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 WHAT: PRESS CONFERENCE TO ANNOUNCE THE SELF-SUFFICIENCY STANDARD FOR NEW 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 welfare. 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 Self-Sufficiency.
SOURCE United Way of New York City