2021 Summer Research Group

Financial Security

Our Mission

The Summer Research Cohort was assembled in June 2021 with the research focus of achieving economic security and fighting poverty.  Research Associates are investigating the struggles and hardships that low-income American families face to understand how education inequalities, underemployment, inconsistent health benefits, and institutional prejudices prevent individuals from escaping poverty’s grip. 

Our Work

Effective Policy and Social Awareness:
The Tools Against Financial Instability in America

Poverty is a complex issue that involves balancing economic, political, and legal factors. It is complicated by competing social factors that divide a nation and provide little opportunity for meaningful improvement.  The sheer pervasiveness of the issue is difficult to even comprehend.  Consider the following: over 1 in 10 Americans lived below the poverty line;1 in 3 Americans is considered to be under the near-poverty threshold, meaning their income is only up to 125% of the poverty threshold; and an estimated 11 million renters are currently behind on rent since the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic. 


Poverty is a compounding issue affecting Americans nationwide that requires a comprehensive intervention to assist the poor. The government must put more policies in place to address the racial gap in financial and housing stability caused by historical and current oppressions. Additionally, politicians, who are in the best position to direct and advocate for such policies, must lead a concerted effort to disseminate awareness and facilitate outreach that can help dismantle systems and eradicate barriers standing in the way of housing stability.  Finally, society as a whole must do its part to break the cycle of poverty in America. This means education and destigmatizing poverty-centric policies.


Resisting societal notions based on ignorance through increased public education of financial security, poverty, and the eviction process is one of the keys that can unlock changes to the system, sending a ripple effect to other areas such as government and community support to affect fundamental change, setting legal change into motion, as the more awareness that is dispersed, the more people who may be willing and inspired to express support for fighting systemic issues underlying the issue of homelessness, creating a movement will the potential for prompting governmental action on a national level. Ultimately, education is one of the first steps in achieving fundamental changes to the eviction process that disproportionately impacts women, children, and historically marginalized groups by dismantling societal norms and notions rooted in ignorance, sending a ripple effect that can stimulate legislative and economic change.

Our Team

Learning from the Experts

The Summer Research Cohort benefited the insights of thought leaders, activists and subject-matter experts.  We are grateful for the time and talents these contributors gave to the cohort.

Mary Pascarella, CFP, Owner, Perennis Financial Planning

Donna Gallup. Ed.D, LSW, Assistant Professor, Azusa Pacific University

Misozi Houston, M.P.H, Financial Stability Manager, Pocono Mountains United Way

Connie Whitman, MBA, CEO, Whitman & Associates

Bruce Waltuck, MA Complexity, Chaos & Creativity, Professor, Kean University

Ashika Gopalkrishnan, Student/Advocate, Rider University

Dra. Catalina Rojas, Director of Innovation, PCDNetwork

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