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Poverty and the Recession in NC: Challenges and Opportunities

by UNC School of Law

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The UNC Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity's annual conference convened state and national experts to examine domestic poverty in light of the current economic crisis. The Hon. Joe Hackney, Speaker of the N.C. House of Representatives and President of the National Conference of State Legislatures delivered the keynote address, providing insight into the political process behind the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and setting the stage for the panel to follow. Panel One looked at the current picture of national poverty: its geography, its rural manifestations, its impact on racial and ethnic minorities in particular and how the recession--and responses to it--are operating on the ground. Speakers wereAlan Berube (Brookings Institution); Cynthia "Mil" Duncan (Carsey Institute, University of New Hampshire); Margaret C. Simms (Urban Institute); and Karl Stauber (Danville Regional Foundation). The panel was moderated by Deborah Weissman (UNC School of Law). A powerful lunchtime address on bankruptcy and foreclosure reform was delivered was delivered by the The Hon. Brad Miller, US Representative for the 13th District of North Carolina. Panel Two switched the focus to North Carolina and the impact of the recession here. Speakers were Yolanda Burwell (NC Rural Economic Development Center); Chris Estes (NC Housing Coalition); Chris Fitzsimon (NC Policy Watch); George Hausen (Legal Aid of North Carolina); Mark McDaniel (UNC Center for Community Capital); and Alexandra Sirota (Action for Children NC). The panel was moderated by Ferrel Guillory (UNC Program on Public Life). Panel Three examined solutions to the crisis. Speakers were Andrea Bazan (Triangle Community Foundation); David Dodson (MDC, Inc.); James H. Johnson Jr. (UNC Urban Investment Strategies Center); Adam Searing (Health Access Coalition, NC Justice Center); Eric Stein (Self-Help/Center for Responsible Lending). The panel was moderated by Gene Nichol (UNC School of Law and Director, UNC Poverty Center).