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FPWA, Catholic Charities, and UJA Release Results of Citywide Anti-Poverty Study

FPWA, Catholic Charities, and UJA Release Results of Citywide Anti-Poverty Study

Results reveal that a targeted investment in a set of anti-poverty policies could reduce poverty between 40 and 70 percent.

March 9, 2015 (New York): The Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA), Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, and UJA-Federation of New York, three major New York, faith-based organizations, have come together to release a new research study that shows the impact an increase in funding for specific anti-poverty policies can have on reducing poverty in New York City. The report examines the overall impact that policy investments can have, both on individual policies and on policies in combination. The collaboration between the sponsoring organizations is born out of shared values and traditions of caring for people in need in a way that fosters greater independence. The Urban Institute fielded the research. 

Believing that in order to alleviate poverty, policies need to be adopted that invest in low-income workers and families, the three groups jointly elected to examine policies that incentivize employment and self-sufficiency, while removing barriers to economic stability. Specific policies examined include transitional jobs, a minimum wage increase, earnings supplements, tax credits for seniors and persons with disabilities, increased SNAP benefits, guaranteed child care subsidies and housing vouchers. The policy combinations include three policies directly tied to employment and earnings, three in-kind benefits, and a new tax credit for nonworkers. The three combinations of policies were defined to assess how differing levels of participation and differing levels of intervention might affect poverty.

The outcomes of this research demonstrate that a targeted government investment in a set of anti-poverty policies that provide job training, economic security, and support for working families, can have a profound effect on the men, women, and children of New York City. The individual policy initiatives examined reduce poverty by 1 percent to 26 percent. When combined, their impact multiplies: reducing poverty by 44 percent to 69 percent. 

“We want to do more than alleviate the effects of poverty. We want to eradicate poverty.  This report provides much needed insight into what can be achieved if certain policies are adequately supported and funded over a finite period of time. Our intent is to help move this city forward to make it a place where the basic human needs and upward mobility of every individual is an achievable goal,” said Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO and executive director of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies.

“Decent work, affordable housing, nutritious food, and aging with respectability are basic to individuals and families living in dignity in New York. Far too many of our neighbors lack these basics. This research undertaken by our three faith-based federations demonstrates that certain policies, properly implemented, can make a significant dent in poverty in New York. Investment in these policies needs serious consideration as a way to insure that many more of our neighbors have decent jobs, housing, and food. Our faith-based belief in the God-given dignity of the human person demands no less,” said Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York.     

“This study highlights how changes in funding and public policy can have a dramatic impact on the daily struggles of so many New Yorkers. We came together as a community to conduct this study and that spirit of collaboration is a great asset in the fight against poverty,” said Eric S. Goldstein, CEO of UJA-Federation of New York.

Recognizing that existing anti-poverty policies reduce hardship, the report demonstrates that a consistent focus on a combination of new or enhanced government policies could actually further reduce New York City poverty. The report also outlines costs associated with new policy investments. 

Key highlights from the report:

• The policy with the largest impact was a transitional jobs (TJ) program, when it was modeled assuming that half of unemployed people living below the poverty line would take a transitional job (with lower rates of take-up for part-time workers and higher-income people). Poverty was reduced by more than 25 percent, declining from 21.4 to 15.9 percent. Most people helped were nonelderly adults and children.

• The policy packages have substantial benefits for all age groups, but the packages have the greatest effect on people age 65 and older.

• There are significant effects on all racial or ethnic subgroups, with the biggest percentage reductions in poverty for people who identify as Hispanic.

• The two individual policies that take the most people out of poverty are the TJ program, which reduces total New York City poverty by 26 percent, and the senior and disability tax credit, which reduces poverty by 24 percent.

The policies tested have considerable effects on reducing poverty in New York City, and will require a significant commitment of city, state, and federal resources. Investing now in supports necessary to ensure stable employment and financial security for those living in poverty will allow federal, state, and city governments to reduce the long-term costs associated with less effective, more expensive programs. 

Contact:

Antoinette Isable-Jones

Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies

212.801.1316

aijones@fpwa.org  

Paul Costiglio

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York

646.794.2240 

paul.costiglio@archny.org 

Emily Kutner

UJA-Federation of New York

212.836.1800

kutnere@ujafedny.org  

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About FPWA

The Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies (FPWA) is an anti-poverty, policy, and advocacy nonprofit with a membership network of nearly 200 human-service and faith-based organizations. FPWA has been a prominent force in New York City's social services system for more than 92 years, advocating for fair public policies, collaborating with partner agencies, and growing its community-based membership network to meet the needs of New Yorkers. Each year, through its network of member agencies, FPWA reaches close to 1.5 million New Yorkers of all ages, ethnicities, and denominations. FPWA strives to build a city of equal opportunity that reduces poverty, promotes upward mobility, and creates shared prosperity for all New Yorkers. Visit us at www.fpwa.org and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

About Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York

Catholic Charities, a federation of approximately 90 agencies and programs located throughout the 10 counties of the Archdiocese of New York, helps solve the problems of New Yorkers in need — non-Catholics and Catholics alike — with services that protect and nurture children, resolve family crises, assist the hungry and homeless, support the physically and emotionally challenged, and integrate immigrants and refugees. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook. For more information on how to donate or volunteer, please visit our website at www.catholiccharitiesny.org. 

About UJA-Federation of New York

For more than 95 years, UJA-Federation has inspired New Yorkers to act on their values and invest in our community for the biggest impact. Through UJA-Federation, more than 50,000 donors address issues that matter most to them, pooling their resources to care for New Yorkers of all backgrounds and Jews everywhere, to connect people to their Jewish communities, and to respond to crises close to home and around the globe. Working with nearly 100 network beneficiary agencies, synagogues, and other Jewish organizations, UJA-Federation is the world’s largest local philanthropy; our reach spans from New York to Israel to more than 70 other countries around the world, touching 4.5 million people each year. For more information on how to donate or volunteer, please visit our website at www.ujafedny.org.