gone by the time they’re done [training]. Need to figure out what will be necessary.
  • Where will jobs be located? Our area lacks jobs and leadership, not because people won’t fulfill those positions, WE NEED JOBS. [World Cafés] are great, but if there are no jobs in your community what good is it? I watched an undeveloped area flourish when jobs went there. Love topics and ability to communicate, but why isn’t the building we’re in a few miles down the road? Takes a strong individual to look around a broken community and want to succeed.
  • The city is growing, it’s just not growing for us. All the things created by grandparents began to disintegrate, elders throwing their hands up. Gave up. Why do I pay taxes if I can’t be given the same things that other citizens are given on other side of town?  Not that mayor or councilmen don’t know, they know, these ideas may be put together.
  • What can we put together? JOBS!
  • Food deserts in communities? Train people to work there. Any issues, need people to work there. Our leaders can control this: set up a food store! Need to train people to work? Train them! But people make choices not to put those things in the communities.
  • Medical Centers and grocery stores in low income communities would create jobs for poorer communities.
  • Need high-speed internet cable near poorer neighborhoods; people can work from home.
  • Businesses come to community = train new people and work.  A cycle of work, re-invest.
  • Businesses in mind do not put businesses in these neighborhoods.
  • What are the projected jobs for people?
  • Don’t train people for jobs that could be gone; train them for jobs that will be available in the future.
  • Job training sounds wonderful, what better way to run a company than to have someone from a company do the training, for security of company and jobs for people?
  • On the job training is good as long as guaranteed job after.
  • Matching local jobs with people, need to identify local jobs, so many of them require several degrees, different to match local jobs to people because where are the local jobs!
  • We have to locate the jobs in the cities.
  • [Job] requirements have become higher than before.
  • Local jobs aren’t local because the expectations are too high.
  • For service industry jobs, which we mostly have now, the pay is not as high.
  • Where have the programs gone: welding, automotive care, mechanics, specialization?
  • How do we create jobs that provide opportunities to get families and individuals over the poverty line? Jobs, training: employers need to step up.
  • Where will these jobs be? (And where did the older jobs go?)
  • All the things on the list are great, but how can we make poorer neighborhoods better? Areas getting left behind because lack of resources and care.
  • How can individuals want to get better if everything around them screams “You are nothing!”
  • What is happening in our city: it is not growing?  Resources that the Black community had to gather around [have] begun to disintegrate.

11. Year-round work for seasonal employees (10 impact; 54 combined). Incentivize employers, including farms, schools/colleges, and retailers, who systematically lay off workers during summer months or off-season, to retain these workers in some capacity year round. Creating flex schedules or finding alternative opportunities would provide stability and year-round income. 

This topic was discusssed at a C4C Design Institute, in the context of living-wage jobs.


  • Not my top issue but I can see why this would matter.

It’s hard to know where money would come from for schools to do this. Teachers do OK in the summer I think, but maybe this isn’t about teachers.·        

12.  Avoid “Benefits Cliff”; phase out benefits incrementally (11 impact; 38 combined).  Even as raising the minimum wage attempts to serve low-wage workers, a slightly higher paycheck can cause workers to lose their federal benefits, including SNAP funds or housing subsidies. Support for phasing out benefits incrementally while slowly increasing the minimum wage would avoid this drastic ‘benefits cliff’ that may disincentivize work.

“Benefits cliff” comes up in various community conversations on poverty; no group specifically working on a solution that the Thought Force is aware.

General Comments relating to Jobs/Workforce

  • Should be a team of people that [go] to shelters or downtown to complete survey and understand specific situations for the homeless who have qualifications but no jobs.
  • Education aspect is key from an early age to train necessary skills to move up in the work force, not just be stuck at minimum wage in poverty.
  • Apprenticeship programs to give means of progressing.
  • Childcare costs for facilities are a huge barrier that bar qualified people from pursuing their jobs, so alleviating those costs would free up a huge section of the workforce that currently doesn’t work.
  • Disabilities are a big issue in getting jobs.
  • Getting a response is a big issue. People are active in the job search, but the response is absent. You don’t get replies as to why you didn’t get the job.
  • Need more help in the networking department, as networking is what gets you places.
  • Give more people second chances.
  • We need to come together as a community and create connections, like by knocking on doors and asking if people need help. Call community meetings in each neighborhood.
  • Need a book of resources.
  • Concentrate efforts on one goal and promote that: put all support into that goal.
  • Job fairs with local businesses to encourage hiring local through incentive program.
  • Increase shift numbers in factories from 2 shifts to 3 daily, creating more jobs, especially in jobs where productivity is key.
  • Child care is a barrier to work for qualified people. Cut out daycare vouchers requiring a job as a prerequisite for day care when it should be reversed.
  • Efforts must be for the people and BY the people, can’t just be one person’s problem [to solve], it’s our problem. Need to work together. Must see past racial or financial or religious, de-escalate WHOLE situation, step forward together, only way to get anything done. Maybe one person can make a difference but need a whole lot of people behind him. A child’s first learning is parents: good fathering is important, & need to be able to have good jobs to take care of their kids. Need good environment and good neighbors.
  • I am shut out of jobs I am properly trained to do because I don’t have the experience but how can I get that experience?
  • At my high school in Rochester they always had a career day—we should do that.
  • What if you have the skills but just did not get job? What can we do to secure a job?
  • How can communities rise & find jobs? ACCOUNTABILITY.

Comments on: “What advice would you give to people stuck in poverty seeking jobs?”

  • Develop skills based on their talents.
  • Go to school and get educated about everything; specifically learn computer skills and about the transportation system.
  • Go to the library, take free computer classes, make schedules, visit social workers.
  • We have a strong technical community college. Use the resources available.
  • Need better communication about services. Make them visible and make opportunities stand out. These opportunities should be everywhere, use social media to promote.
  • It is about who you know in Winston-Salem: nearly impossible to get jobs where you are qualified because you don’t know a supervisor in the company/business. Networking events need to be improved/created in order to help with this barrier.
  • No one will have the opportunity for free housing and food stamps depending on who is elected in this next cycle. I worry that food stamps will be cut; food banks will become scarce because so many people are dependent on food stamps.
  • Subsidized housing areas are nearly impossible to get out of.
  • Take into account that there are many different types of people (the way they talk, their hygiene, etc.).