“While the professional services provided by public and nonprofit agencies are important, they are neither a sufficient nor ideal way to meet all the needs of residents in low-income communities. The reach of these agencies is limited, both by the available revenue and because they are crisis- and deficit-oriented, so that people generally delay turning to them until problems have become severe. Moreover, much of the simple but essential day-to-day assistance that those with money can purchase, but those with limited incomes cannot — a babysitter or home repairs — fall outside the purview of these agencies. Meanwhile, in most distressed neighborhoods, a huge reservoir of potential service and mutual support goes untapped. Fear of crime keeps people isolated behind locked doors, and society’s disrespect, manifest in the conditions that surround them, leave people questioning their own value and abilities. Overcoming these barriers and unleashing the natural caring and capacity of residents to help one another are a critical part of restoring communities so that children and their families can thrive.”
The history of Grace Hill Settlement House’s Member Organized Resource Exchange (MORE) is a case study of historical significance to all whom would advocate for the engagement of timebanking as a tool within the broader social and human service infrastructure in the United States. While you can read a more expansive study of their history in “Member Organized Resource Exchange: A Guide to Replication“, this summary of their work assembled by Annie E. Casey Foundation serves as a helpful introduction to the background, impact, and ongoing influence of MORE in the work of cultivating coproductive social economies composed of the residents whom live and work within the community. Although the model in modern times seems somewhat diminished from its former stature, there is an argument to be made that the type of social energy existing on the ground for efforts such as Cowry Collective and Solidarity Economy St. Louis might not exist were it not for the transformational work of MORE in cultivating this dynamic model for mobilizing community resources. Click the link below to learn more about Grace Hill’s model.
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