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PCCEO President: Good jobs will end cyclical poverty on South End

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PEORIA (WEEK) -- The president of a Peoria non-profit said a revitalization of the South End starts with employment. McFarland Bragg added that nothing will change until residents have access to good jobs with livable wages.

25 News sat down with Bragg after the Washington Post profiled a Peorian's struggle to live on a limited income.

"People have to work, they got to have a job that will pay them a livable wage that will allow them to take care of their families. Until that happens, this is going to be around for a while," said Bragg.

PCCEO is an organization that "promotes self sufficiency and economic security."

"We provide energy assistance, we provide rental and mortgage assistance…essentially what would be considered emergency services, that's what we do," said Bragg.

During the pandemic, several non-profits have continued to provide help to those most impacted. This week, the city is joining the effort to help those who can't keep up with their bills. A total of $300,000 has been dedicated to the Utility Assistance Program, providing up to six consecutive months of payments for delinquent electric, gas, or water bills to approved applicants.

Bragg stressed that all these services are a temporary fix, jobs are still the ultimate answer. He said past "round table' talks have always fizzled, and non-profits, city leaders, and employers all need to commit, and then act.

"A collective will to provide employment opportunities for individuals that will allow them to take care of their families," he said.

Andy Weber

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