As the demand to address the urgent needs of people who have lost some or all of their income because of COVID 19 closures, it is clearer now than ever before, that the work we do to help families build and preserve assets must be elevated.
The virus has exposed the economic inequity of race and gender that we know is often hidden in our economy. That exposed economic fault line reveals that there is so much to do to restore the promise of prosperity. Income volatility for far too many workers, households without savings or other assets, lack of sick leave or other paid time off, the digital divide, and an inadequate safety net, have severely stressed a very large percentage of New Mexico's families. Fear of missing rent or mortgage or other payments hangs as a threat to most -- kicking the can down the road for a few months is a necessary short-term response, but it does not solve the systemic challenge.
The economic disruptions to household balance sheets will be both short and long term. Thankfully, many funders, elected officials, and Congress are, or will, address key short-term concerns. These are important and critically needed for the vulnerable, the economically distressed, and the hourly workers without benefits. But the foreseeable challenges do not end there.
Recovering the economy will require tools and systemic solutions to build assets, protect assets from predation, and increase income from good jobs. Opportunities for post-secondary education must be grown. Markets where homeownership is cheaper than renting more than ever need increased incentives and pathways to increase ownership. Community economic development and small business support for good jobs need significant investments to be effective catalysts for change and prosperity.
The investment we need are to continue our work in policy and practice that build the financial capability and assets that we all need to provide to some measure of protection against personal and global disruptions.
The financial capability and asset building opportunities that we provide to low and moderate-income New Mexicans increase their financial security, their family stability, and community engagement. Our administrative advocacy helps people understand how to make modifications in practice and policy that are within their purviews of power that remove barriers to and increase opportunities for financial inclusion. Our work in developing and broadcasting consumer protections is critical to vulnerable LMI populations.
We have proven over and over again that the opposite of poverty is not wealth but social justice and opportunity. LMI families served by our New Mexico Assets Consortium are building businesses, going to college, buying homes and saving for their children's college education at a rate that is higher than any place in the nation. While a good job provides for everyday needs, it is personal, social and financial assets that provide a personal safety net and hope for the future.
Prosperity Works Staff