The Success Equation, an initiative of Children First/CIS, unites our community to reduce poverty through education, collaboration and public policy advocacy resulting in an environment where all children can thrive. Would you like to become more involved and engaged in helping to end child poverty in Buncombe County?

Below are quick opportunities to learn, share, and act.

November 2017

TABLE of CONTENTS:

1. LEARN & SHARE: READ NC JUSTICE 2017 POVERTY REPORT

2. ACT: SIGN UP FOR ACA OR INFORM YOUR NEIGHBORS ABOUT ENROLLMENT PERIOD

3. LEARN, SHARE & ACT: TAKE THE CITY OF ASHEVILLE DISPARITY STUDY

 

1. LEARN & SHARE: READ NC JUSTICE 2017 POVERTY REPORT

Our friends at NC Justice have released their 2017 Poverty Report, which provides an in-depth look at North Carolina’s economic picture, and how communities of color, women, and children are more likely to face economic hardship than white people, men, and older adults. The report also highlights how North Carolina’s high poverty rates are the result of poor policy decisions. Tax cuts that benefit the wealthy and decreasing public investments are keeping our economy from working for everyone. Below are some highlights from the report.

In 2016, 15.4 percent of North Carolinians struggled to make meet with incomes below the federal poverty level, which was $24,600 annually for a family of four. Nearly 659,000 North Carolinians lived in deep poverty, meaning they earned half or less of the annual poverty-level income for their family size. It takes more than double the federal poverty level for a family of four in the state to afford the basics such as housing, food, and child care.

RACE & POVERTY: To match the state’s non-Hispanic white poverty rate of 10.8 percent, 436,890 North Carolinians would have to be lifted out of poverty. Racial disparities in income not only harm people of color but have consequences for all of us because inequities keep the economy from reaching its full potential. North Carolina’s Gross Domestic Product — a measure of all goods and services produced in the state — would have been $66.06 billion higher in 2014 if there had been no gaps in income by race.

CHILDREN & POVERTY: Poverty has the fiercest grip on children — especially children of color — compared to any other age group. For the more than 1 in 5 children growing up in poverty, the consequences are devastating. For the youngest children, the effects of poverty — such as unhealthy stress levels — can disrupt their brain development. Such damage can hurt their chances of success in school and dampen their earning potential as adults. More than 4 in 10 children who grow up in poverty are likely to remain there as adults. The cycle of intergenerational poverty is especially prevalent in North Carolina. Multiple studies have found that many of North Carolina’s metropolitan areas, specifically Charlotte and Raleigh, rank lowest in the nation in economic mobility.

Even with North Carolina’s economy struggling to create enough jobs for everyone who wants to work, nearly 42 percent of children in families where parents worked were still considered low-income, defined as income less than twice the federal poverty line, and more than 300,000 children in North Carolina in working families are in poverty.

PUBLIC EDUCATION IS A CRITICAL ANTI-POVERTY TOOL: The likelihood of being pushed into poverty is nearly cut in half for high school graduates, compared to people who drop out of high school. In 2016, North Carolinians ages 25 or older with at least a bachelor’s degree had a poverty rate of 4.3 percent, compared to 28.2 percent of those without a high school diploma.

Hard work is no longer enough to climb out of poverty and allow families to meet basic needs. The share of North Carolina workers earning poverty-level wages is growing rapidly. More than 3 in 10 workers in the state earned wages at or below the official poverty line in 2014, up from 1 in 4 in 2000. This is the 2nd-worst ranking in the nation — behind Arkansas. Despite working fulltime, a minimum-wage worker with two children earns a poverty-level wage. Raising the minimum wage would help families and the economy get back on track.

Poverty remains high due to state lawmakers’ decisions to dismantle or under-invest in things that reduce poverty, foster economic mobility, and lay the groundwork for an economic future that benefits everyone. The Success Equation believes that there are 3 key policy decisions that could change the picture that was laid out in this report:

  • Expand Medicaid so that 500,000 North Carolinians-many of them parents- have access to health care.
  • Increase childcare subsidies that help cover the costs of childcare for working parents or parents enrolled in school. Due to funding cuts, 30,000 less children are enrolled in early childhood care and learning centers that give children the tools they need to be prepared for kindergarten and continued success in school.
  • Re-Instate the state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for low-earning working families that help parents maintain or improve economic stability.

2. ACT:  SIGN UP FOR ACA OR INFORM YOUR NEIGHBORS ABOUT ENROLLMENT PERIOD

This year, advertising and marketing funds have been cut for the Affordable Care Act. This means that those who need to get insured might not know that there are options out there. Open Enrollment begins Nov. 1 and will last through Dec. 15. Although the enrollment period has been shortened you can still get assistance signing up with Community Navigators at Pisgah Legal Services and at Western North Carolina Community Health Services (AKA Minnie Jones Community Health Center). CLICK HERE to watch a quick video from Pisgah Legal Services Managing Attorney, Jackie Kiger, as she answers questions about the ACA.


3. LEARN, SHARE & ACT: TAKE THE CITY OF ASHEVILLE DISPARITY STUDY

Did you know that the African-American population in Buncombe County is only 6% of the total population, yet 34% live in povertyat or less than $24,000 a year for a family of four. Here in Buncombe County, African-Americans have an unemployment rate of 17% vs. 6.5% for white residents. Locally, African-Americans own 858 of their own businesses vs. 26,112 white owned businesses. These are just a few of the racial disparities that exist in our community.

In order to address these disparities, the City of Asheville is conducting a study that will help inform their efforts to encourage the participation of minority, women, and small business enterprises in City contracting and procurement. As part of the disparity study, they would like you to share any insights related to working in the local marketplace. The insights that you provide will be kept anonymous and integrated into the project team’s analyses. The study is made up of only a few questions and will help steer the city in developing key strategies.

 to take the Asheville City Disparity Survey

To see the City of Asheville Disparity Study Power Point, click here.

 

 




Find out how you can get even more involved
in creating a community where all children can thrive!

  • Sign up for our Action Alerts for up-to-the-minute alerts on important policy decisions and ways you can make your voice count for kids!
  • Follow us on our Success Equation Facebook page and on Twitter @CFCISAdvocacy to receive information and updates on how you can help create a community where all children can thrive.
  • Check out our Local, State and Federal Advocacy Tool-kits to guide you in engaging with our elected officials.
  • Volunteer to participate in monthly phone banking to inform our neighbors on important issues impacting children and families. Contact Jodi Ford at 828-620-9091 or JodiF@childrenfirstbc.org.

 

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