United Way Helps Americans Achieve Financial Stability
As many as one-third of working Americans do not earn enough money to meet their basic needs. In Chenango County, almost one out of every two families is struggling to afford their basic needs.1 Wages have not kept pace with the rising cost of housing, healthcare, and education and currently and 40 million Americans are working in low-paying jobs without basic health, dental, vision or retirement benefits. For families walking a financial tightrope, unable to save for college, a home, or retirement, United Way is here to help.
In 2008, United Way initiated an ambitious 10-year plan to cut in half the number of lower-income families who are financially unstable. With your help, we believe that by 2018 we can help 1.9 million working families get on the road to economic independence.
Our National Strategy
To address the obstacles that prevent hard working families from getting ahead financially, United Way of America launched the Financial Stability Partnership™, an initiative that promotes community-change strategies to help families meet their basic needs, while gaining the financial capability to plan for, and accomplish, their long-term financial goals.
Over 300 United Ways and their local community partners are engaged in activities and initiatives to meet the basic needs of families and then help move those families toward self-sufficiency and stability within their communities.
Our Local Work: Chenango County
The Chenango United Way works to ensure that all families can first meet their basic needs. Before anyone can perform well in school or at a job, before someone can adress their addiction or mental health issues, or before someone can be a caregiver to others, one must have food ijn their belly and a safe and warm place to lay their head.
- The Chenango United Way partners with more than 14 food pantries and soup kitchens across Chenango County to feed more than 6,600 individuals each year. Our collaboration with the national Emergency Food & Shelter Program (EFSP) allows federal dollars to be allocated into our community to help fund these pantries and kitchens. These monies are then used to purchase food at a deeply discounted rate for those at most in our community.
- In fall 2016, United Way of NYS released a statewide report showing that 45% of Chenango County families are struggling to afford their basic needs. This includes costs such as childcare, housing, food, transportation, and healthcare. 2. While 15% of Chenango County's families are living below the federal poverty line, 30% of families represent the ALICE - Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed- those families or individuals who are working but still are not making enough to cover all of their necessary costs. These families must make difficult decisions every day about how and where to spend their limited resources and many are just one paycheck or accident/sick day away from financial disaster. The Chenhango United Way is partnering with our Income Community Impact Team (CIT)- a collaborative group of local non-profits, churches, government agencies and businesses- to look at the ALICE report data and develop long-term strategies for breaking down the barriers facing families seeking financial stability.
- The Chenango United Way has also been facilitating conversations within the Income Community Impact Team (CIT) for the past 18 months regarding the issue of transportation as an access barrier to employment and non-emergency medical appointments.
How You Can Help
Volunteer at your local food pantry or soup kitchen! Most are run solely on volunteers and could use you help. If you need to know if there is one in your neighborhood, give us a call! Volunteers also make local tax assistance and financial education programs possible. They need your help, even if you don’t have an accounting background. We have a strong relationship with the VITA programs (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) in Madison and Chenango Counties. Call our office to volunteer or find out more!
1. ALICE Report: New York, Fall 2016, p 222; 2. ALICE Report: New York, Fall 2016, p. 222