Last year here at United Way, we launched a new Strategic Plan and committed to lifting 50,000 people out of poverty. How will we do this? By accelerating our work to build financial stability. Here’s why:
- 60% of households experienced a financial shock in the last 12 months
- The typical American household can’t raise $400 in an emergency without borrowing money or selling possessions
- If low-income people are unable to come up with money needed to handle these financial crises
- they fall into payday loan cycles
- they rack up credit card debt
- engage in other predatory financial services
- all of which can lead to increased poverty and homelessness!
Our community is facing a homelessness crisis and 12% of our neighbors struggle with poverty. We know we need to do more to prevent people from becoming homeless and to quickly move people into housing. Accelerating our financial stability work is the answer.
Millions of unclaimed benefits and resources
To increase financial and housing stability for low-income people they need:
- Access to emergency financial assistance
- Income supports
- Financial products designed to build savings and credit
Over the last 10 years, United Way designed an effective model of connecting low-income people to public benefits, income supports, and savings opportunities. For example, our Free Tax Preparation Campaign reached 22,000 low-income tax payers this year and generated nearly $30 million in refunds.
How did we do ths?! By leveraging partnerships with the business community, deploying Americorps members, and investing resources to tackle barriers like those outlined above.
Now we are ready to take those efforts to scale with a brand new program.
Breaking Down Barriers
The new program will bring our model to College Campuses and Community agencies to help low-income students and people experiencing homelessness meet their educational and career goals.
Increasing the number of low-income students who complete certificate, degree, and apprenticeship programs is a proven strategy for moving people out of poverty.
Vulnerable low-income students don’t complete educational programs many bariers like:
- Being homeless
- Not having enough food to eat
- Lack of transportation
- Limited opportunities to build savings
- Low or no access emergency financial assistance to handle financial shocks
National research shows that increasing access to these supports through coordinated on campus outreach and enrollment can build financial stability and increase retention and graduation rates.
We are excited about this new effort to help people become more financially stable.
Are you ready to jump on board and help build financial stability? Apply to serve on our Housing-Ready, Crisis-Resilient Americorps team today or contact Lauren McGowan to learn about partnership opportunities.