PennPraxis Design Fellows are researching the financial injustices and barriers facing low-income communities in the United States. Working with the Filene Research Institute’s Center of Excellence for Consumer Financial Lives in Transition, the Pay-Day Loan project will further explore financial instability faced by individuals experiencing both ‘life-cycle’ transitions (e.g. graduating college, retirement) and external events (e.g. unexpected medical costs, job loss). This project narrows its focus to three areas of financial precarity and injustice: access and cost to health care; costs associated with the criminal justice system; and the changing nature of work.
With the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic, America’s financial injustices became exposed. New and old sectors of workers faced challenges around unemployment, loss of revenue, and adapting to new methods of work. This research also hopes to understand how new workers in the United States will grapple with and adapt to a global pandemic and economic recession. The Filene Research Institute, which works directly with Credit Unions and advocates on their behalf, will use information from the Pay-Day Loan research to build financial literacy tools to better understand how to protect individuals in precarious jobs or financial situations.