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Cost of Living

Consistent with our focus on changing lives significantly, we prefer to fund an organization that makes large numbers of applicants capable of being truly self-supporting. To us, "self-supporting" means being able to live (in New York City, our area of focus) in good health and reasonable comfort with the ability to care for at least one dependent. Having little sense for what this costs, we consulted The Self-Sufficiency Standard for the City of New York 2004, prepared by Diana Pearce for the Women's Center for Education and Career Advancement. The table below is taken from page 8.
1 adult1 adult, 1 preschooler1 adult, 1 preschooler, 1 schoolage2 adults, 1 preschooler, 1 schoolage
Housing $819$930$930$930
Child Care0$782$1,412$1,412
Food $260$396$563$853
Transportation $070$070$070$140
Health Care$098$217$236$284
Miscellaneous $125$240$321$362
Taxes $343$626$890$914
Earned Income Tax Credit0000
Child Care Tax Credit0-$058-$100-$100
Child Tax Credit0-$083-$167-$167
Self-Sufficiency Wage ($/hr., per adult)$9.89$18.00$23.97$13.35
Monthly income (per adult)$1,715$3,120$4,155$2,314
Annual income (per adult)$20,580$37,440$49,860$27,768
Pearce found that a single adult needs to earn roughly $9-$10/hr to support themselves in New York City, though a single parent raising a child needs to make $15-$20/hr, and even two parents raising two children must each make more than $13/hr. Pearce's results do vary by location (largely due to the costs of housing, for details see pgs 47-97) but not drastically for the poorer areas of New York City, where our applicants work. Based on this, we are hesitant to classify a job paying $8-12/hr as truly "self-supporting."