2019 WISCAP Annual Report

2019 WISCAP Annual Report

The 2019 WISCAP Annual Report gives a glimpse at the work Wisconsin’s Poverty Fighting Network accomplished in 2019.

A Letter from our Executive Director

Approximately one in ten Wisconsinites live in poverty. The Federal poverty threshold, the traditional measure of economic distress, classifies as ‘poor’ a household of three earning less than $21,330 per year. But using a broader measure of financial hardship, the recent United Way ALICE Study revealed that 34% of Wisconsinites struggle to afford the necessities of child care, health care, housing, food, and transportation. These are households living above the official poverty threshold, but not earning enough to afford basic household expenses. And then there are the families that often escape the view of most data systems such as the more than 18,000 homeless children and youth throughout the state identified by Wisconsin’s local school districts.

Just as the conditions or causes of poverty are diverse and unique in each individual, demographic, and community – so must be the strategies. Accordingly, we must craft policies and approaches that are appropriately responsive to these realities. The statewide network of sixteen local Community Action Agencies and two single purpose agencies is uniquely positioned to address the grinding poverty that exists in our rural, urban, and suburban communities alike. Toward this end, WISCAP spent much of 2019 listening carefully to the expressed needs of local communities in their fight against poverty and working with our partners and lawmakers to identify solutions. The result of this process was the introduction of the Wisconsin Opportunity Act, comprehensive anti-poverty legislation designed to reduce poverty and fundamentally improve people’s economic circumstances. Moving forward, WISCAP will continue to push for the enactment of this important legislation.

The day-to-day challenges of living in poverty are truly profound. The poor struggle with low-paying jobs, unemployment, high rents, homelessness, food insecurity, skipping doctor visits or needed medicines, and the lack of sick leave and retirement plans. Poverty inflicts a near-constant stress that silently assaults one’s dignity, health and emotional well-being. The people of our state who struggle in these circumstances deserve our respect — and our boldest, most innovative efforts to find solutions. 

Read the 2019 WISCAP Annual Report by visiting the WISCAP Annual Report page