Even before the pandemic upended the economic and public health of our city, 23% of our neighbors lived on less than $26,000 per year and 11% lived in deep poverty, on less than $13,000.
That’s over 350,000 people in financial crisis every single day—over 100,000 of them children under 18. Why do we let this continue?
Only 16% of children born into poverty are expected to not be in poverty by their late 20s.
Generations of systemic racism, as well as unequal investment in education, infrastructure, and access to healthcare in communities that experience poverty have perpetuated limited opportunities for building equity. They create substantial barriers to family stability, jobs and careers. And the ongoing crisis created by Covid-19 has pushed more Philadelphians to the edge than ever before.
Escaping poverty is not only a matter of bumping earnings above the federal poverty line.
It’s also about achieving and sustaining a higher income level.
US Census data tells us that 50% of families who rise above the federal poverty line drop back below it within five years. This means short-term solutions don’t work. It’s not enough to help our neighbors rise above the poverty line. There are many investments being made across the country that are working to support family stability and opportunities to earn sustainable income. We can scale these investments to work in Philadelphia.
We can’t allow this to continue.
By working with 100,000 people to help them increase and stabilize their incomes, we are creating an expanded economy for all of us as people experiencing poverty earn more money and contribute more. These contributions support a larger tax base, neighborhood improvement, reducing crime, workforce expansion, and more dollars to invest in education.