Economic Insecurity is a Problem. Community Action Programs Offer Solutions.

Economic insecurity is a daily struggle for millions of Americans, including here in Massachusetts.  Wages for working people have barely risen in 20 years, while incomes of the top 1% have tripled. And housing, food, and utility costs keep climbing. One result of that income inequality is that today millions of adults in the U.S. say they couldn’t pay an unexpected bill of $400 or more.

Community Action Agencies play a critical role by helping individuals and families with basic necessities that we all need to lead safe, healthy, and productive lives.

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40% of Americans are one emergency expense away from a financial crisis.
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Graph - Annual Growth in Household Income by Income Group (Massachusetts)

Massachusetts is a Prosperous State ...

Yet it has a 10% poverty rate and a 14% child poverty rate. In some communities, that rate is as high as 45%. And another 22% of Massachusetts residents – including 27% of children – are considered “Near Poor” (100-to-200% of the poverty rate).

One in ten MA households are food insecure

1 in 11 Massachusetts Households are “Food Insecure”

That means that 10% of your neighbors don’t know where their next meal will come from…or when it will come. And it’s beyond difficult to do well in school or at work when you’re so hungry you get light-headed.

Graph - Most Low-Income Families Include a Working Adult (Massachusetts)

About 66% of Massachusetts adults living in poverty work one or more jobs.

Of those not working, three out of five have small children at home or the adult has a disability. and 24% of Massachusetts households must pay rent that equal to or more than their income. That’s a crisis waiting to happen.

Community Action Solutions Work

The 23 Community Action Agencies (CAA) that make up MASSCAP provide people and families statewide with resources and programs that create opportunities, enhance economic stability and mobility, and fight poverty.

When funded and administered properly, public assistance programs really do work.


Public programs cut child poverty in half in MA

Public Programs Keep 920,000 Massachusetts Residents ...

… out of poverty each year, including 200,000 children. This is according to Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM). That means these programs essentially cut poverty in half.

Every year, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) keeps 140,000 people in Massachusetts out of poverty, simply by helping struggling families literally put food on the table.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program keeps 140,000 MA residents out of poverty

Every year, SNAP keeps 140,000 people in Massachusetts out of poverty.

Simply by helping struggling families literally put food on the table.

Mother and Daughter

The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) keep 150,000 MA residents out of poverty.

The EITC and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) help working class families that have one or more children.

Housing assistance programs keep 220,000 MA residents out of poverty

Housing assistance programs keep 220,000 MA residents out of poverty.

Federal- and state-funded housing assistance programs make it easier to get and hold a job, attend school regularly, stay healthier, and participate in the community.

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MASSCAP and our 23 Community Action Agency partners have the socio-economic data, fact-based programs, and decades of experience to fight poverty in Massachusetts by helping residents help themselves and flourish.

Whether you and your family need help, you wish to volunteer in your community, or you are a corporate and legislative decision-maker who needs guidance on how to fight poverty, start by downloading our detailed report, Obstacles on the Road to Opportunity: Finding a Way Forward for the Children and Families of Massachusetts. Or contact us today to discuss how we can help.

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Download Obstacles on the Road to Opportunity: Finding A Way Forward.

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