Certain urban neighborhoods in Sacramento are losing ground in economic security, which impacts the social and economic health of the region. Addressing a multi-faceted and complicated basic need systems requires a collaborative, community-wide, data-driven, and systematic response that Valley Vision is uniquely equipped to deliver. Valley Vision’s Board of Directors approved a new Urban Jobs Initiative in 2017 to tackle the problems associated with concentrated poverty in the region. With a 10-year time horizon, our commitment to upend economic insecurity in Sacramento’s most vulnerable neighborhoods is Valley Vision’s first self-initiated program of work.

What is the goal?

Reduce poverty within neighborhoods that are affected most by concentrated poverty.

Why is this important?

Concentrated poverty, or neighborhoods where more than 40 percent of the population falls below the federal poverty threshold and often refers to neighborhoods that have become racially and economically segregated from the rest of the community, affects 83,674 residents in Sacramento County. This level of poverty within a neighborhood impacts crime rates, access to healthy food, housing, and education, and limits social mobility for generations to come. Through an intensive Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNAs) conducted for 17 different hospital service areas in 2016 across the Capital Region, economic insecurity was cited as a prevalent concern in 77 percent of all interviews and focus groups. In fact,Valley Vision’s analysis of community health indicators revealed that a lack of economic security is the most pressing Basic Needs health issue in the Sacramento region. Economic security is an individual’s or family’s ability to maintain financial income that supports an acceptable quality of life.

How does this improve people’s lives?

Residents of neighborhoods in concentrated poverty have fewer opportunities and often have been left behind in the economy. The Urban Jobs Initiative will address the needs of those who face barriers and lack the opportunities to reach their full potential. The Urban Jobs Initiative is intended to improve access to job training and access to opportunities, in addition to increasing neighborhood investments. Many economic development actions do not create opportunities across all skill levels and do not reach our most vulnerable populations. Aligning investments and services can help increase capacity to address social inequity issues associated with poverty.

What is Valley Vision’s role?

Through our work in health, workforce and economic development, environmental sustainability, and access to food, education and the Internet, Valley Vision has been addressing the multiple dimensions of social equity for more than 20 years. In 2016, Valley Vision’s Community Health Needs Assessments analysis points to factors such as poverty, housing, education or food access as the primary indicators that have a significant “downstream” effect on community health. Beginning in 2017, Valley Vision set in motion a new, systematic approach to increase opportunities for residents and investments in neighborhoods (improve the lift) and reduce burdens and improve services (decrease the drag).

What is our desired impact?

To reduce poverty in the neighborhoods that are affected by concentrated poverty by setting collaborative long term goals and metrics, increasing alignment of action, making strategic investments, and initiating projects with near-term impacts to respond to immediate needs.


This initiative was approved by the Valley Vision Board in Fall 2016 and launched in early 2017. Valley Vision adopted the Urban Jobs Initiative as a long-term (10 year +) commitment.

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