United Way of Passaic County understands the local economy and is working with individuals, employers and government to create a stronger community. Through our efforts, individuals are seeing success and communities are being impacted by improved financial stability.
Learn About the Issue
More than 75,000 Passaic County residents meet the federal definition of poverty, including 23 percent of the county's children, but in total 45% of all households here do not have enough income to support all the basic necessities of life.
85% of low and moderate income households in Passaic County are spending more than 35% of their income on housing costs alone; while the majority of job demand in Passaic County in the next decade will be for low-skilled, low paid work.
United Way of Passaic County's Financial Empowerment Zone (FEZ) lifts the economic prospects of low-income individuals and families by providing free tax preparation. financial literacy education, benefits counseling, credit counseling and college access.
Together With Our Partners, United Way of Passaic County ~
- Assisted 502 low- and moderate-income individuals with their tax preparation, a 160 percent increase in services from 2011. 19 volunteers contributed more than 900 hours of service.
- Offered 10 workshops in 2012 to more than 200 residents on personal credit ratings, homeownership, consumer fraud and scams, job readiness, planning for retirement and bankruptcy.
- Provided in-person benefits counseling to more than 100 clients, connecting them with essential services and community resources.
- Provided grant funding-- matched by Passaic County Department of Human Services-- to NJ 2-1-1 for the provision of 24h/7day information and referral services for almost 4,000 callers.
The Financial Empowerment Zone (FEZ)
United Way of Passaic County's Financial Empowerment Zone (FEZ) helps individuals and families attain and preserve assets, become more financially stable, and achieve long-term economic independence.
WHY A FINANCIAL EMPOWERMENT ZONE?
Stagnant incomes, increases in the cost of living and high levels of unemployment have increase the financial instability of thousands of residents in Passaic County. With 83,000 people living below the Federal poverty level, Passaic County, ranks first in New Jersey in both numbers and percentages (17.2%) of households living in poverty. Over a quarter of all children in our county live below the poverty threshold.
An additional 30% do not earn enough to be considered self-sufficient - in all, almost half of Passaic County households are struggling. New Jersey and Federal budget cuts have decreased funding for health and human service programs that have traditionally provided a safety net for our Passaic County neighbors in these hard times.
As part of United Way of Morris County's mission to advance the common good of our communities, they created a task force to better understand the families and individuals living and working in Morris County who are struggling to make ends meet. This population was brought to life as ALICE – Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. United Way's volunteer task force gathered data about ALICE so that we can explore the challenges preventing this population from attaining financial independence.