The Center for Hunger-Free Communities

Solutions Based on Science and the Human Experience

“I’ve got to pay my rent.  I’ve got to pay gas and electric.  I’ve got to take care of the kids.  I’ve got to make sure there’s food in the house, you know, make sure they got clothes, make sure they got shoes, and make sure I got bus fare to even get to work.  Trying to struggle and juggle all of that on one income that’s coming in the house is extremely hard. It’s extremely hard because I would like to do more for my girls give them everything, of course every parent would.  Every parent would want to do more. It hurts when I can’t get them the things that they would want. So hopefully eventually things will get better; I’ll get a better job or something.  Something has to give, right?  It can’t be this way forever.” 

Banking and Finance

A significant segment of the American population remains either unbanked (i.e. without a checking or savings account) or underbanked (i.e. having a bank account but also relying on alternative financial services). In 2009, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation(FDIC) reported that one in four U.S. households are either unbanked or underbanked – representing approximately 60 million adults...

Current Issue –

Many families are hesitant to participate in traditional banking for fear of hidden fees and minimum balance requirements.

Bank on Philadelphia is a unique partnership with banks to provide no-fee accounts for low-income families. It is important for all community-based organizations and social services agencies to know about and refer families to these banking opportunities.

Asset building seeks to empower low-income households to acquire assets, such as a home, a business, an education, and savings for retirement and other life goals.  Asset building promotes financial empowerment and the building up of assets through both policy and program initiatives.  Research has demonstrated that parental financial assets, such as household savings, are positively...

Current Issue –

One promising asset-building strategy offers Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) or Child Development Accounts (CDAs) that provide matching funds to help families save for the future.  Philadelphia should follow the lead of San Francisco by offering CDAs to all public school kindergarten students.  See here for more information.

Financial literacy training helps prepare individuals to make sound financial decisions when faced with multiple financial responsibilities and very limited income.  In addition to training, the Urban Affairs Coalition offers financial support groups (called FAN Clubs) individuals interested in improving their money...

Current Issue –

Although financial education is a proven way of helping families stretch limited resources, it is not routinely offered to families navigating the welfare system.  Pennsylvania's Department of Public Welfare could offer financial literacy training to TANF recipients and help connect them to banking and other saving opportunities.

Many of the women of Witnesses are entrepreneurs who run informal businesses (i.e. hair/makeup business, catering, childcare) to make ends meet.  With so few job opportunities available, turning this informal work into legitimate businesses is an important strategy for families trying to escape economic insecurity.  Though the idea of offering micro-loans to help low-income women start...

Current Issue –

While several organizations in Philadelphia offer micro-loans to middle and lower-income entrepreneurs, those living in deep poverty - as TANF recipients are - often get left out of these business financing opportunities.  Philadelphia could offer micro-loans and discounted business licenses to low-income individuals who want to join the formal economy.

 

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