More than half of Detroiters are financially insecure or in financial trouble. A new report from University of Michigan’s Poverty Solutions, The Financial Well-Being of Detroit Residents: What Do We Know?, unpacks the reasons why. A combination of low and volatile incomes and disproportionately high costs makes it challenging for tens of thousands of Detroiters to maintain consistently positive cash flow and build savings, leading many households to accrue unmanageable debt and suffer low credit scores.
On Friday, Jan. 22, United Way for Southeastern Michigan and University of Michigan’s Poverty Solutions kicked off a series of community conversations around opportunities for action to address the underlying conditions that create financial instability and hardship for so many Detroiters.
In response to the report’s findings, United Way announced the creation of a Detroit Financial Wellbeing Innovation Challenge. This initiative, in partnership with University of Poverty Solutions, will catalyze concrete action to improve financial well-being in Detroit. The multi-year initiative will provide seed funding for innovative pilot programs or initiatives designed to address the underlying structural and systemic barriers to financial well-being identified in the report.
The innovation challenge is expected to launch in summer 2021. The priorities and focus areas of the innovation challenge will be developed collaboratively with community stakeholders in the coming months.
United Way is actively seeking funding partners for this initiative to meet a funding goal of at least $3 million for this initiative.