Financial Stability Taskforce 2018-01-09T13:27:59+00:00

FINANCIAL STABILITY TASKFORCE

United Way of the Piedmont launched the Financial Stability Initiative in April 2016 to better address poverty in our three-county footprint in a collaborative and innovative way. The initiative is led by a Financial Stability Task Force made up of 25 leaders from all sectors of the community. The mission of the Task Force is to move 2,000 families on to the path to self-sufficiency in 2,000 days.

2,000 in 2,000 Countdown
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The 2,000 in 2,000 challenge is a recipe for community change. The goal is to break the cycle of poverty by ensuring families have the skills and assets needed for long-term success, or self-sufficiency. We are doing this by building partnerships and implementing data-driven, place-based strategies that change the current system to be more effective, affordable, and accessible.

HISTORY & PROCESS

United Way of the Piedmont realized that through the Community Investment Process nearly 75% of the resources earmarked for Financial Stability were allocated to the Safety Net services, leaving only 25% to invest in programs that help families acquire and manage resources at the self-sufficient level. Understanding the importance of equally investing in programs on both ends of the spectrum, the Board of the United Way decided to launch the Financial Stability Initiative.

To help inform this work, United Way, with the support of a $15,000 grant from the Mary Black Foundation, conducted a detailed needs assessment of poverty and financial stability in Spartanburg, Cherokee, and Union Counties. The needs assessment included:

  • Fourteen (14) diverse focus groups with 200 providers, community members, and consumers of services related to financial stability
  • One-on-one interviews with 50 key stakeholders, leaders, and experts in the community
  • An in-depth quantitative analysis of poverty and self sufficiency

KEY FINDINGS

The path from poverty to self-sufficiency is often riddled with roadblocks that can be daunting to even the most motivated family. Self-sufficiency is defined by a family having the income to meet all of their basic needs without any outside assistance. Basic needs include housing, childcare, transportation, healthcare, food, and taxes. For some families of four in our community, this can mean needing an income as high as $53,916 in order to be self-sufficient. This income is more than double the Federal Poverty Guideline for a family of four.

But the path to self-sufficiency is about more than increasing income. The needs assessment determined that families must also have access to affordable housing, reliable transportation, night-shift childcare, workforce development opportunities, mentors, and financial literacy.

Click the links below for an overview of poverty and self-sufficiency in each of our three counties:

Full reports on Financial Stability, Poverty, and Self-Sufficiency in our community:

STRATEGIES

Through the needs assessment, the Financial Stability Task Force has identified seven areas of focus to increase opportunities for self-sufficiency and financial stability.

In 2016-17, efforts will primarily focus on the following areas:

Affordable Housing: A work group is exploring strategies for increasing the inventory of affordable housing in Spartanburg County. To lay the foundation for this work, we are conducting a comprehensive housing needs assessment to gain a better understanding of the current housing market and trends. We will also coordinate a Housing Summit to engage and educate the community around this issue.

Coaching & Mentoring: A work group is developing a comprehensive mentoring model to provide support to individuals and families as they move out poverty. Based on best practices, this mentoring program will involve case managers and volunteers who will encourage families to set and maintain personal goals toward self-sufficiency, helping them develop skills to reach those goals and facilitating connections to education, employment, housing, healthcare, transportation, and childcare as needed.

Transportation: A work group is exploring strategies for alternative transportation options that can be implemented throughout the county to provide people with a reliable way to get to work, school, and healthcare.

Workforce Development: A work group is exploring strategies to increase opportunities for and access to education, certifications, soft skills training, and apprenticeships to create a workforce ready for the jobs available right now and in the near future.

Transportation: In partnership with Know(2), SCC-Cherokee County, Mission of Grace, the Salvation Army, and other organizations, we have developed a proposal for a city-wide transportation system in Gaffney to provide people with a reliable way to get to work, school, and healthcare at a low cost. The group hopes to have funding secured and to launch the pilot by fall 2017.
Workforce Development: Efforts will focus on developing opportunities for education, certifications, soft skills training, and apprenticeships to increase the number of people both living AND working in Union County.

For more information about the Financial Stability Initiative or to get involved in this effort, please contact Hannah Jarrett.