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July 3, 2013

A Struggle for Financial Freedom

by PBUnitedWay

Every Fourth of July we celebrate our freedom. Barbeques light up, fireworks shoot into the sky, and ‘can you pass the apple pie?’ becomes the most important question of the day.

Yet, there are many people around the country — and right here in Palm Beach County — who struggle every day for their freedom.Financial independence and stability are among the most basic and essential needs of a strong family. Unfortunately, these needs are becoming increasingly difficult for the poor in Palm Beach County to meet.

The cost of living in Palm Beach County, as in the country at large, has risen at a far greater rate than the minimum wage. In fact, minimum wage in Palm Beach County falls below poverty wage for most families.

Minimum wage in Palm Beach County is $7.79 per hour. According the Poverty in America (run out of MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning), poverty wage in Palm Beach County for a household with 2 adults and 2 children is $10.60, meaning minimum wage falls $2.81 short of poverty wage.

Living wage for a family of the same size is $22.12, or nearly triple the amount of minimum wage. This means that an individual working 3 full-time minimum wage jobs would just barely make living wage.

This is troubling, particularly because living wage calculates a minimum estimate of the cost of living for low-wage families. The estimates do not reflect a middle class standard of living.

When we celebrate our freedom this Fourth of July, we must remember those in our community who lack the resources to truly be free. Join the Town of Palm Beach United Way in advocating for a living wage and funding programs that enable families to meet life’s basic needs and reach their full potential.

Since 1945, the Town of Palm Beach United Way has invested more than $60 million into Palm Beach County because of generous donors like you. Although some of the needs since 1945 have changed, the Town of Palm Beach United Way is still helping people who struggle with hunger, homelessness, job loss, abuse, mental illness, and more.  To find out more about the Town of Palm Beach United Way visit www.palmbeachunitedway.org.   On behalf of the community that we serve, THANK YOU for the difference you make. 

 

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