In This Issue
Good News From Our Family Development Department!
Myth: "Being Poor Isn't So Hard"
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"To promote the creation of quality family life, self-sufficiency, and the ability to thrive for all people in our community."
"Community Action changes people's lives, embodies the spirit of hope, improves communities, and makes America a better place to live. We care about the entire community, and we are dedicated to helping people help themselves and each other."

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Pro Action  Update


As we look forward to celebrating 50 years of service to our communities in 2015, Pro Action continues to work to help the people in our communities achieve a better quality of life.  While our mission keeps us focused on what we do, our customers remain the focus of why we do it. 

As part of helping people achieve their goals and overcome poverty, we work hard to achieve results within our programs and to share information with the community at large that will help promote a better understanding of local poverty and our neighbors in need.
Good News From Our
Family Development Department 

Left to right: Wendy Robords, Director of Pro Action's Family Development Adult & Youth Services; Cassie Hill, Wealth Health Skills Coordinator for Pro Action; Laura Rossman, Pro Action's Executive Director; Kansas Smith, Executive Director of StraightTalk Association for Financial Empowerment (SAFE); Stephanie Carl, Manager of Marketing & Communications at Corning Credit Union. 

Pro Action's Family Development Program recently received a $2,050 check from the Straight Talk Association for Financial Empowerment (SAFE) Program.  These funds will benefit Pro Action's Wealth Health Skills Program which offers a series of eleven financial education training modules based on the FDIC's Money Smart curriculum.  Training topics include "Introduction to Bank Services", "How to Keep Track of Your Money" and "What Home Ownership is All About". 

Wealth Health Skills, funded by the United Way of the Southern Tier, helps participants increase knowledge and provides access to tools to help them increase income, increase savings and build or sustain assets.  Classes are free to youth and adults throughout Steuben and Chemung Counties and are led by trained volunteer instructors from local financial institutions including the SAFE Program. 

Pro Action values our partnerships with SAFE and other financial institutions in our efforts to foster financial stability for individuals, families and entire communities.   

Anyone interested in more information about the Wealth Health Skills program can visit or contact Cassie Hill at (607) 962-8459 or [email protected].  More information about the SAFE Program can be found at

Poverty Myth:
"Poor People Get All the Breaks"
"Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor."  
James Baldwin

One misconception about people living at, below or near the poverty level is that low-income people get breaks on everything from housing to health care.  The reality is that being poor is expensive and the working poor pay significantly more of their incomes for a wide range of goods and services, leaving them with very limited or no resources left to try to improve their circumstances.  For low-income families, the necessities many of us take for granted are prohibitively expensive, forcing families living in poverty to make difficult choices every day. 
  • Transportation: Low income working families are often given automobile loans for up to twice the value of the vehicle with interest rates as high as 29% and payments as much as $500 a month or more.
  • Banking Services: For reasons that range from a lack of financial literacy to low credit scores to unpaid bank overdraft fees from the past, over ten million low-income households in the US lack basic banking services.  Without a checking account, these families pay more to be able to use their own money.  Check cashing fees of up to five percent plus the cost of money orders often cost families in excess of $1,000 per year for basic financial services. 
  • Housing: While continuing to pay rent that is higher than a mortgage payment would be, low income families often lack the credit or down payment needed to purchase a home.  To save money on housing, some families move to more dangerous neighborhoods or continue to live in sub-standard housing.  
  • Child Care: Low-income workers with two or more jobs work long and varied hours, resulting in higher child care costs, more difficulty finding child care and more limited quality family time. 
  • Other: Higher costs for insurance, utilities, medical care, basic household items and food often result in the working poor turning to the "rent to own" or "payday loan" industries to get by.  These options cost them more in the long run and often result in deep, long-term debt. 
The reality is that it costs more to be poor and the higher costs and predatory practices directed at low-income working individuals and families only serve to  make it harder for people to move out of poverty and into better circumstances.