POWER-PAC parents’ work to reduce the racial wealth gap and increase economic security for low-income families had two successes this month:
- No more limits on savings for TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) recipients: the Governor signed HB2262 into law, eliminating asset limits for low-income families – taking away a major disincentive for families to save money and build assets. Working with partners at the Illinois Asset Building Group (IABG), POWER-PAC members helped develop, promote, and advocate for this new law.
- Also, in partnership with IABG, POWER-PAC leaders co-facilitated Racial Wealth Gap roundtable conversations across the state of Illinois. In Champaign, East St. Louis, and Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood, parents, community leaders, researchers, social services providers, faith leaders, and advocates came together to discuss policies which maintain the racial wealth gap, such as predatory lending and credit score disparities, and those that reduce it, including Universal Children’s Savings Accounts.
This work is part of a larger POWER-PAC campaign, Stepping Out of Poverty (STOP), which seeks to increase economic security for families in this generation and the next. Among other goals, POWER-PAC is advocating for Universal Children’s Savings Accounts, which would be opened for each child in Illinois upon their birth and to which families can contribute over the years. When the child turns 18, they can then use the account for educational purposes. Studies show that children who have savings accounts have increased hopes and aspirations for going to college. POWER-PAC parents think education is critical in breaking the cycle of poverty.
Parents also are working to improve their own financial literacy skills. POWER-PAC and The Resurrection Project co-hosted a series of financial literacy workshops in Hermosa and North Lawndale, attended by more than 65 people. The parents are now working on their financial goals, which include saving for a house or school and getting out of debt, among other goals. They also are receiving one-on-one financial counseling through The Resurrection Project to help reach their goals.