Author: Hannah Jarrett, Community Impact Associate at United Way of the Piedmont
The United Way of the Piedmont’s Financial Stability Task Force recently shared local data on poverty and announced its mission to move 2,000 families on to the path to self-sufficiency in 2,000 days.
The gap between poverty and self-sufficiency in Spartanburg County is daunting. The Federal Poverty Level (FPL) is currently set at $19,073 for a family of three, while the annual self-sufficient salary for a single parent with an infant and preschooler is $43,092. The Self Sufficiency Standard takes into account the costs families face on a daily basis – housing, food, child care, out-of-pocket medical expenses, transportation, and other necessary spending. This means that many families in Spartanburg not classified as living at the FPL are struggling to earn enough income to escape poverty and become self-sufficient.
Over 50,000 Spartanburg County residents face this type of struggle – with overall poverty rates of 18% and child poverty rates of 28%. According to the Harvard Equality of Opportunity Project that looked at income mobility in certain geographic areas, children who grow up in poverty in our region are highly likely to live in poverty as adults.
Despite the fact that poverty is a cross-cutting indicator, no single organization in our community could be identified as the leader of the cause. United Way has stepped up to the challenge – conducting an in-depth needs assessment and convening a Financial Stability Task Force in partnership with 25 nonprofits, businesses, and churches to implement best practices that will increase opportunities for self-sufficiency for impoverished families in Spartanburg County.
The Task Force will implement strategies that change current systems to be more effective, affordable, and accessible. Areas of focus include:
2.Job training & employment
3.Criminal background checks & drug screenings for employment
4.Affordable, quality child care for second & third shift workers
5.Personal motivation & accountability
To find out more information about United Way’s Financial Stability Initiative, the Task Force, and the poverty data collected through the needs assessment, please visit our website.