January 2014: Top Challenges January 2014: Top Challenges

January 1, 2014

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About the Survey About the Survey

Top Challenges Facing Lower-Income Communities Top Challenges Facing Lower-Income Communities

Summary Summary

New England's Rural Poor

Every region has its own mix of urban and rural, and while rural geographies vary in countless ways, rural lower-income families from across New England face similar trials. New England's rural communities, from the painted foliage of the Berkshires to the rocky coastline of Acadia National Park, feel the pinch of fewer jobs, higher housing costs, and less financial security just like almost every other community in America. The difference is that solutions that work in Dallas, Texas, or Flint, Michigan, will not always work in Aroostook County, Maine.

The Impact of Fiscal Uncertainty

While New England's population has grown at a slower pace than the United States as a whole, it is growing all the same, and the poverty rate is rising at the same time. The capacity of organizations providing direct services to lower-income households has to grow both with population and with increased need. While the survey respondents consistently report that their capacity to serve does not shrink or stagnate along with their funding, at some point their ability to do more with less or the same will come to a halt. Predictable funding is only one part of any organization's growth, but it does help build a strong foundation from which to grow. New England's rural community economic development challenges benefit from the collaborative nature and practical knowledge of mission-driven community organizations working within our rural towns and villages every day. The New England Community Outlook Survey will continue to ask service providers for local knowledge on how lower-income communities are faring and how the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston can provide insight on the issues.

Methodology Methodology

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