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Financial realities for working poor

Photo courtesy of Everywoman Opportunity Center
Computer Training at Everywoman Opportunity Center

By Ashley Hassett

Buffalo, NY – Advocates for the working poor released a new study that provides some hard numbers on the financial realities facing low and moderate income families in New York.

A report titled "The Self-Sufficiency Standard for New York State" details how much it costs families to meet their basic needs without assistance.

Myrna Young of the Everywoman Opportunity Center says a single mother raising two children in Buffalo needs to earn more than $47,000 a year to cover expenses.

"This graphically shows that it isn't about budgeting, it is about how much income you have coming into the home, based on family age, size and amount of money you may actually be making may not be adequate to support the basic needs of that number," said Young.

Brigid Doherty of the Western New York Women's Fund challenged public officials to act on policies that promote economic self-sufficiency.

"Poverty is a women's issue. The vast majority of families in the county and in Erie County are headed by women. Women and families who live above the poverty line are still unable to meet basic family needs," said Doherty.

Doherty and other advocates say the study underscores the importance of such public programs as child care to help low and moderate income families make ends meet.