A Single Parent With Two Children in New York City Needs an Income of More Than $44,000 to Make It Out of Poverty, Says New Report

United Way of NYC in Partnership with The Women's Center for Education

and Career Advancement & Wider Opportunities for Women Collaborate

to Raise Awareness

Sep 13, 2000, 01:00 ET from United Way of New York City

    NEW YORK, Sept. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- In order for a single parent in
 Brooklyn, New York with one pre-schooler and one school-age child to
 make it out of poverty, he or she must earn a minimum of $44,592 per
 year -- without any government or private support, according to a new study,
 "The Self-Sufficiency Standard for the City of New York."  That same family
 would need to earn $44,208 in the Bronx, $46,728 in Staten Island, $46,836 in
 Queens, $48,048 in Upper Manhattan and $74,232 in Lower Manhattan while the
 federal poverty level for this family is $14,150.
     The report, issued today by The Women's Center for Education and Career
 Advancement and Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW) in partnership with United
 Way of New York City (UWNYC) and The New York Community Trust, was written by
 Dr. Diana Pearce of the University of Washington and Jennifer Brooks, of WOW.
     "Unfortunately, many families do not earn self-sufficiency wages,
 particularly if they have recently entered the workforce," said Dr. Diana
 Pearce, the report's lead author.  "They cannot afford their housing and food
 and child care, much less their other basic needs, forcing them to make
 painful choices between necessities, or to accept substandard or inadequate
 child care, insufficient food, or substandard housing."
     Unlike the Federal Poverty Standard, "The Self-Sufficiency Standard for
 the City of New York," charts the actual cost of living and working in New
 York City.  It measures how much a family must earn to pay for housing, food,
 childcare and other basic necessities -- if they do not receive any help from
 friends, relatives or the government -- based on the ages, as well as, number
 of children in each household, and where the family lives.  The report also
 measures the impact of subsidies from employers and governmental agencies in
 the quest for families to sustain economic self-sufficiency.
     The Report compares the Self-Sufficiency Standard for the City of New York
 to the city welfare (TANF) grant and Food Stamps, the federal poverty line,
 minimum wage and median family income.  It demonstrates that for most
 families, earnings above the official poverty line fall short of what is
 needed to meet their basic needs.  To bridge the wage gap, the report
 recommends two basic strategies: raise wages and/or reduce costs through
 supports -- public and/or private, in cash or in kind.  These two approaches
 are not mutually exclusive, but can be used simultaneously or sequentially.
     Three issues are identified that will help families maintain their
 economic independence including access to: training and education, affordable
 childcare and affordable housing.  For example, a parent can receive some
 education and training, followed by childcare, health care and other subsidies
 in initially low-wage jobs until wages reach self-sufficiency level.
     "For the past three years, UWNYC has funded programs through our Targeted
 Needs Fund that are specifically designed to help people achieve and maintain
 self-sufficiency," said Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, senior vice president and chief
 executive for human services, United Way of New York City.  "Issuing the
 Self-Sufficiency Standard helps us to clearly define what it takes for various
 family sizes to live independently."
     United Way of New York City's Targeted Needs Fund was created to
 facilitate timely responses to critical needs as they emerge.  The
 organization initially has targeted childcare, eldercare and services for the
 disabled.  For example, in the area of childcare, UWNYC is investing
 $1.3 million over two years in a variety of initiatives designed to: expand
 the network of family day care providers in neighborhoods across New York
 City, upgrade the childcare workforce through better education and training,
 provide better information on affordable, quality childcare opportunities and
 build a more cohesive and coordinated childcare system in New York City.
     To obtain copies of the Report please contact the Women's Center for
 Education and Career Advancement at 212-964-8934.  The Self-Sufficiency
 Standard has been calculated for twelve other states (California, Connecticut,
 Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina,
 Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Texas) and the District of Columbia
 metropolitan area.
     The Women's Center for Education and Career Advancement is a 30-year-old
 nonprofit organization committed to the career and economic self-sufficiency
 of African-American and other women in the New York City metropolitan area.
 The Women's Center targets low-income women with serious barriers to workforce
 participation.  Through job readiness programs, individual and group sessions,
 work experience internships, certification for free skills training and other
 services, the Center utilizes advocacy and a holistic approach to help women
 build competencies and develop strategies for setting and meeting lifetime
 career and economic goals.
     Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW) is a 36-year-old national women's
 employment organization that works to achieve economic independence and
 equality of opportunity for women and girls.  WOW coordinates the Workforce
 Network- a network of women's service and training organizations in all
 50 states-that reaches more than million women and girls every year.  WOW has
 been a leader in the areas of nontraditional employment, literacy and
 welfare-to-work strategies for more than three decades.
     Last year, United Way of New York City's total revenue was $124 million
 that supported more than 800 nonprofit health and human service organizations
 helping people in every city neighborhood.  Its network of agencies range from
 large citywide organizations, such as local chapters of the American Red Cross
 and the Salvation Army, to small grassroots organizations anchored in
 inner-city neighborhoods such as the Miracle Makers of Bedford-Stuyvesant, and
 the New York Asian Woman's Center located on the Lower Eastside of Manhattan.
 UWNYC has one of the lowest administrative overheads of any major charity,
 with more than 87 cents of every dollar contributed going to help people lead
 self-sufficient and productive lives.
     Since 1924, The New York Community Trust has been the community foundation
 of the New York metropolitan area, an aggregate of 1,400 funds created by
 charitable individuals, families, and corporations, to improve the quality of
 life for all the area's residents.  Grants made from these funds meet the
 changing needs of children, youth, and families; aid in community development;
 improve the environment; promote health; assist people with special needs; and
 support education, arts, and the humanities.  In 1999, The Trust made grants
 of $130 million from assets of $2 billion.
                New Study Defines the Amount of Income Necessary
                       To Live and Work in New York City
          Working Families and Experts from Around the Nation Will Be
                   Available to Describe This Important Issue
            YORK CITY
            Announcement: what the actual costs are to live and work in New
            York City.  The standard will define the amount of income necessary
            to meet basic needs.
     WHERE: UNITED WAY OF NEW YORK CITY - 2 Park Avenue, New York City
     WHEN:  WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2000 - 10:30 A.M. - 11:30 A.M.
     WHO:   Speakers at the Press Conference:
            Single Parents and Working Families will be present to describe
            what they are doing to become self-sufficient and remain off
            Dr. Diana Pearce, author of the Self-Sufficiency Standard for New
            York City, teaches at the School of Social Work, University of
            Washington in Seattle, Washington. Recognized for coining the
            phrase "the feminization of poverty."
            Merble Harrington Reagon, Executive Director of the Women's Center
            for Education and Career Advancement, Inc.
            Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, is the Senior Vice President and Chief
            Executive for Agency Services of United Way of New York City
            (UWNYC). She has served as a Commissioner of the New York City
            Human Resources Administration.
            Jennifer Brooks is the Director of Self-Sufficiency Programs and
            Policy for Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW). Ms. Brooks has
            worked on the Self-Sufficiency Standards for seven states through
            her work on WOW's State Organizing Project for Family Economic

SOURCE United Way of New York City