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United Ways of California calculate the "real cost" of living on the Central Coast

The Real Cost Measure Community Presentation
Posted at 5:11 PM, Jan 28, 2022

It is no secret that the cost of living on the Central Coast puts pressure on families more so than in many other parts of the nation. Coming up on Monday, January 31, the United Ways of California and the United Way of San Luis Obispo County will be presenting findings from the Real Cost Measure California Study.

You can register for the virtual presentation at this link.

Peter Manzo, President & CEO of United Ways California, will be presenting the research alongside Henry Glascon, Director of Program and Policy Development.

"Federal poverty statistics only tell you how much money a family has, doesn't tell you what it costs, what the gap is, between what they're earning and what we would like them to be able to afford,” Manzo said.

Many organizations rely on federal poverty statistics to measure who needs help in a community but the United Ways of California have done their own study to get a more accurate picture of families struggling across the state.

“It's [the Real Cost Measure research] our analysis of what it costs for families to meet the cost of a decent standard of living in every county in California, and then we analyze using census data how many families are earning below the cost of that decent standard of living," Manzo explained.

The study takes into account rent for adequate housing, food, healthcare, child care, transportation, and many other expenses.

Manzo says they found that more than half of California households with kids five and under struggle to meet a decent standard of living.

Their goal is for local organizations and governments to use this information to target assistance to the groups that need it the most.

"It really shows you, you know, the gap between what families are earning and what a decent standard of living costs and it's more accurate in our view, gives a better picture than just citing federal poverty statistics," Manzo said. "For example, across the state, one out of three households struggled to afford a decent standard of living. That's about two and a half to three times the amount of households we would expect if you just looked at the federal poverty level.”

This meeting will take place virtually at 11:30 a.m. on Monday, January 31, 2022. Registration is available at this link and will be open until the presentation starts.