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2023 POTS Breakfast Forum

On December 6, POTS’ annual Breakfast Forum focused on the 2023 True Cost of Living Report, revealing that 50 percent of working-age New Yorkers cannot afford to live on what they earn. A high-level panel, moderated by POTS Executive Director Christina Hanson, discussed how this measure starkly contrasts with the outdated US Official Poverty line which does not account for the costs of housing, healthcare, childcare, transportation, or local variation.

The session considered the True Cost of Living from national, New York City, and local perspectives from The Bronx, revealing the difficult realities of many low-income New Yorkers who are currently overlooked and undercounted, affecting their access to the public benefits they desperately need.
Lisa Manzer, Director of the Center for Women’s Welfare at the University of Washington, provided an overview of the two measures. Manzer highlighted that other than updates for inflation, the methodology for defining the OPM has not changed for the past 6 decades.

Elizabeth Angeles, Vice President of Advocacy at the United Way of New York City, provided a detailed report on New Yorkers struggling to make ends meet who are overlooked and undercounted by the OPM. Angeles stressed, “Households with children, particularly young children below the age of five struggle the most with income inadequacy.”

Christina Hanson focused on the real experiences of POTS clients. Members of our Community Advisory Committee brought the data to life while a survey of 78 current clients showed only 6% said they could afford enough food without public benefits.
The panel concluded that, by providing a more accurate understanding of the complex issues associated with poverty, the True Cost of Living measure represents a valuable tool for advocates to share with government officials to aid in developing policies and programs that target people in need in a more accurate and impactful manner.

You can watch the full session below:

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