Breaking the Cycle

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We live in an incredibly prosperous and caring community, yet many of our neighbors are at risk of never truly escaping poverty. More than 10% of all people in Snohomish County fall below the Federal Poverty Level and, for children, this number is even higher. But the Federal Poverty Level doesn’t tell the whole story about hardship in our community. When factoring in those on the edge, 1/3 of households in Snohomish County are struggling to make ends meet. Download our 2016 Ends Meet report here.
 
Our Approach
United Way is partnering with the community in new ways to help rewrite the story for individuals and families today and build a solid foundation for their future success. We believe the power of community can help individuals and families find pathways out of poverty, but the only way we can accomplish this is by all working together with common goals.
 
While there are no quick fixes to break the cycle of poverty, by bringing people, resources and strategy together, we can dramatically reduce the impact of poverty in Snohomish County.
 
Community-Level Goal #1
Increase educational attainment for children
Poverty is associated with a number of adverse conditions that have strong impacts on educational success, including high mobility, homelessness, hunger and food insecurity. Education and income inequality are strongly tied; creating a pathway for school success helps ensure a brighter economic future for children.
  • Long-Term Goal
    Increase the number of low-income 3rd-grade students meeting grade standards in English Language Arts (ELA) from 40% to 80% and in math from 42% to 80%.
  • 2016-2020 Investment Period
    Our comprehensive strategy is focused on supporting low-income children, their families, early learning professionals and the community with the intermediate goal of increasing the percentage of low-income children ready for kindergarten. We will continue to develop our strategy and resource support for the continuum of birth-3rd grade over the next ten years.
  • Our Approach
    United Way supports children birth-3rd grade through programs, services and advocacy efforts that provide early learning opportunities and improve reading and math scores.
 
Community-Level Goal #2
Increase income to reduce the number of struggling households
Increased income is essential to help struggling households make ends meet and create a foundation for a prosperous future. Family-sustaining employment is the foundation of financial stability. It is critical to connect youth and adult earners to education and work experience opportunities. 
  • Long-Term Goal
    Increase income to reduce the number of struggling households (60,000 to 30,000). 
  • 2016-2020 Investment Period
    We will focus on supporting low-income adults and youth to improve their employability and maximize eligible benefit income. We will continue to develop our strategy and resource support for these efforts over the next ten years. 
  • Our Approach
    United Way recognizes that increased income is essential to help struggling households make ends meet and create a foundation for a prosperous future. We will invest in and advocate for strategies that increase household income through employment readiness services, employment supports (childcare and transportation) and financial education.
     

Community-Level Support #1
Provide Basic Needs to Stabilize Individuals to Prevent Further Crises
Access to safe shelter, adequate health care options and nutritious food create the cornerstones for quality of life. Too many households are stuck choosing between rent and food or electricity and medications. Having those basic necessities met allows individuals and families the energy to think about the future, plan for emergencies and simply enjoy everyday life.

  • Our Goal
    Hold steady the number of households that are stabilized to prevent further crises.
  • Our Approach
    United Way will work with partners and other funders in the community to identify service gaps and how best to address them, whether through funding, partnerships, or advocacy. We will invest in and advocate for strategies that help individuals and families meet their basic needs. Areas could include shelter/ housing/utilities, health and food assistance.
     
Community-Level Support #2
Support System Infrastructure to Deliver Critical Health and Human Services
Infrastructure to support the delivery of human services is a critical component to any community’s efforts to address poverty. Systems-level coordination allows organizations to most effectively and efficiently deploy resources to meet community needs.
  • Our Goal
    Maintain a strong delivery system infrastructure.
  • Our Approach
    Multiple assistance programs serve the same people, but it can be difficult to coordinate systems or programs due to differences in eligibility, target population or focus. United Way invests in and advocates for system-level service coordination efforts that reduce redundancies and increase efficiencies.