Who are the Deserving Poor?

If you’ve grown up in the United States, chances are you’ve been conditioned to trust that your individual success is earned through hard work. But if this is the case, what do we make of the millions of Americans who struggle with poverty, hunger, and job insecurity? Who is to blame for poverty? What qualities or conditions allow a person to be considered “deserving” of government and community support? Join facilitator Erica Tucker for a conversation that explores our beliefs about poverty and asks us to consider our assumptions about who should—and shouldn’t—be eligible for support.


Erica Tucker | Portland

Erica Tucker is a Portland native whose curiosity about social conditions grew while witnessing family struggle with substance abuse and society’s intolerance of her biracial identity. This led to her work at nonprofit organizations and schools, with children experiencing domestic violence and mental health barriers. She received her master’s in social work from Portland State University and continues to be an active member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.—a community-conscious, action-oriented organization. Currently, she works in the world of affordable housing, managing the resident services program at REACH Community Development. She feeds her passion for curiosity and challenging conversations as a poverty trainer and the lead of her organization’s trauma-informed care team.

Program Themes

Economics , Food , Health

Equipment Needs