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As we begin a new year, we are keenly aware of the challenging and complex dynamics faced by those we serve. Last year, the U.S. experienced an average inflation rate of 9.1%, including a 14.1% increase in the cost of housing and a 47.6% increase in the cost of energy. We haven’t seen inflation that steep in more than 40 years. This kind of dramatic shift disproportionately impacts low-income households, who are less prepared to absorb unexpected financial shocks.  

That’s why we work with individuals and families to navigate challenges and build long-term stability. We create research-backed solutions to end poverty and transform lives. To equip families for the ebbs and flows.  

While it seems like there are 10,000 ways to view poverty, research shows that specific interconnected areas are influencing the difficult daily experiences of our neighbors in need. At CCFW, we’ve narrowed in on five key Pathways through which we create impact.  

Education – We help students navigate non-academic barriers to complete their educational goals and increase earnings. 

Emotional Resiliency – We help people navigate emotional trauma and stress to increase their ability to cope with adversity and plan for a better future. 

Financial Resiliency – We help people navigate their finances to bolster savings, absorb shocks, and realize their long-term financial goals.  

Resource Stability – We help people navigate available resources to meet their basic needs and achieve stability. 

As we have continually learned, there are many ways to evaluate poverty – household income, employment status, access to basic resources, preparedness for a financial shock.  

This Poverty Awareness Month, we challenge you to go a layer deeper and learn more about the ways poverty takes shape in our community. The reality of poverty is often different than we think, and there is much beneath the surface of the numbers we see. More than joblessness or homelessness, poverty is not a uniform box or a room someone cleanly enters and exits through the right decisions. It’s a slightly different road map every time.

For more poverty awareness content, including perspectives from our staff, follow us on social media throughout this month.

Check out more insights in our Research Spotlights here!