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The Need

Creating pathways out of poverty in our community

Let’s face it. These days, hard work is just not enough for many struggling individuals and families. Many of our Frederick neighbors worry every day that a lack of education or needed job skills, one financial emergency, or the inability to access quality health care will be the last straw that sends everything tumbling down. Even if they are employed, they still may be one unexpected problem away from disaster.


More than 10,000 individuals live at or below poverty level.1/3 of them are under the age of 18.

"Poverty level" means a family of three is earning $18,000 or less each year (approximately $1,500 per month).

 More than 3,000 households are using food stamps. 1/3 are over the age of 60.

75% of those using food stamps are working, but don't make enough money to cover all of their living expenses.

More than 16,000 residents are considered "working poor" which means they are working, often multiple jobs, but still not earning enough.

The working poor are often one minor crisis away from slipping into complete poverty. The number one cause of bankruptcy in Frederick is medical costs.

More than 8% of the population does not have access to health insurance.

Approximately 1200 victims of domestic violence and/or sexual assault dial the emergency hotline each month.

4/5 new heroin users started out by misusing prescription painkillers. Most adolescents who misuse prescription pain relievers get them for free from a friend or relative.

90% of food-insecure children ages 0-3 have a greater chance of having health reported as fair to poor.

 More than 13,000 residents over the age of 25 have less than a high school diploma.

90% of brain development happens before students are six years old, yet thousands of kids are not able to attend preschools or early childhood education centers.

Affordability, availability, transportation, and access are some of the barriers to kids attending early childhood education centers or preschools.

 Approximately 20% children learn how to read up through 3rd grade. Four out of five children who read below grade level in 3rd grade don’t go on to college.

 Among those between the ages of 18-24, dropouts were more than twice  as likely as college graduates to live in poverty.


So, who can fix them? This is where you expect us to say that United Way is the answer. But the reality is that YOU are the answer. Together, we can create lasting change and build a stronger Frederick today and for future generations. Click Next to read the game plan and how we’re tackling it.


Additional Resources

To achieve lasting change, we must first understand the population of families that are working hard but falling short in our community. Check out our ALICE project for more information. 

For a complete study on the need in Frederick County, check out the Frederick County Human Needs Assessment and the Local Management Board Needs Assessment.

For even more information, check out these resources: