Photographs from the Community Service Society Records, 1900-1920

Welfare > Introduction

Since their founding, both COS and AICP developed a range of programs to combat urban poverty and unemployment. In 1907 COS founded the Department for the Improvement of Social Conditions in order “to assist persons who through no choice of their own are out of work in finding employment suited to their powers, and to bring those who prefer idleness to a perception of the indispensability of work.” AICP’s Relief Bureau had a similar mission. Both organizations attempted to bring the poor and unemployed into the workforce by providing them with jobs and education, rather than giving direct financial support to those out of work. In one significant exception to this policy, AICP and COS provided pensions for mothers and widows in need, which accounted for roughly 25 percent of both organization’s operating budgets by 1910. 

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