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‘Narrowing the Wealth Gap’ is Topic of Presentation

Alan Barry

The Retired Men’s Association of Greenwich (RMA) will host Alan Barry, Ph.D. speaking on “Safety Net to Self-Sufficiency: Narrowing the Wealth Gap“ on Wednesday, Feb. 12 at 11 a.m.

Barry, Commissioner of Human Services, will discuss the measures he advocates for breaking the cycle of poverty in Greenwich. He will focus on the need for better tools to measure poverty. Current tools do not address issues related to the cost of living. Dr. Barry will also stress the need to provide support to families and children for success in school. He notes the lack of participation by minority students in Greenwich school activities: “This reflects the current growing disenfranchisement of low income, mostly minority people in our community.” He believes the problem can be addressed through collaborative efforts in the community. The Department of Human Service agencies, the Greenwich school system, and community organizations could work together to assist clients who are seeking higher education to broaden their employment opportunities.

Historically, the Greenwich Department of Human Services functioned as a safety-net agency. Case workers worked with clients to determine if they met income requirements for financial assistance and benefit programs. Since joining the Department of Human Services Dr. Barry has helped to revise its mission and strategic plan, promoting services that foster client self-sufficiency. This approach helps clients with short-term financial assistance while linking them with community-based services that will lead to self-sufficiency. An important element of this transformation is to emphasize the importance of education and employment counseling services in achieving clients’ goals.

Dr. Barry earned a Master’s degree in Social Work and a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration from St. Louis University. He has over 35 years of healthcare administration experience. He joined the Greenwich Department of Human Services as Commissioner in 2010. Earlier he served as Associate Director for the Southwest Connecticut Mental Health System (DMHAS). Dr. Barry has held executive leadership positions in the private for-profit, not-for-profit, and public sectors.

The program takes place at the First Presbyterian Church, 1 West Putnam Ave. The Greenwich Retired Men’s Association offers a free program every Wednesday that is open to the public; no reservations are required. For additional information, visit greenwichrma.org or contact info@greenwichrma.org

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