News | Friday, May 11, 2012
This April, the Community Action Network released its third annual Community Dashboard report, a short list of key indicators that measure the social, health, educational and economic well-being of Austin and Travis County. The Dashboard revealed that 40% of Austin residents are low-income. For the first time in the report’s history, the percentage of low-income people in Austin surpassed the state rate.
Laura, her partner, Charlie, and their three month old son, Austin, are part of that 40%. (Laura and Austin are pictured right.) The young family is working hard to make ends meet, but it’s a difficult battle. Charlie works a full time job. Laura stays home to care for Austin and has side jobs like babysitting. The couple also takes advantage of SNAP (food stamps) and the Women and Infant Children (WIC) nutrition program. Despite these efforts, they struggle to pay bills and buy necessities. The young family has no safety-net for costs like a medical emergency or urgent car repairs, which would likely push them into a financial crisis.
Laura is enrolled in the Any Baby Can Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) Program and attends agency parenting classes. Any Baby Can’s goal is to strengthen the family, and that includes addressing financial concerns. An NFP Nurse Home Visitor helps Laura and Charlie set educational and career goals, addresses budgeting concerns and has provided donated items like a crib and stroller. That is just one piece of NFP’s comprehensive work with the family. The Nurse Home Visitor also guides Laura and Charlie in practicing parenting techniques, learning about child development and building a strong support network. NFP services will continue until Austin is two years old. Laura says she’s forever grateful to Any Baby Can for the support in reaching her ultimate goal, “making Austin proud.”