Here at UWYC, you may have heard of our Bold Goal. That is, helping 3,000 York County families reach financial stability by the year 2030. Our work is so important because the cost of living in York County is higher than many of us who are not living in poverty may have realized.
According to the Self Sufficiency Standard prepared by the University of Washington, a family unit of 2 adults, a preschooler, and a school-aged child, would need to earn $59,128 yearly to live self-sufficiently in York County. This is before the stressors of a lost job through COVID-19, or higher medical bills because someone in this family became sick. For this family, housing costs average out to $991 a month in York County. That’s a 16% increase from the 2016 average monthly housing cost of $854 for the same family.
To put the annual wage needed to survive into perspective, 21% of York County households earn less than $25,000.
At UWYC, we believe there can be change and we are doing our part to help working families budget and earn enough to make ends meet, despite the increasing cost of living in our area. The data on Self-Sufficiency shows us that more change in our community is needed to help families get to a self-sufficient level of financial stability. The official poverty measure, developed half a century ago, is now out of date and no longer accurately measures the ability to provide for oneself and one’s family.
The federal poverty level in SC is $26,200 annually for a family of four. Throughout South Carolina, and in York County specifically, the Self-Sufficiency Standard shows that incomes well above the official federal poverty thresholds are nevertheless far below what is necessary to meet families’ basic needs. This causes many families to find it difficult or impossible to make ends meet and achieve financial stability. Aligning with our bold goal, UWYC strives to uplift families with knowledge of financial literacy education and help with workforce development to pull 3,000 families out from poverty and into self-sufficiency.
Understanding that poverty is a pressing issue in York County, will you join us in our Bold Goal?