We study the impact of our programs on the lives of our homeless families in a number of ways. We assess our influence on their self-sufficiency, getting a job, learning new coping skills, re-establishing a permanent home for their children, etc.
We also measure whether their financial well-being improves by the time they leave the program.
When we graphed the average income for our families from entry to exit, we saw a vivid illustration of the impact of the economic downturn on people at the bottom end of the financial ladder.
Average income for our exiting families hasn’t approached the poverty level since 2007.
Even though the average amount of public assistance was consistently lower by the time they exited and taxable income was higher, in some years it was barely so. Parents who came in with jobs in 2008 and 2009, lost them, and could only find part-time or lower paying jobs. Their jobs alone didn’t pay nearly enough to adequately feed and house their families.
Things started improving in 2010 and 2011. Let’s pray for light at the end of the tunnel in 2012.