One-third of central Iowans struggle to earn enough to meet their basic daily expenses and save any extra at the end of the month. Many families work and still struggle to make ends meet. They are one flat tire or one emergency room visit away from crisis.

UNITED WE FIGHT

95-percent

of parents receiving child care assistance work, but a raise of just 15 cents an hour can put them in jeopardy of losing these benefits.

Iowa Department of Human Services

8-percent

percent of people in central Iowa are refugees and immigrants. Many work in lower-wage jobs.


U.S. Census Bureau

$59884

is the median household income for all of Polk County vs. $26,725 for African-Americans in Polk County.


Iowa Workforce Development

 

FALLING OFF THE CLIFF

kellyKelly Dejoode was panicking. She had just received a letter saying she would no longer receive Child Care Assistance from the state. She was going to drop off the so-called “Child Care Cliff.” Without assistance, Kelly would go from paying $17 a week for her three-year-old son Jaxson to attend Oak Academy full time to paying $180 a week. Her wages—a little more than $13 an hour—as a teaching assistant in a Head Start classroom couldn’t cover the increase as well as her family’s other basic needs, including rent, gas, and food.

She didn’t realize that by starting to work full time, she would be pushed over this cliff. “Things were starting to go really well,” she says, “and then boom, that happened.”

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WHAT IF...

every central Iowan had a chance to thrive?

We fight to remove barriers that keep central Iowans in poverty by:

  • Funding local programs that provide financial education, small business loans, and matched savings accounts for education and assets
  • Convening work groups to tackle issues like transportation, housing, and child care
  • Providing free tax preparation to increase access to tax credits and tax refunds
  • Advocating for policies that allow more central Iowans to reach financial stability
  • Raising awareness about families who are working and living in poverty

UNITED WE WIN

25000

more central Iowans were financially self-sufficient in 2017 than two years before.





U.S. Census Board

8-1-million

$8.1 million in tax refunds went to central Iowans with the help of 140 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) volunteers and through the MyFreeTaxes program.


VITA

Phone-Yellow

In 2019, a free 24/7 Housing Interpretation Hotline was launched by OpportUNITY’s New Iowans work group to help landlords and non-English speaking tenants solve housing issues.  

U.S. Census Board

JOIN THE FIGHT

Designate your United Way donation to Income


GIVE NOW

Advocate to eliminate the Child Care Cliff Effect



CLIFF EFFECT

Join a work group that’s addressing barriers to financial stability

OPPORTUNITY

Help prepare taxes for low-income central Iowans as a VITA Volunteer

VITA

GIVING OUR WORKFORCE A CHANCE

United Way of Central Iowa invests in programs and initiatives that are connecting talent with workforce needs.
Learn more about our strategies in INCOME.

Opportunuty-logo-color

A grassroots effort to unite central Iowans in tackling the barriers that keep people in poverty.

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VITA logo

A program that provides free tax assistance to low- and moderate-income central Iowans to earn needed tax credits.

LEARN MORE

HOPE for SF logo 3.0

An initiative to provide wrap-around support to single parent families through a multi-generational approach.

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CLIFF
EFFECT

An advocacy effort to increase the threshold for child care assistance benefits to prevent families from facing a cliff that can lead them deeper into poverty.

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FUNDED PARTNERS

We fund several programs at local non-profits at are working on these issues.


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RELATED STORIES

At the LIVE UNITED celebration on April 24, 2019, United Way of Central Iowa announced progress ...
Poverty seems like an impossible problem to solve. Many barriers prevent individuals from achieving ...
The percentage of central Iowans who were financially self-sufficient increased to 67% in 2017, up ...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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