This page is an excerpt from the full Charity Zone Plan. The full plan document, including a detailed breakdown of the potential savings and benefits, is available as a PDF file.
The primary goal of this plan is to replace portions of public welfare with private charity.
The federal debt exceeds 18 trillion dollars and is expected to surpass 22 trillion in the next five years. Two thirds of the annual expenditure is to care for the sick, hungry, elderly and poor. Yet, poverty continues to affect one in six Americans.
Many serving in both the public and private sectors carry a vision of resolving poverty in the lives of the poor. However, legislators are often caught in a tension between the desire to realize a balanced budget and ensuring the poor in America are cared for. Similarly, church members and charity workers in cities across the nation give sacrificially to care for the poor in their communities and also share the vision of national fiscal soundness.
Shifting more responsibility of caring for the poor to local private means benefits both the public and private sectors. The shift would reduce welfare expenditure and increase effectiveness as localized help is more accurately and efficiently delivered to the poor in a community. More so, many of the poor would be encouraged and empowered to escape the grip of poverty.
- Establish a new 501(c) “Association of Charities” for groups of churches and charities to associate for the explicit purpose of replacing some welfare with private charity
- Pilot the program in select cities that qualify as Charity Zones. Qualification would be dependent on number of charities in the association per capita, ability to deliver targeted goods/services, collaboration, health and safety oversight, work training and a shared case management program.
- Pass pilot program legislation that allows funds from the targeted welfare program to be redirected in the form of tax credits to qualifying zones.
- Phase tax credits out over time to realize savings from the corresponding reduction in state spending.
- Local social service offices in a Charity Zone continue to vet all welfare applicants, deferring some to the Association of Charities depending on phase.
- Phases would progress in succession from less vulnerable to those more vulnerable and would include applicants for the SNAP, TANF and LIHEAP programs.
Baseline data in the areas of housing, employment, health and education would be gathered from clients. Case managers would assist clients in establishing goals with reassessment as needed to monitor progress. The dollar amount of benefits for which the client qualified prior to referral to the Association of Charities would be captured, representing savings less tax credits awarded that year. Statewide Missouri participation in phase I (homeless/SNAP) would exceed 27 million dollars in year one.