Economic Stability of Low-Income Families
Increasing economic stability of low-income families (the "working poor")
We focus on enhancing the economic security of the working poor as one of two key focus areas of our discretionary grantmaking.
“Working poor” is generally defined as
- a household (individual or family) earning less than 200% of the federal poverty line – $21,660/year for an individual and $44,100/ year for a family of four with two kids – and
- where at least one member of the household has spent at least 27 weeks in the labor force working or looking for work within the last year.
Contrary to common perceptions of North Texas’ relatively high income levels, the region’s poverty is worse than the national average, according to the recently published Assets & Opportunities Profile, a study released in 2012 by the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED). The local study debunked the prevailing thought that Dallas and its surrounding North Texas region are filled with people who are not at financial risk. The report showed that within Dallas, two out of every five households do not have sufficient assets to live for three months at the federal poverty level should they lose their main source of income. In addition, over 68% of Dallas consumers have subprime credit scores, as compared to the national average of 60% of consumers. More than half of low-income residents did not have health insurance, placing them at financial risk in the event of a medical crisis. Living in financial insecurity not only destabilizes families, it also jeopardizes the long-term vitality of cities and local economies.
To read the Assets & Opportunity Profile report, click here.
Data Driven Decision-Making: The D3 Institute
With the release of the Assets & Opportunity Profile, Communities Foundation of Texas set out to improve the financial stability of working families, initially by bringing together social service agencies who serve them and working with those agencies on their strategic use of data to drive change. The Data Driven Decision-Making (D3) Institute was created to help the agencies understand the contemporary issues facing low-income families; use data to drive decisions about services, clients and funding needs; and create learning communities within the nonprofit arena. D3 successfully ran from 2012 through its conclusion in 2015, having achieved its intended impact. Watch the following video to learn about the impact CFT made through the Data Driven Decision-Making Institute (D3) in supporting low-income communities and the agencies who serve them.
D3 Institute Video
Watch a video about CFT’s work to improve the economic stability of low-income families.
To read more about th e D3 Institute, click here.
Working Family Success Model
CFT ‘s current focus is the working with local service providers on the implementation of the Working Families Success model (WFS) of integrating services. Modeled after the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Center for Working Families efforts, the WFS model “bundles” three core services (employment assistance, income support and financial coaching) to equip social service agencies with tools to help low-income families reach lasting financial stability.
In 2014, CFT selected ten organizations as part of a competitive grant process from across the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex to participate in a pilot effort to bring the Working Families Success model delivery to North Texas. The model, also known as the integrated service delivery model was originally developed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation in the early 2000’s and has since been expanded to over 70 locations across the U.S.
The agencies selected as part of the initial WFS cohort have been working to realign their services and programming, with a focus on working with low income families in order to achieve lasting economic outcomes, including increasing income and credit scores, reducing debt and generating new wealth for themselves and their communities. As part of this new service model, the agencies will provide a broad range of employment services, income supports and financial coaching, as well as other asset building services, whether as a single agency or in tight collaboration with others.
To learn more about the Working Families Success model, please click here.