Poverty Awareness Month

Poverty Awareness Month

As January marks Poverty Awareness Month, we’re reaching out to regional employers, businesses and community leaders to broaden the understanding of the community barriers that challenge lower-income individuals and those who live in poverty.

What's life like at the poverty line?

In 2016, nearly one in 10 households in York County fell below the poverty line.

But, the federal poverty level only tells part of the story. Based on outdated budget assumptions from the 1950s, the standards that determine who lives in poverty need an update for modern-day families.


The Self-Sufficiency Standard, introduced in the mid-1990s, instead takes into account all major budget items that adults must juggle — housing, child care, food, health care, transportation and taxes — and adjusts depending on the cost of living in a given place and the ages of children included in a family unit.


This updated approach provides a more accurate look at poverty in York County. In 2010, one in six households did not meet the Self-Sufficiency Standard to support the family without some public assistance.


Each week, individuals must decide: Food or medicine? Gas or bus fare to get to work, or pay the heating bill?


To bring light to these issues, Community Progress Council will host a poverty simulation Thursday, January 11, 2017. Hosted in partnership with York College of Pennsylvania and sponsored by the York County Economic Alliance, the simulation walks participants through everyday challenges that individuals in poverty experience. Tasked with traveling to work, finding childcare, paying the bills and handling last-minute problems, participants quickly experience the frustration, challenges and hopelessness that financial instability can bring.


Together, we can identify ways that companies can address everyday challenges in employing and interacting with lower-income individuals.