A low-cost apartment complex in Provo, UT was seen as a strain on city resources, particularly on the police and fire departments. The administration determined that residents of the complex had high rates of poverty, mental health issues and lacked a sense of community. An on-site mentoring program was proposed which would teach self-sufficiency, problem-solving and family skills.
The Circles Initiative was chosen as a methodology for volunteers to arm residents with the tools and knowledge to escape poverty. The focus on the initiative is on empowering individuals to become responsible for their own futures, and the national results of Circles Initiatives show that every $1 spent on the Circles program returns $2 in welfare and food stamps subsidies to the state and returns $4 to the community in earned income. The program has functioned well under budget and is expected to continue well into the future with no further costs.
This case study was nominated for ICMA's Annual Awards Program.