Financial Stability

Nearly 30% of Erie County residents don't have the financial resources to meet their basic needs.  United Way is investing in programs that help hardworking people build a solid financial future so our entire community can thrive.

15,483 people were helped during the first half of this year because they accessed United Way-supported services such as:

• Crisis assistance, benefits eligibility, and free tax preparation;

• Basic, intermediate and advanced financial education; and

• Remedial education, vocational  training, and savings programs that help people build assets.

Joining the United Way movement means helping people in Erie County gain and maintain financial stability.

 Click HERE for a list of United Way-funded programs in Financial Stability.



One of the many ways United Way accomplishes community work in Financial Stability is by building, facilitating and participating in strategic partnerships throughout the community. These initiatives come to life with the help of the skills and resources of community partners.


Assisting families in achieving self-sufficiency


Creating Assets, Savings & Hope (CASH) is a coalition of more than 60 organizations dedicated to increasing financial stability for low- to-moderate-income families living in Buffalo and Erie County. A United Way initiative, CASH helps advance our goals in Income for people in need in our community.

Specifically, the coalition:

          • Seeks to increase the number of dollars coming into low- to moderate- income households from available tax refunds, credits and other income supports

           • Improves the coordination, reach, quality and consistency of financial education available in Buffalo and Erie County. To request a financial education presentation, download this form. 

           • Increases awareness of local asset-building opportunities for low income households and especially within special populations (refugees, persons with disabilities, veterans). To request an asset building presentation, download this form.

           • Supports education and employment opportunities for low- to moderate-income households

           • Identifies financial concerns and refers individuals to community-based  agencies with the help of trained volunteers that serve as financial coaches

To learn more, visit


Poverty Simulations


Creating Assets, Savings & Hope (CASH) Buffalo started facilitating poverty simulations in September 2008. Since then, nearly 80 simulations have been hosted for over 70 groups, companies, agencies and educational institutions with participation rates ranging anywhere between 35-125 individuals at each event.

Poverty Simulations are an interactive experience for any group interested in understanding the day to day realities of life with a shortage of money and an abundance of stress. Up to 72 participants assume various roles within 26 different families facing poverty.  With different family situations, all are expected to provide for basic necessities and shelter during the course of four 15 minute "weeks." During this "month," family members seek assistance from a variety of human services and other community organizations.

Previous participants have reported the following:

  • This was incredibly eye-opening. I thought I knew what to expect but never anticipated becoming so emotionally engaged with the process. I quickly went from a feeling of confidence and capability to feeling helpless, hopeless, and incredibly frustrated.
  • I knew much of what people experienced regarding poverty as I work in a food pantry. Yet I did learn more about people's preconceived notions through the acting participants as people in need. Their verbal response to their experience, continued to make more of an impression on me and for me to consider my own behavior.
  • A unique method of bringing awareness to the real life struggles of families in poverty. This experience helped to bring a greater understanding of actual problems faced by low income families and recognize the difficult day-to-day decisions that must be made. Confirmed my values and beliefs in helping those less fortunate.
  • I was very moved by the simulation. It will surely color my understanding of the daily grind of those in poverty, and the ensuing desperation.

To explore holding a Poverty Simulation with your group or company, contact us at 887-2775. Click here for more information.




United Way of Buffalo & Erie County welcomes inquiries about community coalition work in Financial Stability. Please contact Andrew Lashua at 716-887-2775 or




 Poverty Simulation Flyer 12-1.pdf

Powered by Fission Content Management System | Buffalo Website Design by 360PSG