Gov. Markell discusses efforts to combat financial instability in weekly message
Financial insecurity is the focus of Gov. Jack Markell’s weekly address.
Markell says despite strengthening state economy and lower unemployment rate many are still struggling financially - particularly when hit with unexpected expenses.
“Financial insecurity limits opportunities for homeownership, higher education and retirement savings. It impacts employers and the broader community and puts a strain on government assistance programs,” said Markell.
Markell says the state’s response to the issue includes the $tand by Me, a financial literacy program that’s now 5 years old.
In its first half decade, Markell says over 50,000 people have used Stand by Me for financial coaching, finding college funding, pay day loan alternatives or tax preparation.
The program is a partnership between the state and United Way of Delaware.
Full text of Gov. Markell's weekly message:
Delaware’s economy continues to get stronger, with a low unemployment rate and record job creation that leads the region. But at a time of rapid economic changes, many people continue to struggle with financial insecurity.
A recent study found more than 60 percent of Americans are not prepared to handle even minor unexpected expenses. Financial insecurity limits opportunities for home ownership, higher education, and retirement savings. It impacts employers and the broader community, and puts a strain on government assistance programs.
We’ve responded to this challenge with Stand By Me, a financial empowerment program that is celebrating its fifth anniversary. More than 10,000 participants have received free one-on-one financial coaching focused on reducing debt, improving credit scores, increasing savings, and planning for financial goals. An additional 40,000 have taken advantage of its services that help find funding for college, access to free online tax preparation, and provide financial education. And Stand By Me offers safe, affordable financial products like pay day loan alternatives.
This public private partnership between the state and United Way of Delaware is funded by charitable contributions from foundations, corporations and community partners who recognize the value of financial security for workers, students, and families. It leverages state agencies, schools, childcare centers, non-profit partners and employers who work together to help people in need. They’re people like Monique Pochvatilla, who, after growing up in foster care, struggled with debt while raising young children and searching for work. Today, her credit has improved, she’s found a good job and bought her first house.
Stand By Me is a great example of how the private and public sectors can work together at a time when government has fewer resources to deploy. By empowering people financially, we ensure they can focus on working hard to get ahead and care for their families. And that keeps Delaware moving forward.