One in four families in Indianapolis is working but still struggles to meet basic needs. Hard working family members may have more than one job, but because they earn such low wages (retail sales, food service) they still have trouble paying their rent. Many of these households average $10 an hour, yet a single mother with one child needs at least $17 an hour to meet basic expenses. Many need to gain an education to advance to family-sustaining wages. They strive toward a better future, but remain stuck in a cycle of low-wage jobs.
Working families in poverty face a series of crisis and a cycle of debt. Without the ability to save, an unforeseen setback such as sickness or loss of employment may result in a crises and a cycle of debt. Without access to credit or savings, many utilize high-cost cash checking, pawnshops, or payday lending services with interest rates reaching 400%. Working families are caught in a “liquidity” trap, where they need all of their money and they need it now.
Accessing help is complicated. Wading through confusing eligibility rules, scheduling multiple appointments, and filling out forms present major barriers to success as many working families lack the transportation, time, and guidance needed to navigate complex government programs.
The CWF model of intensive financial coaching bundled with employment, skills training opportunities, and income supports transitions families from crisis to stability and from stability to long-term financial independence.