Community Assets First: The implications of the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach for the Coalition agenda

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The Sustainable Livelihoods Approach (SLA) is an analytical model that seeks to build on the existing assets and strategies that people living in poverty use to support themselves, and then to identify what needs to change in order for their livelihoods to become more secure and sustainable. The SLA takes as its starting point not deprivation but assets: the strengths and capabilities of people living in poverty, and the strategies they use, through drawing on these different assets, to 'get by'. Since 2005, Oxfam and Church Action on Poverty have been working with local partners to pilot the approach with people living in different low-income communities across the UK. Based on this experience, the authors - IPPR North, Urban Forum, Oxfam, and Church Action on Poverty - explore the benefits of taking a Sustainable Livelihoods Approach to public policy aspects such as welfare reform, job creation, housing and provision of local services and urge policy-makers, researchers and practitioners to use the SLA in designing anti-poverty work.