In general, ESR serves the low-moderate income population of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County. Clients must meet eligibility criteria (income level, housing situation, etc.). We attempt to connect everyone who walks through our door with the resources they need to attain or regain self-reliance. This could be through enrollment in our programs or through referral to another service provider whose programs are more suited to the individual’s needs.
Let’s put these numbers in perspective and say a single mother of three makes $24,000 per year (the federal poverty income for a family of four). That is about $11.50 an hour, or $1,800 per month before taxes. Now consider she has to rent a three bedroom apartment at about $795 per month. Being conservative, she will likely pay more than a thousand dollars a month in child care for her three children, just so that she can continue to work. Add in utilities, transportation, and food, and she’s already spending well beyond her income. Now imagine that she only makes minimum wage.
In recent years, there has been a new face of poverty in addition to those who are trapped in the cycle of generational poverty. Many of the households that come to ESR are facing financial crises and poverty for the first time and are overwhelmed by the obstacles they face. More than ever before, too many Forsyth County residents are finding themselves one car repair, employment hours cut, or rent increase from homelessness. ESR provides guidance and resource connections to help prevent those in this position from entering the cycle of poverty and becoming dependent on anti-poverty programs for their survival.
According to the Asset Building Coalition of Forsyth County, asset poverty is defined as “when an individual or family lacks the savings to cover basic expenses (at federal poverty level) for three months if their income is interrupted.” ESR, along with ABC of Forsyth, is working to teach people asset building in order to reduce asset poverty in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County area.