Low-income constraints parents encounter when having more responsibilities: Part one

For the next 8 weeks Dan and I will work together with JUST to learn more about financial inclusion and how that affects their day to day lives and to help JUST have a better understanding of financial decision making when it comes to family responsibility. We have found interesting information and we are only getting started.

 

What is JUST?

Steve Wanta is the CEO and Co-founder of JUST whose mission is to invest in low-income, female entrepreneurs to create more resilient communities in America and therefore to create a more just world where people have the chance to live with less stress and more joy. To do this JUST wants to change the narrative around the potential of low-income communities to be their own change agents. JUST provides loans exclusively based on trust to female, Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs.

JUST partnered with AC4D to find other communities they can serve and to understand how other communities behave when it comes to financial inclusion.

 

Our objective

Our main interest was to learn and understand how low-income constraints affect parents with the added responsibility of having a family. We have found that having low-income is set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and is dependent on region. Qualifying for low income households in Austin is $57,689 a year, or $4,807 a month. 

Providing for a child in addition to being on the lower end of the earning spectrum is a challenge that we are interested in exploring further. The objectives of this research are:

  • To identify and understand the circumstances that parents who are low-income experience life on a day to day basis around Austin, Texas.
  • To identify and understand the emotional journey of parents who identify as low-income.
  • To identify and understand motivations for spending, budgeting, and saving around having a family.
  • Understand how a low-income family’s access to network services reflects their ability to operate as a family.

 

Our focus

The focus of our research is to better understand the circumstances parents with a child (or children) who are low income face in present day Austin, Texas. To do so we will discuss the intricacies of their motivations, struggles and community. We hope to explore life as a parent on a stringent income and how they go about navigating their day to day lives.
JUST_Participants-01

 

Our Methodology

For our methodology, we will be talking to each participant for about 45 – 120 minutes. Sessions should be conducted with relevance to the participant. By these interviews we would like to understand their financial attitudes and behaviors, specifically on how living with low-income adds more responsibility when having a kid (children). For parents and family members we hope to interview subjects in their home setting or a location where they feel comfortable. While interviewing with administrators or program persons we will interview in their place of work where they deal with the families they serve.

Firstly, we will start by having a small talk about them, then asking some questions to understand where they are at in financially and their feelings around it Secondly, we will do some activities that involve them understanding where their money goes and helping them visualize their responsibilities. This will help us to understand how they feel about these financial constraints and what things they are lacking in order to feel fulfilled in life.

 

We need your help

We need help connecting with parent participants. If you or someone you know may be interested in chatting with us, please reach out to team_da@ac4d.com to get in touch. Your perspective is incredibly valuable and will ultimately help in designing solutions for this unique group of people.

As students working with a nonprofit, we appreciate your willingness to help both us and our community.

 

Austin Center for Design

Austin Center for Design (AC4D) is an educational program uniquely focused on applying design principles to address social and humanitarian problems. Explore more of our philosophy and approach.

Ana Toca and Dan O’Halloran
AC4D Class of 2020
ana.toca@austincenterfordesign.com
dan.ohalloran@austincenterfordesign.com