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Covering Living Expenses

Thousands of families in the Portland metro area are chronically teetering on the edge of financial crisis, even though one or more of the family members has a job. 

The average American has $38,000 of debt (excluding mortgages), and 40% of Americans have less than $400 in savings. 

In East Portland, where BCS is located, there are almost 20,000 families with incomes between $30,680 (the poverty level) and $77,000 (the median household income in Portland). This $77,000 is almost the exact amount that an MIT study has established as a “livable” household income. (Glasmeier, Amy K. Living Wage Calculator. 2020. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. livingwage.mit.edu.)

The gap between what these working families earn and what they would need in order to reasonably “get by” is an additional 25% of their current income. Adding debt and minimum payments to the equation only makes the gap more difficult. For these families, every penny counts. 

Typical Hardships

Families living below a “living wage” are at a higher risk for:

  • Stress on marriages and other family relationships
  • Growing credit card debt
  • Hopelessness for the future
  • Unforeseen emergency expenses having the potential to tip the household into an economic disaster (medical issues, car problems, etc.)¬†
  • The constant threat of foreclosure, eviction, or bankruptcy¬†

Savings and Debt

savings and debt graphic